It has been reported that, in an NFL combine interview, consensus first round pick Blake Bortles
was asked a question about his girlfriend, model Lindsey Duke. What has that got to do with football? Does someone know something we don't? Many expressed their opinion that this subject was inappropriate.
But, was it? After all, she was born and raised in Seminole County, a suburb of Orlando, FL, and she goes to the University of Central Florida. She and Blake were high school sweethearts in the same high school and now the same college.
Well, we are left to speculate. Judging from her photos on the internet, one might assume she enjoys the outdoors with a warm, sunny climate.
That may give Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, or even Houston an edge in the draft, but maybe not so much for Minnesota or Cleveland. How can anyone who apparently spends so much time as Lindsey in a bikini care for a city north of latitude 30 degrees.? 30 degrees is just south of the Florida-George border, so there is no need to check your globe.
Blake Bortles is the real deal.
He's no secret like Brady was as the 199 pick in the 2000 draft. Bortles has many of the same attributes as Brady. An nfl.com report of Bortles strengths are quoted below:
“Outstanding size, stature, bulk and athletic ability for the position. Stands tall in the pocket and delivers the ball in the face of heavy pressure. Keeps his eyes downfield while climbing the pocket. Good field vision and release point. Is efficient throwing on the run and excels on bootlegs and play-action passing. Good zip and accuracy on short-to-intermediate throws -- can fit the ball into tight windows. Nice touch to drop throws in the bucket -- delivers a catchable ball with fine anticipation. Senses pressure and evades the rush. Doesn’t take many unnecessary sacks. Can extend plays with his feet or tuck it and dash for the sticks when the pocket breaks. Surprising foot speed. Plays with confidence and poise. Engineered comeback victories, beat Penn State and Louisville on the road and took a mid-major program to a BCS bowl." [my emphasis, Brady won the Rose Bowl with Michigan]
I compare Bortles to Brady in many attributes, but Blake has the added strengths of athletic mobility, more speed and quick feet. It will be interesting to see if Jim O’Brien, coach of the Texans, (Houston's location also meets my postulated criterion of latitude 30 degrees) agrees with me and takes Blake Bortles with the first pick in the draft. As Brady's former coach with the Patriots, O'Brien is qualified to make the comparison better than anyone else. Check here for a 2000 draft report on Tom Brady. Even some of the negatives in both the Bortles and Brady reports are similar. Specifically, questionable arm strength for throwing the long ball and lack of tight spirals apply to both. Bortles has a major advantage in a strong body build and athleticism. Brady's success definitely depends on a strong system of throwing from a protected pocket. Bortles should also have more success from the pocket but he is blessed with significantly more ability than Brady to create with his feet when the pocket breaks down.
Work ethic and discipline are the key
I believe the question for the team drafting Blake Bortles is whether he will have the consistent discipline and work ethic to overcome the distractions life in the fast lane will present. Drafted early in the first round plus a beautiful model as a significant other can be but two of these. Brady had the discipline and drive to become a franchise quarterback, but he also had the extra motivation to prove the experts wrong for not drafting him early. Bortles will not have the benefit of this chip on his shoulder, plus the girl friend question may turn out to have been relevant too.