JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jaguars are relying on successful picks in this year's NFL Draft to get the ball rolling for a successful 2014-2015 season. Their first pick came early, when they chose Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles with the No. 3 pick on Thursday night.
For fans who couldn't make it to New York City, the Jaguars hosted a draft party at EverBank Field. The construction for the stadium's massive new scoreboards kept fans outside the stadium for the party, but that didn't keep thousands of fans from showing up to celebrate their team.
The initial reaction to the Bortles pick was split at the draft party.
One fan said he wanted the UCF quarterback since day one and called it 'a Bortles thing."
But a few others said they'd hoped the Jaguars would pick Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins, who went to the Buffalo Bills at No. 4 instead.
"I would prefer they'd picked Watkins over who they did," Kyle Mahoney said. "We need better wide receivers, better offense – it… it doesn't make sense to me ... at all."
Surprised, but excited seemed to be the reaction of many other Jaguars fans.
"Very surprising, think he can do great job, great arm. I think we'll be okay at the end of the day," said Ian Leeheung.
"The pick was awesome! I love Bortles, I know he'll do great," said Topaz Booth.
Bortles was the AAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2013 after throwing for 3,581 yards and 25 touchdowns.
General Manager David Caldwell says the quarterback is a self-made guy, highly competitive and highly passionate about football. He's the sixth quarterback the Jaguars have drafted and just the second since 2003.
Bortles told ESPN he can't wait to get to Jacksonville, and many fans say the feeling is mutual.
"I wanted him since day one, it's a Bortles thing," said a Jaguars fan.
In addition to watching the draft live, the fans heard from coach Gus Bradley, owner Shad Khan, and general manager Dave Caldwell.
"Shad, Gus and Dave have been very clear we are building this organization through the draft and it is the life blood for any NFL organization," said Hussain Naqi, the Jaguars' senior vice president of fan engagement. "It is absolutely critical that we do well, and I think Gus and Dave have shown they have a real eye for it."
Even our current players say they trust their staff that Bortles is the best match for their team.
"Theyre here for a reason they're doing their job and they call the scouting services everyone within the organization has put their work in within the past year... couple of years analyzing these guys we really don't know what goes on but we trust them to do their job its awesome to have them," said Jags player, Bryan Anger.
The Jaguars announced Thursday night that Bortles will meet with the media Friday at Noon at EverBank Field.
Channel 4's sports department will be there for the excitement and we will carry the press conference live on Channel 4 as well as on News4Jax.com.
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