UCF QB Blake Bortles talks SMU, BCS berth on Dec. 3.
UCF quarterback Blake Bortles has moved into the very top of the NFL draft discussion.
With a week left in the regular season and the Knights on the verge of an outright American Athletic Conference title and BCS berth, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay declared Bortles the No. 2 quarterback prospect in the country behind Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater.
According to Scout Inc.’s draft board on ESPN.com, Bortles is now rated the 14th overall prospect in the draft process.
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, who had been rated as the No. 3 overall player by Scouts Inc., recently declared he was returning for his junior season.
Bortles has the ability to file pre-draft paperwork to the NFL Draft Advisory Board to gauge his stock among NFL teams and scouts. The board will inform Bortles whether he has the potential to be picked as high as the first round. Filing the paperwork does not necessarily mean Bortles will declare for the draft.
UCF has just two other scholarship quarterbacks on the roster – back-up Justin Holman and Pete DiNovo. The Knights recently received a commitment from 2014 quarterback recruit Tyler Harris (Pierce County, GA).
Holman has shown potential in his limited snaps this season, completing 9-of-14 passes for 75 yards with one touchdown and one interception, and rushing seven times for 40 yards.
Without Bortles, UCF would look much different in 2014. The Knights are returning four of five top receivers – Jeff Godfrey’s eligibility is expiring, but transfer Jackie Williams is the replacement – as well as running backs Storm Johnson and Will Stanback. (Johnson, too, could explore his NFL Draft stock.) UCF also loses three starting offensive linemen -- Jordan McCray, Justin McCray and Chris Martin.
Should Bortles choose to stay at UCF, he could be competing with Mariota and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston atop the 2015 draft boards.