Bortles, Bridgewater make Florida history

Quarterbacks Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater made history last night, as they were both selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Bortles was taken by Jacksonville at No. 3 while Minnesota traded back into the first round to grab Bridgewater with the 32nd pick.

How did they make history?

There’s a mind blowing draft stat that will probably floor you so you better sit down.

Going into this draft there have been only three Florida high school quarterbacks that played quarterback in college that have been drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft – John Reaves, Daunte Culpepper and Tim Tebow. 

Think about that number for a second, especially considering all the first round talent the Sunshine State has produced over the life span of the game of football. Just last night alone a quarter of the first round selections played their high school football in Florida.

Perhaps the most telling stat of all is this; excluding Bortles and Bridgewater, there are only four quarterbacks from Florida that are currently on NFL rosters – Geno Smith (New York Jets), Thad Lewis (Buffalo Bills), B.J. Daniels (San Francisco 49ers) and Rusty Smith (New York Giants). Only Geno Smith is a starter and he will have a battle with Michael Vick for that opportunity in the Big Apple.

There are a handful of theories as to why there’s this anomaly with two that seem the most logical. First, Florida was always a state where they just ran the football. That has obviously changed of late, with the evolution of the passing game and spread offenses. Second, typically your best athlete was playing quarterback. Peter Warrick and Anquan Boldin are two prime examples of this back in the day.

Here’s another telling stat. Since 1983, Florida State, Florida and Miami have won 11 national titles. Of those titles by the big three, eight were led by quarterbacks that did not play high school football in the Sunshine State – Bernie Kosar (Ohio), Steve Walsh (Minnesota), Gino Toretta (California), Charlie Ward (Georgia), Chris Weinke (Minnesota), Ken Dorsey (California), Chris Leak (North Carolina) and Jameis Winston (Alabama). 

Over the last fifty plus years, only five Florida high school quarterbacks playing the same position in college have won National Championships – Tommie Frazier (Nebraska), Craig Erickson (Miami), Brian Griese (Michigan), Danny Wuerffel (Florida) and Tebow (Florida).