Arizona carries the 20th pick in the first round, and many have mocked Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr to the Cardinals. On SportsCenter Thursday, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said the talk of Carr to the Cardinals has been a "smoke screen." Bortles is the player they covet and it's not just McShay thinking it.
McShay's draft cohort Mel Kiper also has the Cardinals getting Bortles in his final mock draft.
Then there's this from Peter King of the MMQB:
"I think there’s a team with a very good veteran quarterback in his 30s that loves Blake Bortles. Just loves him. And if Bortles somehow falls into the twenties, this team is going to try to trade for a pick to get him."
That team King is referring to, of course, is the Cardinals. Arizona's starting quarterback is 34-year-old Carson Palmer. The veteran has said he "won't complain" if the Cardinals draft a quarterback.
"I know I'm not going to play forever," Palmer said last month. "It's hard for us players to admit that."
Bortles is often compared to Ben Roethlisberger for his size, stature and movement in the pocket. Roethlisberger's old offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians, just happens to be the head coach of the Cardinals.
When Bortles being popular to Arizona in ESPN's mock drafts was mentioned on Twitter, this happened in rapid succession:
@MockingTheDraft Yep, Bortles to AZ in mine as well— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) May 8, 2014
It's a draftnik party in Arizona and Blake Bortles is invited.
The 2014 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. ET and clearly can't get here soon enough.