2010 NFL Draft: Tim Tebow: Bust? Best? Why Can't He Be Somewhere in the Middle?

Jay HendryCorrespondent IApril 23, 2010

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 11:  Quaterback Tim Tebow #7 of the Florida Gators stands onstage before the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Gatorade Duel at Daytona International Speedway on February 11, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Sam Bradford may have gone first overall in the draft, but you may not remember that.  Ndamukong Suh may have been the best talent overall, but he won't grab headlines anywhere but Detroit.

No, this was Tebow's draft. With the 25th pick, the Denver Broncos laid to rest a question that has been asked since Tebow accepted the Heisman in 2007, "Is this guy a first-rounder?"

Indeed, he is.

Tebow went from celebrated recruit, to Gainesville legend, to all-time best college athlete candidate and mega-celebrity in his four years for the Gators. However, all of his accomplishments have only served to heighten his detractors' voices.

Every area of his game that needed work became a black hole where NFL success would go to die. Sub–par Wonderlic score? Bust. Elongated throwing motion? Bust. Lack of evidence that he could play out of a pro set? Bust.

Never mind that the first one doesn't matter at all, the second one is being revamped, and the third one is an absence of evidence on both sides, those who doubt Tebow have made up their minds and there's nothing on earth that will change them.

On the other side of the argument, there's absolute Tebow–mania. Plenty of people are positive that he's already booked his trip to Canton. 

This side glosses right over the negatives, remembering the time he hit Riley Cooper deep in the SEC Championship game, but not the time he threw two pick–sixes against Mississippi State.

The Tebow–maniacs are as adamant about Tebow being great as the detractors are about him sucking. Strangely enough, these seem to be his only two choices.

He's either Peyton Manning or JaMarcus Russell. Why is it that Tebow can't be Eli Manning, Chad Pennington, or Carson Palmer?

All of those guys are first-rounders. Four of them were the top pick for their draft. Peyton is clearly the best selection. Russell is the worst. Eli, Chad, and Carson are all decent QBs. 

You wouldn't call them busts, unless you're holding them to John Elway/Peyton Manning standards. At the very least, you wouldn't call Pennington a bust. 

No, all three are serviceable quarterbacks, who will never be the top dog in the league. They all were drafted higher than Tebow, yet somehow, Tebow's expectations are higher. 

He has to come in, start, and win immediately or else why did Denver pick him, right?  25th picks are big dogs, right? 

I mean look at the guys who were taken 25th in the last ten years: Vontae Davis, Mike Jenkins, John Beason, Santonio Holmes, Jason Campbell, Ahmad Carroll, William Joseph, Charles Grant, Freddie Mitchell, and Chris Hovan.

That list just screams "EXPECTATIONS!!!!" doesn't it?  No?

Holmes is the standout here (although he's not exactly a top-five receiver). Hovan's had a good career, and Beason has looked good so far. The rest are guys who have been good-to-mediocre, except for Freddie Mitchell, who was absolute garbage.

They're not a collection of Pro–Bowlers, they're role players who have played their roles for a decent number of years.

So where is this big bust talk coming from? Denver didn't trade up to eighth pick to get Derrick Harvey. Twenty–fifth isn't a can't miss spot in the draft. Tebow's an early second-rounder who sneaked into the late first round.

If he falls flat on his face after three years and is out of the league, then yeah, he's a bust.  If he's competing with Manning and Brees for quarterback titles, then he was severely underrated. 

If neither scenario plays out, then he's just another NFL quarterback, which is exactly what you should expect out of a 25th pick.


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