2012 NFL Draft: Are Any Quarterbacks Already Better Than Tim Tebow?

Nick HouserCorrespondent IIFebruary 13, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: Are Any Quarterbacks Already Better Than Tim Tebow?

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    There are dozens of quality quarterbacks in the 2012 NFL Draft. But are any more talented than Tim Tebow and worth looking at to draft as a potential replacement? 

    The Denver Broncos already have committed to Tebow as their starter, at least for now. However, with a career 47.3 completion percentage, Tebow has some fans clamoring to draft a replacement come April.

    Tebow will be in his third year as a professional in 2012. He's a big, strong presence whose strongest attribute may be his leadership skills. Tebow has quickness and a very powerful arm as well.

    His biggest challenges will be mastering his decision-making in the pocket and accuracy. I believe Tebow can read NFL defenses well, he just has to release the ball quicker and show confidence in his throws.

    If Broncos management stays true to their word, then obviously this is a moot point. It's still fun to speculate, just in case they pull off a surprise on draft day.

    Researching rankings, mock drafts and message boards, I've come up with a list of the 10 quarterbacks who appear to be considered the best of the best in the upcoming draft.

    Here's how their talent stacks up against Denver's incumbent, Tim Tebow.

Kellen Moore

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    Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore is coming off an impressive 2011 season in which he threw for 3,800 yards, 43 touchdowns and only nine interceptions.

    In his college career, Moore threw for 14,667 yards, 142 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. That's a 5-to-1 ratio of touchdowns to interceptions.

    The knocks against Moore are his stature and arm strength. With that come questions about his downfield accuracy. There are also some who believe he is a system quarterback, much like Tim Tebow coming out of college.

    Is he better than Tebow right now? Absolutely not.

    Moore's arm strength isn't as good. Both quarterbacks struggle with their accuracy. Moore lacks deep accuracy due to a poor arm. Tebow's accuracy dips due to his desire to avoid turnovers. Tebow's inspiration, toughness, in-game experience at the NFL level and leadership give him an edge over Moore.

Case Keenum

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    5,631 yards, 48 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.

    That's one season for Houston quarterback Case Keenum.

    In 2011, he also earned a QB rating of 174 and completed 71 percent of his passes. His accuracy is one of, if not the biggest asset Keenum possesses.

    Like Kellen Moore, though, Keenum lacks ideal size. Fortunately for him, height doesn't factor into whether he is better than Tim Tebow right now.

    What hurts Keenum the most is Houston is in Conference USA. Leading his team to a one-loss season is impressive, but dramatically dips in impressiveness when you factor in his opponents.

    So, is he better than Tebow right now? No.

    Conference USA is no NFL, so Tebow has two years on him there. Keenum has a more accurate arm, but not a more powerful arm. Keenum benefited from a system in college and some question his durability. Therefore, Tebow wins in athleticism as well.

Russell Wilson

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    Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson made plays in 2011 with his arm and legs.

    Wilson threw for more than 3,000 yards while rushing for an additional 300. He also accounted for  a combined 38 touchdowns.

    Wilson, like Tim Tebow, throws well on the move. But his short stature for a quarterback (5'10'') is seen as a huge (no pun intended) con.

    Regardless, Wilson's arm strength garnered him a spot as a prospect for the Colorado Rockies baseball organization. His awareness is superb as well. Wilson has shown the ability to make plays even after protection breaks down.

    He has arm strength and the ability to keep plays alive, which sounds like Tebow.

    Is  Wilson better than Tebow right now? Close, but no, at least not right now.

    The only aspect of Tebow's game that gives him an edge on Wilson is big-game management at the professional level. But Wilson could certainly be as good as Tebow with a few years of experience.

Brock Osweiler

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    Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler is a towering 6'8'' athlete. With his size comes a powerful arm.

    Though Osweiler didn't break out until 2011, he did throw for more than 4,000 yards with 23 touchdowns. One negative from that campaign was his  2-1 ratio of touchdowns to interceptions.

    Osweiler has only played in 25 college games, starting just 15. You have to wonder if he's had enough time to develop his leadership and game-management skills. His career 63.8 completion percentage,  though not bad, certainly isn't jaw-dropping.

    Is he better than Tim Tebow right now? No.

Kirk Cousins

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    Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins recently impressed Senior Bowl scouts with his exceptional accuracy all over the field.

    While Cousins is touted for his leadership skills, Pro Football Weekly described Cousins as "resembling Alex Smith."

    To the everyday football fan, that means his arm is decent and his game-management skills are average. In other words, he's serviceable, but not elite. Tim Tebow isn't either.

    An average arm is his downfall. But he is displaying impressive talent as of late, showing improved accuracy.

    So is he better than Tim Tebow right now? It's very close.

    I'm giving Tebow the nod, only because of his experience. Otherwise, Cousins is more accurate even with an "average" arm. And he already has proven his leadership skills.

Nick Foles

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    According to CBSSports.com, Arizona quarterback Nick Foles possesses fantastic pocket presence and an above-average arm in terms of strength and accuracy.

    The same source compares Foles to Chad Henne, stating Foles lacks speedy decision-making and has poor throwing mechanics.

    His leadership skills can be called into question as well. In 2011, Foles led the Wildcats to a 4-8 record. Foles missed time in 2010 and 2011 due to rib and knee injuries.

    Is he better than Tim Tebow right now? No.

    The two sound very similar, but Tebow has the speed, leadership and toughness that edges out Foles.

Brandon Weeden

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    Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden's stock is hurt by his age (28). But we're talking about talent alone today, so the long-term effect of Weeden's age is a non-factor for this discussion.

    You also have to wonder how much of Weeden's superb season can be attributed to wide receiver Justin Blackmon.

    Ultimately ,his technique, accuracy and arm strength are all above average. He's been discussed as one of the most NFL-ready quarterbacks in the 2012 NFL Draft.

    Is he better than Tim Tebow right now? No, but he's only slightly below.

    He has the maturity already. He's not flashy, but he also didn't have to be. Weeden did everything he was asked to do: take the snap, make simple reads and hit the easy target. His arm may not be as strong as Tebow's, but he makes up for it in accuracy.

    Where Tebow beats Weeden is in big-game ability. I have doubts that Weeden can continue to make big plays when the pocket collapses.

Ryan Tannehill

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    There isn't much Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill doesn't do well.

    Sporting News touted Tannehill for his awareness in the pocket, athleticism and accuracy.

    NFL.com's Bucky Brooks compared Tannehill to the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton, identifying Tannehill as potentially better than Robert Griffin III.

    Where Ryan Tannehill lacks is his time as a leader. While he possesses excellent accuracy in the short passing game, he doesn't deliver the ball deep  with as much skill.

    Still, ESPN's Todd McShay believes Tannehill is a good candidate to compete for the starting position in Denver.

    But is he better than Tim Tebow right now? I'm going to say it's a tie.

    Tebow wins in strength and leadership. Tannehill wins in accuracy and pocket poise. They're equal in the ability to make a play with their speed should they have to.

Robert Griffin III

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    I'm going to go ahead and skip straight to the question and answer.

    Question: Is Robert Griffin III better than Tim Tebow right now?

    Answer: Right now, they're the exact same player.

    Both are mobile and both make plays with their legs. Both players show insane amounts of determination.

    Tebow proved he could play for a D-1 school, he could win a Heisman and he could be a first-round draft pick. Griffin proved he could win a Heisman at Baylor University. He's likely to be a top-five pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

    Both quarterbacks have phenomenal athleticism. Both have impressive throwing strength.

    Yes, Tebow seems to be indecisive now in a system asking him to run more options than passing plays. But Griffin could face the same thing. If other teams believe Denver's system is working, Griffin will certainly be asked to do the same type of things.

    Right now, they're the same. Will Griffin be better long-term? That he is as talented already as a quarterback entering his third year provides the answer to that question.

Andrew Luck

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    It would be difficult even as a die-hard Tim Tebow supporter to claim Tebow is better than Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

    Former Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh put it best when he said Luck has "the speed, the strength, the courage and the will."

    Tebow has each of those tangibles as well.

    But where Luck ultimately jumps Tebow is in his preparedness for the NFL. Luck is ready right now. Tebow, entering his third year, still isn't quite there.

    With Luck, we're talking about a guy who the Indianapolis Colts want to draft whether Peyton Manning is healthy or not.

    Luck already has bypassed Tebow in comparisons and now draws comparisons to John Elway.