Tebow goes in the first round to the Broncos

I like Tim Tebow as a player and I have always thought he will one day start at quarterback in the NFL — the only variables are how long it takes and how long he stays there.

What makes the discussion interesting really gets to the nature of quarterback, as opposed to almost all other positions in sports. Namely, that usually when you see these debates you’ll see them regarding whether to take a guy with great character and questionable talent, or great talent and questionable character. The thing about Tebow is that he not only has great character he actually has a great deal of talent, at least in terms of his big frame, good feet, and overall arm strength. Instead what he needs to work on is technique. Now, all rookies must work on technique, but there’s no question that quarterback is different, and at the end of the day it is throwing technique and the skill to put the ball where it must be that separates quarterbacks from citizens.

In other words, this isn’t the flipside of whether you’re drafting Lawrence Phillips or Randy Moss, two great talents who came in with character issues, or whether Tebow is another Graham Harrell or Danny Wuerffel, two guys with great character and drive but questionable ability. Instead Tebow has some design flaws in what he’s doing — which, it must be noted, have never actually done much to deter him from winning games or setting passing records — and the question is whether, given a year or two on the bench as all but the most highly drafted rookies have, he can improve his technique and marry it with his other great qualities.

So I throw it out to the readers: Don’t just tell me whether you think this was a good pick, tell me whether it’s possible to draft a guy with both talent and great character who needs to be molded into a better quarterback. And also tell me whether, if it is possible, if Denver can be that place for Tebow.

  • Teo

    By “get a shot”, i meant starting a few games during the regular season. Oh, and Chang and Brennan ran the run&shoot, not the spread (no zone-reads or norm-chow type passes there).

  • Can’t agree with you at all, in any aspect of work, sport or war. Superior leadership (the ability of some people to accomplish objectives better than other people), while never objectively understood (the USMA has been studying the nature of leadership for a couple of centuries, without solving the riddle) is not evenly distributed. Some people demonstrate superior leadership, and, *coupled* with a superior organization or team, outperform others.

    I recommend _The Mask of Command_ by John Keegan. Grant was a man who knew how to win and did, Halleck did not; they enjoyed the same organization.

    I’m of the opinion that leadership — the ability of some to win more than others — is distributed logarithmically, which is why it is so hard to understand (the curve is too steep, so people at 99th percentile look a lot like those at five nines — but are nowhere near them in capability).

    Anyway, I don’t think knowing how to win is enough (being Grant was useless absent the Union’s superior manufacturing, transportation, and logistics support). I just respect Tebow for his record and the esteem he apparently earned from Meyer. As a personality, he’s not for me, and I think it’s a false distinction to say that if winning is a skill, the Lions would have taken him. I think the trick is to find superior, durable athletes who stay out of jail and, yes, know how to win. There are multiple variables here. I agree with you that if Denver drafted him to be a cheerleader, they’ve lost their minds, and I doubt that they have.

  • Zulu

    As a side quibble (but one I’m hopefully going to bring back to Tebow), Grant wasn’t simply a butcher who didn’t understand his advantages – he did and used them well, and sometimes he didn’t use them to win. Grant did not use a supply line in the Vicksburg campaign; he lived off the land and really shocked the Confederates who did not expect an attack from the south. Pemberton (40k) and Johnston (15k) weren’t even that badly outnumbered either (Grant =70k) but they failed to merge and have a better chance of evenness, and Grant could have been trapped with no supply line. One of Grant’s chief subordinates later used the same principles of Vicksburg in Georgia a year and a half later; although that commander is much more famous for those tactics than Grant (though much of Sherman’s “infamy” is so grossly over-exaggerated it’s not funny). In addition other Union commanders – and that is a very long list of men – had the same advantages of manufacturing and logistics, but it wasn’t until Grant used them (especially starting with the Wilderness-Petersburg campaign) that those advantages were used to full effect. Prior Union commanders simply did not take those advantages often enough until Grant. It is not enough to simply have the advantage, you have to use it for it to be an advantage.

    But my musings on Grant aside, I don’t think Tebow will succeed as a “traditional” NFL quarterback. In order for him to succeed he’ll have to play off his various strengths and oddities, some of which are not prototypical of NFL QBs. Good coaches find a way to win with the players and talent they have. If McDaniels is going to win with Tebow, he’s going to have to take advantage of what Tebow can and can’t do. Tebow is going to have to be unorthodox – it’s the only way he will succeed. Tebow has won before, he knows how to win. His coaches have understood that as well. Now he simply has to go out and do it. Will he win? I don’t know. My gut says no, but there’s a reason the game is played. We’ll see how he does in a few years.

  • Perry


    Alex Smith finished the season with a passer rating higher than Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler or Matt Cassel – all QB’s with guaranteed starting positions next year and likely all people that you would label as ‘not busts’. To say that the Niner’s can’t afford to bring in competition at the QB spot is misguided – the fact that the Niners drafted and/or acquired a grand total of ZERO quarterbacks this offseason while Russell’s team did quite the opposite of that shows what their respective teams think about their future potential.

    The truth is, noone is any good at being able to tell whether a QB is going to be worth a first round pick, least of which a bunch of schmoes sitting around typing onto a blog. I’m lucky to be 50% right when I think guys are going to be busts or successes and I bet that you probably are as well.

    For you to say resolutely that he isn’t worth a first round pick is a stretch. Maybe he is and maybe he isn’t but he was given one and will get the chance to prove himself one way or another.

  • Mr.Murder

    Play call for the Red Zone:
    “Five wide, trips right, fullback keeper dive, on Tebo, BREAK”

  • Patrick

    I agree that “leadership” is a skill. I doubt you’ll be able to produce anything to demonstrate to me that “winning” is a skill. It relates partially to the tired debate about the “greatest” QB of all-time; a debate in which it’s very common to devolve into “who has the most championships.” Tom Brady is “greater” than Peyton Manning because he “wins” in the playoffs and in Super Bowls. But, once Brady’s considerable quarterback skill took a hit this year due to injury and he wasn’t surrounded by the complement of talent on offense and defense that he’s accustomed to, the Patriots lay a giant egg against the Ravens in the playoffs. Did Brady lose his “skill at winning”? Psychologically he’s the same Tom Brady.

    I stand by winning being the outcome of the combination of talent, execution and (in many cases) a lucky break or two. I’ll be the first to say that the psyche of a team, their attitudes toward their craft, and the effectiveness of their leadership, are all integral in determining how likely and how much a team wins. I’ve been a part of very good athletic teams and very crappy athletic teams. There are many identifiable differences, including the attributes I just mentioned. But one notable difference is talent and execution.

    It’s easier to lead and win on a talent laden team like Florida. Would the Tebow love-fest be the same if, with the same skill set, talent, and “intangibles”, Tebow picked Akron and went 15-21 in three years as a starter? I doubt it.

  • Greg

    The draft is just a numbers game anyway and people forget that this week especially. Remember, only about half of first round players become good NFL talent and that number goes down every round. So give Tebow a 50% chance at most. Now thinking that he could be the leader of your team for the next 12 years the pick seems justified to me. Remember it is just a draft pick, any other player picked in that slot could be out of the league in 3 years anyway. Denver’s not going to be on the hook for some crazy amount of cash if it doesn’t work.

  • Ian


    You argue that Alex Smith merited his first round selection in 2005 because, in 2009, he statistically outplayed Cassel, Cutler and Ryan. The problem with this argument is that Cassel, Cutler and Ryan all had very poor 2009 seasons. I wouldn’t label any of those three as “busts” right now, but if any reproduce their 2009 seasons in 2010, such performance certainly should raise questions re their viability as starters.

    You then argue that I should not resolutely state that Tebow did not merit a first round pick because no one is capable of accurately predicting future performance. By this logic, any random pick is acceptable and teams and fans should take no interest in the draft. That doesn’t make sense to me (and is no fun). This argument also misconstrues my original post, in which I wrote that the available evidence (including Alex Smith’s performance) suggests Tebow does not merit a first round pick, but reasonable people may disagree with my analysis. I haven’t seen any compelling argument that Tebow will ultimately prove to merit his first round pick, so I’m sticking with my original conclusion.


  • Andrew


    You say that Cassell, Cutler and Ryan all had poor seasons, but how sure of that are you? What if they exceeded their particular skillset in the previous year, and 2009 was just them regressing to normal? It’s not an unheard of phenomena.

    If, by virtue of his mechanics, or performance, or his achievements at the college level don’t warrant Tebow being a 1st round pick, by what subjective criteria are we judging past picks such as Kyle Boller, Tim Couch, Akili Smith, Ryan Leaf, Jamarcus Russell and other past first rounders as being picks “worth” where they were taken?


  • Perry


    No I say that Alex Smith is a bonafide starting NFL quarterback coming out of Urban Meyer’s system, which you described as a ‘serious indicator of QB failure at the NFL level’. By virtue of his lack of the fact that he has only been a head coach for going on 10 years and has only had a handful of quarterbacks at all – I say that the evidence you provide for that statement by trashing Alex Smith is dubious at best.

    As far as his warranting a first round pick, if Smith can hold on to a starting role this year – I would say that being a two year starter in the NFL would warrant the original first round pick. If not, than he doesn’t but certainly wouldn’t make him one of the larger flame-outs (Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, Tim Couch, et al ad nauseum..)

    As far as the second point, ANY QB taken high in the first round is a gamble. The ones with the ‘obvious’ physical skills (Leaf, Russell) and the ones with the ‘obvious’ mental skills (Mirer, McNown) and even the ones who supposedly had both (Couch, Shuler) all can fail.

    If you can honestly tell me that Tebow does not have the physical skills to throw the requisite NFL passes at least as well as the guys on that list, then I would agree with you. But that’s not the case. There’s not an NFL pass that he is physically unable to throw and if JaMarcus “LazyAss” Russell can come out of LSU with actual fanfare and other people aside from the Raiders would would have gambled a first round pick on the guy with such an evident and obvious lack of decision-making skills, than you can’t say that Tebow isn’t worth a gamble for a first round pick as well.

  • CoachK15

    I think character and ability can be found together. Look at Peyton Manning. Tebow is perhaps the most inspiring football icon since Knute or Lombardi. His unquestionable character comes at a time when the NFL is clearly concerned with its players action’s. His ability to encourage teammates and win are skills that cannot be taught, or matched. THE ONLY TROUBLE WITH TEBOW IS HIS MECHANICS. Sadly this tough because so few coaches really focus “fundamentals” or “technique” talk on the actual passing motion; they talk feet and defensive reads. In the end though the difference between JaMarcus Russell & Tom Brady is that the former is a great thrower, the latter is a great passer. If Tebow gets a year with coaches who will break down his throwing mechanics he will continue to be great. He has the work ethic & determination, now he needs someone like Darin Slack to graduate him maximize his potential.

  • CoachW

    As coaches, anytime you can surround yourself with talent and character, you do it.

    The rest works itself out.

    Get him to mini-camp and find a place for him. The more Tebow’s you can get on a roster, the better you’re going to be.

  • Magnus

    Coach K15,

    I like your perspective but the one thing that bothers me when people talk about Tebow, the inspiring leader is that he gets credit for these things when someone like Colt McCoy does not. I AM NOT SAYING THAT COLT McCOY IS BETTER THAN TEBOW. If you value character and leadership, McCoy exhibits just as much as Tebow yet he is even more devalued by analysts. Colt McCoy won more games than anyone in the history of major college football. He never missed a start. He rallied his team against Texas Tech and Ohio State last year and Nebraska this year. When he was hurt in the BCS Championship and the team came out in the second half he was the world’s most vocal cheerleader and he was like another coach with Garrett Gilbert. I witnessed this as it was right in front of my seat.

    By the logic you raise though, Tebow isn’t THAT unique. McCoy should be equally impressive. I have never been a Tebow fan but I don’t hate him either. I can see why he rallies teammates and inspires people. I just question trading up to get him when he doesn’t help you this year and he was likely to be available in the second round. Also, McDaniels just sent two draft picks and Peyton Hillis to the Browns for Brady Quinn. No matter who wins out, they wasted either a first rounder or three players to find their starter and that’s assuming either guy beats out Orton.

    Just my .02

  • Mr.Murder

    My point to make @ Coach Huey’s is that Tebow’s zone read run game is in essence a triple option of this era. You don’t run the option part time. If you try, fumbles result. You must devote practice to its execution on the mesh and exchange.

    Florida used its time on the football exchange and reading the defenders on the option. Thus, much of Tebow’s passing skills were minimized, and those used were based on running out of the pocket to buy additional time and simplify the primary read.

    It is not that he lacks the skills. He used target practice time sharpening his knife for a bayonet. Something else was the focus of their plans. He did well with it and they won games, and Championships.

  • Old South

    Have fun today & tonight Chris

  • John from Round Lake

    If Tebow will be allowed to run within the scope of the offense:after 1st 2 reads break down ala early Mcnabb or culpepper or as built in run pass spread or boot reads (Vick)- He will do great. He will never be Tom Brady or Peyton but he did have RB like numbers in 3 cone,40, size and strength measures. He ran roughshod and threw all over THE SEC – the best non NFL defense there is! The guy can play if you work to polish his mechanics but run offense that features his skillset. Otherwise he will be a complete bust. Its not intangibles that could make him in the NFL its his freakish physical ability. Agree/Disagree?

  • frank

    Tebow has the intangibles: poise under pressure, the ability to win, etc., things you can’t teach. When you look at successful NFL quarterbacks who weren’t or aren’t the most athletically gifted nor a great pure pocket passer, Fran Tarkenton comes to mind, yet managed to win a lot of games, Tebow’s future looks bright — or at least full of potential.

  • Columbine 101

    Cleaning up their off-the-field act might help.

  • david

    post something new

  • Zac

    Although it seems that dude has really put in a great amount of effort to improve his mechanics, I really think that he is going to struggle with the timing of the pro game. Timing, anticipation, decisiveness… the mental clock for the Pro Qb. 5 steps, hitch (sometimes), get rid of the ball. If you have not done that before, how can you all of a sudden program that intuitive sense into your brain? I also think that his personality is going to create some major problems in the locker room. Obviously McDaniels is trying to send a message with this pick. I’m sure there will be plenty of “professional” veterans (guys you can count on already) who will get real sick of the high school approach McDaniels is applying. Tebow’s over the top personality will undoubtedly rub these guys the wrong way. Either way, it’ll be interesting to watch.

  • Black

    write another article already

  • I think Tebow was a stretch in the 1st round, but didn’t the Broncos take Maurice Clarrett at one point a few years back? Character guy though, and the best 5-star QB recruit in terms of numbers since 2002. I do think Ryan Mallett may end up being better in the NFL. Tebow knows how to win.



  • Josh

    Tebow only got a 22 on his Wonderlic. Try this interactive Wonderlic test – http://www.nicholascreative.com/footballiq/ – to see how you would stack up!

  • Frank

    For real tho, did chris die? Or was I not informed he would be taking a month long break?

  • Adam Brettschneide

    Great job in this entry! I found it rather informative. I have saved the link to your web site and I am sure that I’ll come back many more times in the future.

  • Daniel Tyler

    I don’t see why he wouldn’t be able to be a powerback in the nfl, not a fullback, a powerback to compliment a smaller halfback. Most running qbs run to the outside on most running plays, but Meyer ran a lot of plays that reversed the role, instead of runningback going up the middle and the qb having the option to go to the outside, it was the runningback who had the option to go outside or Tebow could take it up the middle. His duties weren’t that much different from a halfback. Lots of inside up the middle runs (like the play i just mentioned or the qb power or draw). The only difference was he was taking a direct snap.

    He has a great initial burst, his vertical shows that he is explosive with 38.5 inches, would have been top among halfbacks, his 3 cone drill time would have been first among all halfbacks, shows change of direction speed, and his shuttle would have also been in the top, tied with Jahvid Best, test lateral agility and explosiveness in a short area. His top end speed is lacking, but powerbacks are not going to be homerun threats, you want them to grind it out with 10 to 20 yard runs. Guys that got drafted this year had just as much top end speed or even less, like Blount, Dwyer, Scott, Dixon

    The interesting thing is, that Bellicheck sent McDaniels before the 07 season to learn about Meyer’s offense, he incorporated some of it into his offense minus the running qb part because you don’t want Brady running. Now they have Tebow he says he will have “certain packages for him”. I wonder if it will be similar to what he ran at UF. That would be a perfect way for him to start out his career in Denver, come in for certain packages, mostly to run it, but a few passes here and there, like he did in 06 with Chris Leak starting until he gets all aspects of the game down. His body should be able to hold up with running the ball for at least 3 seasons, by then he could be more of a drop back passer that just runs occasionally.

  • Daniel Tyler

    “The WildCat works best in Miami when Ronnie Brown is behind center and the QB splits out wide — the defense is taken by surprise. And Tim Tebow ain’t no Pat White when it comes to running the football.)”

    Tim Tebow might not be like Pat White but he is kind of like Ronnie Brown, well Id say more like an Eddie George. The reason the wildcat doesn’t work with Pat White is, for it to work , you need a guy that can run up the middle. Pat White isn’t that guy, he is more of a run to the outside type of guy. Hes like 6’1 barely 200 pounds. Tim Tebow is 6’3 an 235. He doesn’t have great top end speed but his initial burst is great, he showed this at the combine with his vertical, which would have been in the top for halfbacks, also showed great speed at changing directions with his 3 cone drill time 6.66. He may not break off many 40 yard runs but he can break off a bunch of 10 to 20 yard runs and occasionally something close to 30. Which will make the defense respect the up the middle threat

    To make the wildcat even more efficient, is to have a guy that can run up the middle and throw. Tebow can do that. While he won’t be running THE wildcat, he will be running something like the wildcat, and will probably be called a wildcat qb. I think he will be running similar stuff that he ran while at UF. McDaniels knows the system pretty well