You shouldn’t believe anything you hear before the draft. Nobody is telling the truth. However, when a coach and general manager have three days remaining before the draft and use one to work out a player, that’s no smokescreen. The Broncos like Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. NFL.com said coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Brian Xanders worked him out Monday.
McDaniels already gave a verbal love letter to Tebow and had him in for a visit, but that doesn’t mean much. However, no team is going to waste the Monday before the draft on a workout to throw other teams off. Especially when they’re not trying to fool anybody before the 11th pick (Tebow is very unlikely to go in the top 10) and it seems outlandish to try and fool teams about your intentions with the 43rd pick. The Broncos’ interest in Tebow, one would assume, is very real.
Most experts have predicted Tebow could be gone by the 43rd pick. Taking Tebow 11th seems like an incredible reach (but this is a Broncos regime that marched to its own beat last year, so nothing can be completely ruled out). So perhaps the Broncos are doing a lot of homework in case he’s there with the 43rd pick. Maybe they’re planning to move up. One thing that can be ruled out is this being an elaborate rouse. If Tebow is available for the Broncos with the 43rd pick, that will be a pretty thrilling moment. If the Broncos take Tebow, it could be the most talked-about decision of the draft, a moment that will be dissected for years, good or bad.
Because Tebow is the most talked about player in the draft and the Broncos are showing real interest, let’s break down the pros and the cons of taking him.
Tebow is a proven player. There can be debates about Tebow’s ability to be a dropback quarterback, after being almost exclusively in the shotgun in college. And his throwing ability is up for debate too, considering his main strength in college was as a runner. But he has always been a top player. He was the third-ranked quarterback recruit in his high-school class, just behind Matthew Stafford and ahead of Jake Locker, the top pick of the 2009 draft and the potential top pick in the 2011 draft. He dominated in college. He might have had the greatest college career ever. In his last college game, against 12-0 Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl, he threw for 482 yards on 31-of-35 passing. He can play, period.
Tebow will work to improve. Tebow has a ways to go, but it showed something that he already started working on his slow throwing motion between the end of the college season and the draft. Give him some time – and the Broncos have that luxury – and I have little doubt he will put in the effort to get better. Especially with a coach like McDaniels taking a keen interest (and he would; if Tebow becomes a Pro Bowl quarterback, it’s a huge gold star on McDaniels’ legacy and he would be very aware of that).
Tebow will create interest. Not the reason to select someone, but whatever team takes him might as well just set up an online account for all Florida fans, who will buy Tebow jerseys in bulk. It’s not a negative, for sure.
Tebow will be good for the team. Again, this isn’t the reason to draft a player, but it’s hard to believe Tebow bringing shame to the organization. He’s lauded as a great leader, which can’t hurt in the locker room. He’ll represent the team well off the field. The Broncos have taken a lot of chances on character risks. Tebow isn’t one. Even if Tebow never sniffs a Pro Bowl, he’ll do some good things for whatever organization he lands with.
The cost is high for a project. I feel bad for Tebow if he goes somewhere like Buffalo or Jacksonville. He’ll be expected to save the franchise, and will be forced into action way too soon. The best way for Tebow to succeed is sit for a few years, like Steve McNair. He needs time to become a NFL quarterback. The problem is, he’s going to cost some team either a first- or second-round pick. That’s a tough investment for a player that might not make much of a positive impact at quarterback until 2012, if ever.
The Broncos have other needs. Let’s say a team like the Saints takes Tebow. Makes sense. They’ve won a Super Bowl and can bring him along slowly. The Broncos have severe needs at receiver and center. They could use some young talent at defensive line and safety. They’re rather thin at linebacker and tight end. Running back is another spot Denver needs. Taking a quarterback that won’t contribute right away will be second-guessed.
Tebow might never make it. This will be a fascinating experiment. Taking a player with all the intangibles and a great track record and trying to mold him into a quarterback who can succeed at the NFL level will be fun to watch. But there are a lot of people who don’t think Tebow will be an effective NFL quarterback. That’s the risk in picking him over a conventional quarterback prospect. Even more than any draft prospect, there’s certainly no guarantee Tebow will become a top-flight player.