Blake Bortles (Garrett Gilbert), the UCF Junior QB declares for the NFL Draft, and suddenly (and because it seems someone’s got one of those NFL Draft marketing deals where media types propped up Blane Gabbert as the best thing since sliced bread for the 2011 NFL Draft when we all knew Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick were better), we’re told he’s going to be the first pick of the Houston Texans.
If the Houston Texans are stupid enough to make an NFL Draft pick selection based on the media winds of the day, then Texans fans should brace themselves for another bad season. The fact is Blake Bortles (Garrett Gilbert) isn’t even statistically the best quarterback who played in 2013, finished below Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater (who has to be seething over how he’s being pushed down in the NFL Draft chatter), and needs another year to hone his skills and mature and finish school.
In fact, Blake Bortles is really Garrett Gilbert.
Who’s Garrett Gilbert?
Garrett Gilbert finished right behind Blake Bortles in the statistical finish for the 2013 NCAA Season. Blake Bortles is a Garrett Gilbert twin. Both are 6’4, and about 225 to 230, both played in spread passing offenses at UCF for Bortles and SMU for Gilbert, and both can move – in fact I’d say based on the videos I’ve seen of both that Gilbert’s faster than Bortles.
But if you watch the videos of both, you’re seeing the same person, and almost as if they’re cloned. So why is Blake Bortles being talked about as the Houston Texans NFL Draft Number One Pick, and Garrett Gilbert is not? Simple: this whole process of evaluating college football players for the NFL has become so contaminated by the media that if ESPN did a feature where Jon Gruden said that Georgia Cheerleader Anna Watson had the guns to be a great passer for the Houston Texans, someone at Bleacher Report would pick up on the news and bingo, Anna Watson’s on Todd McShay’s NFL Mock Draft Board.
That’s just how silly this process has become.
The fact is that in evaluating quarterbacks for the NFL Draft, the smart strategy is to look at the passer ratings for the previous year and the year before that and combine that with video study.
In recent previous years the best quarterbacks out there were Robert Griffin III of Baylor and Russell Wilson, who was with Wisconsin and now is the QB of the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. Wilson should have been drafted higher than the third round, but that he stuck around as long as he did, and yet performed as well as he did, shows you just how stupid the whole deal has become.
That Robert Griffin was drafted just behind Andrew Luck shows that the system’s getting better, but with garbage like the Blake Bortles talk, it’s obvious we still have a long way to go.
And I can’t finish this without reminding everyone of how I said Colin was a better QB than Blaine coming out, and after the now San Francisco 49ers QB’s awesome Senior Bowl game. I also said the same about E.J. Manuel, who wound up being the first QB taken in the 2013 NFL Draft, even over the silly rantings of the good man who’s Todd McShay.
It’s all about numbers and performance and that’s all it should be about. And from that cold perspective Blake Bortles and Garrett Gilbert are almost the same. Aside from the physical match, Bortles threw for 3,581 yards, Gilbert for 3,528 yards – Bortles had 25 touchdowns versus Gilbert’s 21, but Gilbert threw two fewer interceptions, 7 versus 9. Gilbert had more attempts and more completions than Bortles, and was just a hair less accurate 66.7 percent versus 67.8 percent. In fact, Bortles’ passer rating is better than Gilbert’s because his yards per completion is better, he has a longer TD pass, and was sacked just two fewer times. See for yourself.
In other words, they’re the same. Bortles is ranked number 16, and Garrett Gilbert is right behind him at 17. All it takes is someone at the mouthpiece that is ESPN to say the name Garrett Gilbert, and the whole NFL Draft picture changes.
In fact, I’d say Garrett Gilbert is a more mature Blake Bortles. He’s been through the political ringer, having been the Texas QB before being crapped on there, and then he found a home at SMU, where he was able to learn the art of passing from some of the best in SMU Head Coach June Jones and Offensive Coordinator Hal Munne, who’s one of the creators of the Airraid Offense System.
Here’s my interview with Garrett Gilbert last week:
So if you’re going to pencil in Blake Bortles for the Houston Texans in the 2013 NFL Draft, go use your eraser, and then write in the name Garrett Gilbert in his place.