Blake Bortles on top pick: “I’d take me.”

Blake Bortles on top pick: “I’d take me.”

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Blake Bortles on top pick: “I’d take me.”

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by Tom Pelissero / USA TODAY Sports

khou.com

Posted on March 19, 2014 at 9:11 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 19 at 9:12 PM

ORLANDO – Blake Bortles doesn’t have a problem saying it. The Central Florida quarterback feels he has shown enough to be the No. 1 overall pick in next month’s NFL Draft.

“I wish it was up for me to decide. I’d take me,” Bortles told USA TODAY Sports after his pro day workout Wednesday. “But it’s no telling.”

Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien and general manager Rick Smith met with Bortles on Tuesday night and were in the crowd Wednesday inside the Nicholson Fieldhouse.

So were coach/GM combos from the Jacksonville Jaguars (who draft third), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (seventh) and Minnesota Vikings (eighth), plus representatives from almost every other team drafting in the top half of the first round May 8.

Under the direction of Chicago Bears quarterback Jordan Palmer, who has been training Bortles and two other draft picks the past 2½ months in California, Bortles completed 41 of 50 passes in a scripted throwing session, with a couple others dropped and several deep overthrows.

“That was my thing (on scouting reports): it was ‘has underthrown a couple deep balls during the season. What, does this kid not have a strong arm?’” Bortles said. “So, coming into this thing, if I’m going to throw a deep ball and miss, I’m going to throw it by him.”

He certainly showed off his arm strength, as well as his mobility at 6-foot-5 and 232 pounds, with Palmer putting him through the paces in a variety of game-type situations.

“You just can’t forget what you’ve seen on tape,” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman told USA TODAY Sports. “But this just comes out to verify some things, to see their footwork. You’re watching everything, from A to Z.”

The Vikings had one of the largest contingents, with seven people on hand. But it’d take a trade up or seven teams passing for them to get a shot at Bortles, who plans to remain in Florida in between private workouts from now until the draft begins May 8.

“I just wanted to come out and show everybody the different things I think I can do – different movements, different actions, throwing all the throws, getting out of the pocket,” Bortles said. “This was a huge day. I was so pumped to come out here and throw. I thought I did well.”

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