The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will draft UCF quarterback Blake Bortles if he's available at the seventh overall pick, according to Charlie Campbell of Walter Football. Campbell used to work for Bucs magazine Pewter Report and still has contacts with the Buccaneers. He also nailed the Johnthan Banks pick last year even months in advance, so this report has some credibility.
The same report notes that the Bucs want to add a quarterback to sit and develop behind Josh McCown for a year, but that they don't believe that Bortles will be available at the seventh overall pick. Still, the team does not appear interested in moving up, and Campbell notes that the Bucs will look to take the best player available at the seventh overall pick, instead.
This report comes on the heels of several reports that the Buccaneers love Johnny Manziel and would take him with the seventh overall pick if he fell. That begs the question: which one of the two would they take if both Bortles and Manziel were available?
Bortles is an interesting prospect, mostly because of his physical tools and pocket presence. His size and mobility give him an obvious advantage, while he's generally accurate and has a good (but not great) arm, despite some mechanical issues. The fact that he knows he needs work on those mechanical issues and made an obvious effort to correct them over the past months is encouraging as well. Bortles' best trait may be his pocket movement and awareness, which at times is reminiscent of Andrew Luck's. Unlike Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo, he does not shy away from pressure or look at the pass rush.
Campbell points specifically to the UCF prospect's mobility and pocket presence as big assets for the Bucs, which fits Lovie Smith's past remarks, as well as Jeff Tedford's college offenses which featured a lot of roll-outs and bootlegs. Interestingly, Bortles is the only top quarterback who hasn't visited the Buccaneers, as far as we know. That may be due to an oversight in media reporting, or the Bucs may have instead worked out Bortles at UCF or in his hometown of Oviedo, Florida.
As with the reports of the Bucs' interest in Manziel, we can't take this report at face value. The draft is in three weeks, and this is the period when team sources frequently (and some would say exclusively) lie to reporters to create misdirection, smokescreens and confusion among other teams (and the public). That doesn't mean the Bucs aren't interested in Bortles, either. It just means that this is lying season in the NFL, and none of these reports can be taken as gospel.