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.

  • Jonathan B.

    Wholeheartedly agree; most people are missing the boat when they say “Character can’t lead from the bench.” They are assuming that this fellow has no talent, but he’s a 6-4, 230 pound rocket armed winner who has decent speed and great leadership. Basically, this is a question of Josh McDaniel’s QB coaching- but I’d say he’s accomplished in that area.

  • Brad

    Look, Tim Couch had great talent and character too. But that never made him successful. I’m not saying that Tebow CANNOT be coached into a starting NFL quaterback who will find success. But the kid never made it past his second read in a very simple passing system filled with short throws and bubble screens and some PA. He needs to be coached into being able to A) run an NFL, timing based offense, B) properly fix his throwing motions, C) learn to quickly read a defense and deliver the ball into tight spaces, and D) move within the pocket with good footwork on drop backs from under center. That is a lot, and I just don’t see it happening.

  • it was certainly an interesting draft. His off-field persona should fit nicely with the atmosphere in Denver.

    I was shocked at what Denver gave up to GET Tebow, but you can’t deny that he is one helluva football player.

    Can he be molded into a good quarterback? Why not. The question may be better presented with the contrasted dynamic of the HC (McDaniels) being QB-sympathetic taking a hands-on role with this pick as compared with other (maybe less dynamic a philosophy) HC’s who may not take on such a role. Also, couple that with 1) Denver’s franchise proclivity to offenses (as compared with other’s that are so ingrained to focus on defense) 2) The early stages of the new hire of 3) a YOUTHFUL HC.

    Is the QB position in this era not as rigorous as once believed? Can a playmaker be utilized in various roles without being such a dominant drop-back passer in the NFL? Can such a dynamic playmaker like Tebow be used ala Reggie Bush / (early) Kordell Stewart, wearing many hats to move the chains?
    Should there be pressure on Tebow to be THE MAN at QB? Or can the Broncos simply be credited with not letting a great player (BPA) slip out of their reach (even if it isn’t a position of need)?

    With Quinn and Orton in the mix, I’m sure its anyone’s ball game right now

  • Rob S.

    Yes, it’s possible, if the player and coaches know going in that it will take 2 to 3 years.
    Bronco fans are passionate, impatient, and are awaiting the second coming of Elway. They might not give the coach or the player the time needed. It’s up to them.

  • fyi – [free]
    NFL Draft Guide

  • scott

    I think overall this is a good pick for the Broncos. While Tebow has some legitimate delivery/mechanical issues, he has been active in working increasing the speed and efficiency of the motion. Muscle memory is hard to break but with proper coaching and tons of reps, it can work itself out.

    The system Tebow is walking into is a spread/shotgun type thing, not too far off from what he’s used to. I thought back to the 2007 season and the Patriots/McDaniels offense. I’d love to see some numbers on the percentage of time Brady was actually under center during that season, I would guess around 35%, but it’s probably less than that. I’m in no way degrading the point that his footwork, pocket presence, and reads aren’t important, but given the system he’s walking into, it’s almost ideal for his skill set. While there are things he needs to work on, and hey, every rookie has their downside, I don’t think they are not insurmontable.

  • Ike

    Let’s run a parallel to what Tebow did when he came into Florida.

    He walked into a pass-oriented system that was being run very efficiently by Chris Leak. Tebow was brought in on short-yardage downs as a “dual threat,” and there is value in deploying a fullback who can throw.

    Denver could easily do the same with Tebow, getting him some snaps in situations where he is expected to do what he is famous for, while at the same time giving him limited reads to adjust his vision to NFL specs. We know that he won’t walk into the play with the full package of audibles at his disposal, be we also won’t know WHICH audibles and reads upon which he’s being mentored.

    Chris, the question you pose defies an answer. But Tebow is an anomaly wrapped in an enigma, now ensconced in a Denver-sized wager.

  • Ike

    …and I say that as an Alabama grad who’s been watching him for five years.

  • Woody

    I think it is a good pick. Tebow will not have to take over as starting QB next season so he has time to develop. He will however, be a player who can make an impact on the field next season. The Broncos do run a their Wild Horse package which obviously Tebow is the perfect guy to run it. They don’t have a marquee QB who is gonna be a diva when they use Tebow, ala McNabb, so it is something they could further develop. I think this facet alone makes him a valuable pick even if he never developed into a franchise QB.

  • Andrew

    The answer to your question really depends on the situation. If a team like Buffalo had drafted Tebow, the answer would be “no,” b/c they would have had to start him immediately. With Denver, though, you have a team that is reasonably established at QB and, more importantly, has a coach who has shown that he can turn an average QB into a winner (think about what McDaniels did w/ Matt Cassel). So, the Broncos are in the position to sit Tebow for a year or two and work on his mechanics & fundamentals before starting. Seems to me that, given that situation, picking a talent/character guy w/ some technical problems is totally a good idea.

  • NJBammer

    I don’t understand why the man summons such passion. Sure, he played in a system which you see little of in the pros, but so do most college QBs these days. Yes, he has a long delivery, but if you think you can change that, I don’t see why he won’t be a good pro QB. Seriously, I do not understand some of the hysterics surrounding him. Can someone explain it to me?

  • Troy

    To answer your question, yes and yes. It’s not like other QB prospects spring from the draft fully formed either – they all have things to work on. And it’s terribly difficult to separate the player from the hype with regard to Tebow. His game is facing a lot more scrutiny than the other kids, especially Bradford. As far as getting value for the pick, taking D. Thomas two picks earlier is probably more specious, considering the depth of the draft at the WR position, Thomas’s skill set, and the number of teams that would have taken Tebow at the top of the 2nd.

    Here’s why I think the pick is controversial: each of Josh McDaniel’s roster decisions with the Broncos makes sense individually, but when viewed as a whole it’s pretty unclear as to what his plan really is. He’s totally bulldozed the offense, unloading all the significant skill players that weren’t “his guys,” changing the blocking scheme, and asking one of three (relatively) noodle-armed QB’s to run a vertically-oriented passing game in a tough environment. Viewed generously, it’s a developmental, win-big-later approach. But on the defensive side of the ball, he added several older veteran players to a unit that was already pretty long in the tooth. The Broncos survived last season with a startlingly low number of injuries on defense, a trend which is sure to change this season. With the draft’s early-round depth at DB and D-line, and after having just traded for a former first-round QB, and with needs along the interior O-line and on defense, trading three picks away to take a developmental QB in the bottom of the 1st round just doesn’t make a ton of sense.

  • Ian

    “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.”

    These are very different questions. To the second question, it certainly is possible to draft a prospect with questionable QB skills and develop him into a good NFL QB. Consider Vince Young or Steve McNair; both very high profile picks coming out of decidedly non-NFL systems and clearly in need of development. If the prospect rates positively on “character”/”leadership”/”winner” intangibles, as Tebow does, I don’t see how that could possibly hurt.

    That said, I do not view QB draft decisions generally as a question of “whether to take a guy with great character and questionable talent, or great talent and questionable character.” The Dez Bryants of the draft are the exception, not the rule. Also, frequently teams are unaware of character flaws until the prodigy becomes a millionaire (see Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell).

    The first question really needs to be broken into sub-parts: the “football” decision and the “business” decision. The football decision here seems a very poor one to me. That is because I do not think that Tebow, in particular, will develop into a quality NFL starting QB. He’s a run-first QB (strong indicator of failure) coming from Meyer’s system (strong indicator of failure). He was also miserable in the all-star game, suggesting he is a many-year project. Denver traded picks #43 and 70 for pick #25 to get him (I view the #114 for #119 swap as de minimis loss). Considering my perception fo a very high likelihood of failure, I do not think that Tebow’s expected contributions on the field merit pick #70, let alone #43 or #25. Of course, that’s just my evaluation and reasonable people may disagree (though I believe I’m in a very large majority on this).

    On the other hand, I think the business decision will ultimately prove to be great one. Tebow is easily the most recognizable and media-buzzworthy college player in a decade and fanbases are (appropriately) fixated on the QB position. Denver’s QB situation without Tebow (Kyle Orton) isn’t going to move merchandise. Tebow changes that in a way that no other player would be able to, particularly because this draft is very, very short on high-end QBs. From the business decision perspective, Tebow is an excellent pick who will no doubt turn a profit for the team. (Compare to Mike Vick, who is essentially worthless on the field but sells jerseys and keeps Eagles fans engaged.)

    The shame for Tebow is that this particular business decision further lowers the likelihood that he will be successful on the field. There is always strong pressure from fan bases to play first round QBs, even when the incumbent is a star. Here we are talking about an immensely popular newbie and an incumbent Kyle Orton; a very extreme version of the old story. Had Tebow been taken in the fifth round (or later) which I believe his on-field skills suggest would have been appropriate, fan unrest would be significantly minimized. The good news for Tebow’s development is that his coach comes from the Parcells/Belichick line, implying unresponsiveness to (and in many cases apparent disdain for) fans and is a QB coach who presumably won’t throw Tebow into the fire too prematurely. That said, I do not expect the Tebow NFL Story to end positively — on the field, that is.

  • Bob Collins

    Did you guys so Mel Kipers face when the Broncos selected Tebow…his head was about to explode. Even Steve Young couldn’t hide the disgust at the pick….lol. It was classic.

  • Coach P

    What I like is that now McDaniels and Tebow are married together, and their success will determine their fates in Denver. McDaniels is lauded for his work with Tom Brady, and if he can’t coach the kinks out of Tebow’s delivery, then people will see that McDaniels was just riding on Brady’s coat-tails. Conversely, Tebow should be able to learn a bit about the NFL game from both McDaniels and Kyle Orton, who has enjoyed moderate success with moderate talent. Maybe next year or the year after (I have no idea how much longer Denver has Orton under contract), Tebow will take the reins and show what he has learned.
    NFL coaches are supposed to be the cream of the crop. If they can’t take a specimen like Tebow, who has all the measurables AND intangibles they look for in a QB, and “fix” his delivery over the course of a year or two, then they probably don’t deserve to keep their jobs. I see nothing but success for both of them.

  • Jim

    I really do not understand Denver’s draft. From McDaniel’s perspective he take two projects with the first rounders that can very well not produce until he is fired if at all. The Tebow pick by Denver does not make a lot of sense either. There best player now either has to change position or loose much of the value he brings to the team to stay a blind side tackle.

  • stan

    In the end, successful QBs are those who can continue to think and function (and physically hold up) on those days when they are getting pounded relentlessly by the pass rush. We don’t know how Bradford will handle this and we don’t know how Tebow will. Early hints aren’t necessarily positive for either.

    That’s one thing Shanahan could count on with Cutler. Regardless of his other flaws, he had proven over and over in college that he could lead an inferior team and give them a shot to win, even when getting relentlessly pounded by the defense.

  • CommissionerLeaf


    Now, I think that Tebow may well be a decent NFL backup once he’s learned to play the quarterback position, but Urban Meyer’s offense was about as far from an NFL offense as the Redskins… oh wait, let me start over.

    Tebow would probably be okay in a run-based, move-the-chains type of offense. But he’s basically Michael Vick with less athleticism and more technical deficiencies, at this point. Given his apparent willingness to devote time to football and work, he may well be a better passer than Vick was, in which case he can look forward to a decent career. But at this point, we haven’t seen anything that implies that his ceiling is above, say, David Garrard.

    And Garrard plays in Jacksonville.

  • John

    It’s definitely possible to draft a great character kid with great talent. St Louis did. So did Tampa Bay.

  • MorrisseyDave

    Quarterbacks can develop, if given enough time and patience: Rich Gannon ran the Wing-T at Delaware, and while I’ve never seen footage of his college days, I assume his mechanics left something to be desired, not to mention the transition he had to endure coming into the NFL. It took him a while, but he worked out OK. Considering that he went in the first round and all the love and adoration everyone pours on the ground Tebow walks on, he’ll probably have a smoother ride than Gannon did.

    Still, Gannon is the exception; making wholesale changes to your delivery on-top of having to get used to operating under center, AND having to learn the nuances of NFL offenses where you have to go through your progressions as opposed to hanging around the backfield looking for an open man… that’s A LOT for a guy to adjust to. Plus he rarely had to throw a deep ball in college, so how accurate is his arm?

    It might work out in the long-term, but in Denver? With Josh McDaniels screaming at him and having to throw to… Demaryius Thomas? THAT GUY is a project.

    (I think those people who think Tebow will shine in the “Wild Horse” need to look at Pat White in Miami; whenever he comes onto the field and Pennington or Henne come off, the defense knows what’s coming and can substitute in appropriately. 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.)

    My thinking is still more aligned with Joshua Green’s: “Horrible, horrible pick. He’ll flame out in three years, get elected to Congress.”

    (Also: why does everyone question Myron Rolle’s commitment to the NFL when it’s clear Tebow has other things in mind (e.g. converting heathen Catholics) besides playing football?

    [/Looks at skin color] Oh, right…)

  • loneweasel

    If he’s so coachable and hard-working, why hasn’t he been “molded” into an acceptable passer by now? What has he been doing with his individual game through high school and four years of college?

    A rookie contract only lasts four to six years. For quarterbacks by about year three a team has to decide whether he’s the guy or to draft the next one. If Tebow hasn’t corrected his “technique” in four years at Florida and at least two tries, how long is Denver willing to sink into this project?

    Keep in mind too the Broncos don’t have a legit quarterbacks coach.

  • Jonny

    I agree its simply an issue of technique. But I have my doubts about improved technique for Timmy. Most of what I’ve read seems to point out that technique is dependent upon muscle memory, which becomes harder to alter later in life. Muscle memory is stored in the cerebellum like a computer program. To alter it is like having to delete the program and rewrite it. And if thats the case, the chances of the brand new draft of the program you wrote being ready for the highest level of competition is very slim.

  • HarlequinFarm

    Reporting at the fifth down blog has McDaniels saying that Tebow’s the guy they’re going to build their offense around. If that’s there approach, and they are creative and smart enough to put together a competitive package, Tebow seems to have the goods to make it work.

    There’s a lot of talk about intangibles, but one intangible that it appears Tebow brings is the ability to be a team leader. He seems like the kind of guy who’s going to take over the huddle, take over the locker room, and really drive the team forward. And he seems like the kind of player who will always believe there’s a way to win.

    Finally, on the timing in the draft, given the high expectations Denver has in Tebow being at the center of a transformation of their team, there’s no sense getting too fancy on the draft timing. They’ve obviously thought a lot about where they want to take their offense, so paying a premium makes sense, if Tebow’s the linchpin to that transformation.

    Everyone has to wonder whether it will work or not, but you have to like the boldness of the move, and McDaniels and the Broncos willingness to push themselves and the NFL in new directions.

  • Benjamin

    I think it’s a good pick. Josh McDaniels is a known admirer of Urban Meyer’s spread offense at Florida. Who could be a better triggerman to help transition this scheme to the NFL than Tebow? It was a successful scheme in college and there is no reason to believe that the scheme and Tebow won’t be as successful in the NFL. It won’t be too long before every team in the league runs some version of the Florida’s QB power running game, or what everyone in the NFL calls the Wildcat. Let’s not forget Pat White was a second round pick with a similar scheme in mind last year. The league is headed in this direction. As you wrote in one of your posts, “The spread is not a gimmick thing; it’s a numbers thing.” It’s here to stay. I’m excited to see Tebow and the next evolution of the spread in Denver.

  • Wow how many people are upset about this guy being picked? I will hold off for a couple years to judge him.

    But I did find Gruden’s thoughts intriguing while watching last night. What do you guys want in a QB? How many QB’s have come in with bad mechanics that have been corrected?

    And the comment about why weren’t his mechanics changed in college? I wasn’t there on the Florida Staff coaching the kid maybe that wasn’t their main priority, maybe it was winning games.

    A few years down the road we will see how he is doing.. BTW wasn’t Brady Quinn supposed to be this great QB coming out of college??

  • Aboojum

    I don’t think the Broncos chose Tebow to be a starting QB in the next two or three years. I think they chose him for a) PR value; b) attitude and character statement; and c) to give him a chance at QB but likely will use him in wildcat/H-back situations where he will be valuable. I think the Broncos know they could have traded down and got him easily. No one was going to take him until at least middle second and maybe third. They wanted to send a message to the team and perhaps get a guy who can do some odd, revolutionary things given his freakish size/skills. His QB skills alone place him at about the 12th best QB available in this draft. That’s just a fact. He is not accurate, he was throwing first read passes to first round draft choices who were often wide open and STILL had to make plays due to his very inaccurate passes, and he had all day in the pocket. I don’t think UF ran one timing pass play. Ever.

  • Will

    I think Tebow can develop into a starting QB a few years down the road. He has all the physical tools he would ever need, just needs to develop his game ALOT. He’s kind of like the John Pierre-Paul of the quarterbacks: Raw as can be at technique, but all the physicality in the world. Give Tebow three years, and he WILL start in the NFL. He could be a Wildcat QB right now.

  • This is a very bad pick for Denver for a myriad of reasons. Decisions such as this baffle me when made by supposed professionals in the football world.

    If this wasn’t Tim Tebow (arguably the most hyped player in history), and it was another player with the same skill set and no hype, this wouldn’t even be a conversation. The whole country would be openly mocking Denver (as opposed to only half the country now). But it is Tim Tebow, and thus these ridiculous discussions are popping up everywhere.

    He’s never been an exceptional passer in college, and to say he was a good passer would be a stretch. What’s being proposed is making this player into something he has never been.

    Is the guy a winner? Sure. Does he possess leadership qualities? Sure. Is he an NFL quarterback? Not even close.

    There is a very long list of quarterbacks with good leadership qualities who have failed miserably in the NFL, some have even been mentioned here in the comments. Tebow will join the long list of overrated Florida quarterbacks who have achieved NFL obscurity.

    The reasons for this being a terrible pick extend beyond Tebow’s abilities as a player. Taking him in the first round, to put it as nicely as possible, wasn’t smart. He’s a developmental project at best, Denver needs alot more than just a QB and could have used this pick to secure an NFL ready player who could step in and contribute in 2010, and now the Denver Broncos’ franchise is tied to the development of a player who has never shown signs of being able to execute an NFL offense successfully. At the very least, they could have traded down and still taken Tebow if they were dead set on him. The execution of this selection was a failure.

    Also, I see the argument of physicality posted here in the comments. This argument is ridiculous. There are lots of guys who are 6’4″, 230 and in peak physical condition in the NFL. That has absolutely nothing to do with playing the QB position.

    Just to summarize, this was a terrible pick for Denver because:

    1. There were much better options at the QB position available.
    2. If they wanted Tebow, they could’ve gotten him in the 3rd easily, possibly even the 4th.
    3. They could have used that pick to bring in a player who could contribute right away.
    4. They will be paying first round money to a development project.
    5. They have tied the success of the franchise (or at the very least, the current staff’s livelihood) to the outcome of this risky development project.
    6. Tebow’s success has come from making plays in the running game, and the luxury of being surrounded by premier talent, on offense and defense. He has never shown the ability to be an NFL caliber passer. NFL defenses will eat him alive.

  • LD

    In the rush to defend the pick, St. Timmy apologists are conveniently ignoring the fact that McDaniels gave up THREE (!!!) draft picks to get Tebow. In other words, the Donkeys didn’t just take Tebow in the 1st round … which was dumb enough since he would’ve been available later. They took him in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, AND 4th rounds. Ozzie Newsome (Roll Tide) continues to demonstrate why he’s one of the brightest front office minds of the past two decades. Dude absolutely fleeced McDaniels.

  • LD

    Also, the idea that Tebow needs to be molded into a QB presupposes that there’s another option. You know how many QBs have had to be molded into pros? All of them. And that’s certainly been true since the move to a passing-first league by papal decree (i.e. Pete Rozelle) with the Walsh-friendly “you stop touching me, no you stop touching me” rules of the late 1970s. Bottom line: Tebow’s gonna have to do his homework just like everybody else and will soon find that every NFL defense is the Alabama defense of the SEC Championship. If he has uncorrected flaws, they will be discovered.

    Can Denver be the place for Timmah to find success? Not as long as McDaniels keeps giving away his team’s only real commodity … draft picks.

  • Dan Shanoff

    Agree with the folks above who think he will develop into an NFL starting QB.

    McDaniels is not just a QB-development guru, but someone who now has a vested interest in turning Tebow into a success.

    A quick note on Tebow’s first season: He won’t be expected to come in and start, and unlike other high-end rookie QBs who sit their first year, he can actually come in and contribute meaningfully in short-yardage/goal-line situations, not unlike how he was used at Florida as a freshman, when he was arguably offensive MVP of a national title team.

    I have been saying for a year that the Wildcat can and should be so much more than the way the Dolphins (and others, in limited ways) have deployed it. The single wing in the NFL can be a lot more potent, when deployed by a coach willing to go against the orthodoxy.

    McDaniels feels like that guy, and he has the job security — even the mandate — to get as creative as possible with Tebow. There is no reason McDaniels can’t devise a package for Tebow every bit as mold-breaking as the Wildcat was with Miami two seasons ago. And, reading the tea leaves of McDaniels’ quotes, you get the sense he WANTS to — both to help the team win games and to display just how smart he is.

    Everyone keeps talking about “4-to-6 snaps” a game for Tebow as a “Wildcat-esque” QB, but that is simply lifting from the Dolphins’ playbook. What if McDaniels uses Tebow 10-12 times per game — a far more meaningful number of touches. And, presumably, those instances will be fairly critical to the game outcome (short-yardage and/or goal-line, where the individual play’s success materially impacts the expected-win percentages).

    With at least a season of breathing room on Tebow (and on being competitive overall), it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see McDaniels get extremely experimental with Tebow next season.

    Obviously, at the same time, McDaniels will be developing Tebow to start full-time in the NFL. But what happens when they can merge the single-wing options with the “conventional” starter’s playbook? I think this potential is what has McDaniels (and Urban Meyer, it should be added) so excited about Tebow’s upside.

  • Rob S.

    Hey LD — Denver started the draft with 7 picks (1,2,2,3,4,5,6) and in the first two days had used 5 picks (1,1,2,3,3) with 2 5 remaining (5,6). Looks like McDaniels got Tebow for a relative #2 pick. Now I can understand that as a Alabama fan that it’s painful for you to endure all this Tebow talk, but it will pass.

  • LD

    Haha. We got the last laugh, but point taken. Hey, maybe Tebow makes it, maybe he doesn’t. But, if you want that QB, do like the Bears and take Dan Lefevor in the 6th. Both guys are dual threat QBs with mechanics concerns, but one guy is being paid like the 25th pick in the draft and the other is Dan Lefevor. And you keep your draft picks. If this doesn’t backfire on Denver I’ll be shocked.

  • Paul

    Drafting any QB is a gamble, look at how many make it to “regular starter on good team” compared to how many are drafted. The question is do you gamble in the first and second round, and if so on who?

    This is a reasonably good bet given that it appears Tebow will spend a year or two wearing a headset on Sunday and working hard in practice. He has better physical tools to work with than most.

  • Poorbob

    At first, I was wondering what Denver was doing and then I thought about it. The decision makes sense for two reasons. One, if anyone is going to coach up a QB, it’ll be Josh McDaniels. Two, Denver is being forged into the Patriots in everything they do. The one thing the Pats do probably more than any other team is look for guys with character and drive. Tim Tebow, if he has anything, has that. If he never plays a down at QB and he motivates his teammates or makes the bad character guys better, then he’ll have been worth it. I know that Texas Tech did this under the previous regime, and I assume other schools do too, where they have a frosh travel with the squad or suit up every game just because of their enthusiasm for the game and how it rubs off on people. I believe the worst case scenario for Tebow is being that guy that motivates others to work hard, even if he never breaks a huddle.

  • I think Denver is a great place for Tebow. He comes in as the third QB. He doesn’t have to win games, he just has to learn the business.

    If they want to, they can use him much like Florida did his freshman year. They can put in some small package just for him that doesn’t look a lot like anything else they do, Wildcat, Spread, something. That’ll give opposing DCs something else to spend time on.

    Meanwhile he spends most of his time in practice demoing against the #1 defense learning about coverages and how to see them.

    Life is very good if you’re Tim Tebow or Denver

  • This is a very curious discussion about a very atypical athlete.

    First, the Broncos aren’t a developmental league team, so allocating one of their finite draft choices on someone who has not demonstrated what they want from him is just illogical. Surely they see things in Tebow now that they want to exploit on the field soon.

    Second, he was one of the most successful college QBs in history because his coach used him in a particular way — his coach built an offense around his unique attributes. If JMcD isn’t planning on the same it made no sense to draft him.

    Third, Tebow is a traditional NFL QB the way Urlacher was a traditional NFL free safety. By this I mean he wasn’t, isn’t, and wasn’t shoehorned into that role. Occasionally a difference-maker, or divergent new talent, enters the league and the league changes more than the athlete. Without the uniqueness of the athlete (and a conceptualization of how the league can change, clearly held by the HC) change isn’t possible. If JMcD plans to convert Tebow into a Manning or Brady clone, this experiment is pointless.

    So I think that Tebow is interesting because I think he signals JMcD’s intention to try to change the league. Whether this becomes change as Mouse Davis brought, or change like the introduction of Paul Brown’s T formation (i.e., brief or permanent innovation, anecdotal or sweeping), is perhaps why there’s so much interest here. But my point is that Tebow is a marker, not the thing itself. This pick, imo, is about JMcD.

    Footnote: in all the discussion about his mechanics and deficiencies, it’s useful to remember that winning is a skill, too. Often these discussions remind me of the old-school attitude the baseball scouts unsuccessfully brought to Billy Beane’s table (a “tools” ballplayer perspective vs. predicting success based on prior performance; obviously Beane changed baseball by caring a lot more about prior performance, and a lot less about what a guy looked like in his underwear or running 40 yards down a prepared track).

  • Love the pick, love the player, love the spread offense – look for the ‘Wild Horse’ to ride in Denver for some time!

  • Jim

    If winning is a skill than Tebow is no better of a prospect than about a dozen other QB’s the last 2 decades and not even the top guy this year. He was not exactly playing with chumps but a team that has sent 13 other players into the draft over the last 3 years and that recruits top 5 class after top class.

  • Magnus

    I don’t have anything against Tim Tebow the college player although I find his scripture eye-black annoying.

    I don’t believe that he can truly re-learn the throwing motion. It’s one thing to show it against air at your pro day and another thing to do it running from 300 pound guys trying to take your head off.

    He does not anticipate the open receiver well but I think this can be taught. I don’t feel comfortable writing him off because guys like Tebow and McCoy are going to do everything in their power to help their team.

    The biggest issue I have here is that they blew three picks to trade up to #25 to get him. They could have easily gotten him in round 2. So, what Denver has done is taken a guy at #25 who will not start this year nor can he be reasonably expected to contribute significantly. If he’s your #3 QB then he’s only used in emergencies. If he’s your #2 QB on gameday then Brady Quinn whom you just traded for is your inactive guy.

    That doesn’t sound like a good business more nor does it strike me that the coach has a cogent long term vision.

  • loneweasel

    You know “Moneyball” has just become another brainless cliche when a guy cites it and “winning is a skill” in the same comment.

  • Perry


    Alex Smith, as far as I see – is a starting QB on an NFL team. For a head coach who has had all of 4 or 5 starting quarterbacks ever in his 9-10 years as a head coach – having 20-25% of them starting in the NFL isn’t quite a ‘strong indicator of failure’ of quarterbacks in his system. Drew Brees, coming from a spread based offense from Purdue was one of the at least top three best QB’s in the NFL. So that argument, as far as i’m concerned is BS.

    As far as Tebow – he finished #2, #4 and #1 in QB rating nationally his three years. Also, he three fifteen interceptions in those three years with almost 1,000 attempts total with an average of over 9 yards per attempt all three years. So the argument from the other commentator that all he does is throw bubble screens and short passes is also BS.

    Is he perfect or what anyone would call a ‘model’ baseline for a QB? Nope. Does he look perfect on the field? Not very often. But the fact remains, he wins, he is effective, he doesn’t turn the ball over and he is consistently one of the highest rated QB’s all three years that he played at Florida.

    Will he succeed? Who knows – but he sure as hell is worth a shot.

  • Teo

    Quick question, not necessarily related to Tebow: what spread qb’s besides Alex Smith, Vince Young, Kyle Orton and Drew Brees got a shot at playing in the NFL, and how did they do?

    Also, regarding Timmy being used with a single-wing type package, i suggest you read http://smartfootball.blogspot.com/search/label/single%20wing. Tebow could very well be productive in a spread/single wing offense (if Bill Walsh says something about offense, it’s most likely right), and since the Broncos have other capable passers the “but my franchise qb will get killed!” argument isn’t valid.

  • Thank you, Loneweasel. Arguments are usually better defended when someone includes the ‘why’, rather than just the stipulation. I have no idea why you hold that opinion, so it is unconvincing, if not crippled, by the absence of either logic or evidence.

  • Abe

    For what it’s worth. I don’t think Tebow works out in Denver. I feel like it will be the Steve Young @ Tampa Bay stop for him. He will struggle to make the transition, especially with the personnel on offense there. I think he will show flashes but never really become an A+ starter in Denver. Tell you the truth, I think Josh McDaniels will probably get canned over what he did in this draft and his general attitude. Tebow will become an albatross and find a home with another team, where he might find success.

  • A different Brad

    In answer to TEO, the offense that Philip Rivers ran at NC State was extremely similar to the Texas Tech offense (both primarly shotgun, heavily one back, very simplified, and evolved from old BYU offenses) don’t know if that qualifies as “spread” or not. I also think Roethlisberger’s Miami offense was pretty much a one back gun offense with some running from one back sets under center but lots of shotgun one back.

  • Ted Seay

    @Bellanca: >change like the introduction of Paul Brown’s T formation

    Or Clark Shaughnessy’s, to correct a comparison.

    (n.b.: Ralph Jones is also an acceptable correct answer; George Halas is a stretch, but just within the bounds of historical truth…)

  • Ian

    Perry — the question isn’t whether Tebow’s worth a shot, it’s whether he was drafted appropriately. Re Alex Smith, you seem to check the box because he’s a starter. But Smith is only a starter because the 49ers have too much invested in Smith to bring in reasonable competition at the position, and Smith still somehow managed to lose the job to someone named Shaun Hill last offseason and couldn’t earn it back for several weeks. Smith is a not-quite-as-horrible-but-still-horrible version of the Jamarcus Russell story. If the 2005 NFL draft were redone with the benefit of hindsight, Alex Smith is a round 5-6 developmental prospect; right where Josh Harris was and where Tebow should be IMO (ignoring the business aspect of the decision).

    Teo — what does “got a shot” mean? Multiple starts? Getting drafted? Getting a UDFA contract? Getting workouts? Apart from the guys you mentioned, the high profile guys are Tim Couch, Joe Flacco and Kevin Kolb. (Rivers ran Norm Chow’s offense, which I think is better described as “Norm Chow’s offense” than by the generic “spread” term; no idea Ben R.). Then there are the lower-profile guys which may or may not have gotten a shot, depending on what you mean, like: Pat White (drafted; very limited role in Miami), Dennis Dixon (drafted; second string in Pitt, but now competing with Leftwich), Curtis Painter (drafted; second string in Indy), Chase Daniel (UDFA; third string inactive in NO), Brad Smith (drafted; converted to WR by Jets), Colt Brennan (drafted; somewhere on depth chart in DC, on IR last year?), Michael Robinson (drafted; converted to RB by 49ers), Kliff Kingsbury (drafted; practice teamer, now a coach), Timmy Chang (UDFA; cut a couple of times, sent to NFL-Europe, now in Canada), Sonnie Cumbie (UDFA; cut a couple of times, maybe in the AFL?), Graham Harrell (workouts but no UDFA contract, now in Canada). I’m sure there are a bunch more guys who aren’t with the NFL anymore who I just can’t remember. And lots of “spread” QBs drafted this year: Bradford, Tebow, Lefevour, Pike, McCoy.

    Re the single-wing, it’ll be interesting to see if the Broncos try to install some kind of run-first spread variant with a QB who runs a 4.7/40. I don’t see that working out.

  • I’m wondering if the way to think about Tebow is *not* by comparing him to Harrell or Daniel et al — but to another guy was a physical oddity (a couple standard deviations out in regard to size), brilliant in college, poorly appreciated in the League, exiled to Canada, effective and occasionally brilliant when given a second chance at the NFL. Doug Flutie: didn’t he invoke the same conversations and criticisms? (He’ll never make it, he’s a winner, he’ll make it, he’s a pretty boy, he might make it if a coach wants to risk his job and revise his offense to reflect his ability.)

    Ted, thank you for the correction.

  • Patrick

    “If he never plays a down at QB and he motivates his teammates or makes the bad character guys better, then he’ll have been worth it.”
    This is a fair statement if you’re talking about a late round pick or an undrafted free agent. If you’re spending several later picks to move into the late first round for a guy you’ve obviously targeted, he needs to produce more than a glorified cheerleader.

    I absolute dispute “winning” as a “skill.” Winning is the outcome of the culmination of the collective skill of the entire team. Brady and Manning are not “skilled” at “winning.” They are exceptionally skilled at playing quarterback, and are surrounded by superior talent and coaching. Combined, that leads to wins. If winning was a skill, why wouldn’t the Lions take Tebow #2 overall?