2010 NFL Draft: Where Does Tim Tebow Fit Into The Panthers' Draft Plans?

Sydney HunteContributor IIJanuary 30, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 01:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Florida Gators celebrates after defeating the Cincinnati Bearcats 24-51 during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisana Superdome on January 1, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Tim Tebow. 
The name makes ears perk up all around the nation. Rarely has a draft prospect been anticipated the way he has. 
He has definitely been a winner. The Heisman Trophy he won back in 2007 fits along nicely with his two national championships from 2007 and 2009.

But where does he fit into the Panthers’ plans for the 2010 NFL Draft?

Tebow’s leadership skills and his capability as a dual-threat quarterback have garnered him praise and led many to believe that he has a high upside. However, despite his Heisman and two national titles, the Florida star gained some skepticism in the national press.

He was ranked fourth at his position by ESPN (behind Jimmy Clausen, Sam Bradford, and Colt McCoy)—and possibly for good reason, since his 2009 numbers were not overly impressive. One of his biggest critics has been ESPN’s Todd McShay, who did not feel Tebow was ready for the NFL, after watching him in Senior Bowl practice.

For Carolina, whose quarterback situation may be up in the air, Tebow may be worth taking a chance on. Jake Delhomme appears to be in the twilight of his career and Matt Moore was good but not great after Delhomme went down due to injury in 2009.

With Delhomme possibly back in the fold for 2010, the Panthers may feel that having Tebow as a backup or third-string option will make the transition easier should next season be Delhomme’s last in a Carolina uniform. (Keep in mind, though, that he will have three years left in the deal he signed before this season).

It all depends on Tebow’s development. If he pans out, the team will be set at that position for years to come upon Delhomme’s departure, and even more so if Moore improves. If not, and Moore turns out to be just a one-year wonder or gets injured, the Panthers will be in trouble.

If the Panthers are really set on Tebow, they will pick him with their initial selection in the second round (48th overall)—but they could also fill another need and hope that he falls to them in the third. Mushin Muhammad will turn 36 this offseason and is currently unsigned, but wants to return—in any event, the Panthers could look to draft a wide receiver for the future, as a complement for Steve Smith.

LSU’s Brandon LaFell has been a name floated out there as a possible pick for Carolina at that position. Then, even if Tebow is not around in the third round, Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour—a very strong-rated player with a excellent mid-major program—would very well be an option for them.

Will Tim Tebow be Carolina bound in 2010? It remains to be seen. But the speculation of his whereabouts will continue all the way up to April 22.