Buffalo rookie OLB KHALIL MACK would be awesome in Our Favorite Colors next season. He's considered by some to be the most game-changing defensive player in a draft full of defensive studs.
Likewise for UCLA ILB ANTHONY BARR, who would start immediately in MIKE ZIMMER'S aggressive, attacking 4-3 set. And while I am on record supporting the Vikings using the eight spot to focus on a defense that may have six new starters next season and is void of high-end talent at key spots, UCF QB BLAKE BORTLES has won me over, and the only rookie QB I would rather have is JOHNNY FOOTBALL.
The #92Noon Production heads to the NFL Scouting Combine Wednesday for Thursday and Friday shows strictly focused on (a) finding ways the Vikings can improve and (b) learning more about free agency and the May draft than we know now.
I want Blake Bortles with the eighth overall pick, and that comes with the assumption Manziel has been taken by that point. I now have talked to six different NFL people who think he'd be perfect for us and cannot say enough about his game.
The highlight bit atop the piece is from a game-winning drive last season at Louisiville. At the time the Cardinals were undefeated and ranked eighth in the land. The game for Bortles, too, was on the road. While conceding Louisville's defense was nothing about which brag, the poise displayed by the big Junior is impressive.
Obviously one game-winning drive does not a career make, but you'll see in the clip he looks the part. He started the passing by checking down to the tight end, essentially using conservative shorties to gain a few yards here and there. He kept handling low snaps sans panic.
He kept his eyes down the field on one play and stepped up in the pocket for a laser-like first down. He did everything from the shot gun, but so do most QBs in college football these days.
Bortles' feet never were dancing and "happy." While he threw the ball most times where it was supposed to go and to his first read he did so with conviction. I'd like to see how he handles things when plays break down and he has to improvise because that's what truly separates Manziel from the pack. Johnny is at his best making something from nothing.
In this come-from-behind, final-possession, road upset at Louisiville Bortles took a couple long shots at the end zone -- one he misfired out of bounds and on the other had miscommunication with a WR.
With 38 seconds left he fired a beauty through traffic down the center of the field to make it first and goal. UCF had to score a TD to win. Then, he rolled right, looked off his preferred guy in the middle and at the goal strip and nailed his second read back right of the end zone for the game-winning score. Bortles was 6-for-8 for 66 yards and a TD on the drive and finished the game with 250-2-and-1 interception.
He's BIG BEN with mobility. He's 6-feet-4 and 230 pounds. When he runs he's fast and difficult to bring down. He's smart. He's poised under pressure and has a big arm. He needs to be on our team.
I very much am hoping as the draft=related steam starts to emerge Wednesday I hear Elite Football Minds telling me CLOWNEY, Manziel, BRIDGEWATER, Mack, Barr and some OL and DL -- maybe the MSU CB -- are slated to be picked before Blake Bortles because I want us to take him at eight and I honestly believe the QB spot here will be fixed.