Andrew Luck's Decision to Stay at Stanford Solidifies Tim Tebow's Future

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2011

DENVER - DECEMBER 26:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos rolls out and looks to deliver a pass against the Houston Texas at INVESCO Field at Mile High on December 26, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Texans 24-23.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Andrew Luck has decided to remain a Stanford Cardinal for another year. He's basically turned down millions of dollars, as he almost certainly would have been the top overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

Luck's decision will have wide-ranging effects across both college and professional football.

The effect this will have on college football is obvious. His return to Stanford will not only make them contenders for a Pac-10 title, but also a legitimate BCS championship threat.

As for the impact this will have on the NFL, I can think of a couple quarterbacks who may be enjoying a big sigh of relief this morning.

Jimmy Clausen of the Carolina Panthers and Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos, may not be set in stone as the quarterbacks of the future for their respective franchises, but taking Luck out of the equation increases their chances of becoming franchise quarterbacks.

Prior to this morning, almost everyone predicting the picks in the upcoming draft had the Panthers selecting Luck and essentially calling it quits on the Jimmy Clausen experiment. While Carolina may still select a quarterback with the first overall pick, the chances of that happening are significantly slimmer.

In regards to Tebow, new Broncos executive John Elway has not made it any kind of secret that he is a big fan of Andrew Luck. He went as far as to say that the Broncos would definitely consider taking Luck with the second overall selection if Carolina passed on him.

With Luck's announcement that he'll be staying at Stanford, all that talk can be put to rest. Tim Tebow no longer has to worry about Denver drafting another quarterback to compete for the starting job, and he will now have the reins of the offense placed in his hands for at least next season.

The Broncos will likely focus much of their attention on improving the team's defense and finding a coach that will be able to continue and maybe even accelerate the development of Tebow.

The rookie quarterback played much better than most experts anticipated in his three starts this season. He completed 40 of 81 passes for 651 yards and four touchdowns.  

The fans, and more importantly the team, looked much more energized and excited under Tebow than they had under Kyle Orton during his last several starts.

If the Broncos can manage to improve their defense through the draft, free agency and the possible trading of Orton, they could be serious contenders for next year's AFC West crown.

Considering how much better Tebow got over the course of his rookie season, the chances of him becoming a great quarterback are looking much stronger.

A lot of people will still be looking for Tebow to fail, but a lot of the things the "experts" were worried about appear to be less of a problem than they anticipated.

The biggest knock we've heard on Tebow (it's been hammered down our throats for over a year now) is that he can't throw at this level.  His throwing motion cannot work in the NFL, there's no possible way.  At least, that's what we've been told.

For those of you who watched the Broncos last two games, you know that all that fodder we were fed by Todd McShay and others, might not be as concrete as they made it seem.  He completed several passes way downfield, something many were convinced he was incapable of.

Another constant criticism of Tebow dealt with his instincts.  They aren't great right now, but nobody is granting Tebow the same learning curve that they give to other rookie quarterbacks.

He may give into his instinct to run a little too much now, but we've seen that he is capable of making some big plays with his feet (another thing many experts said he wouldn't be able to do at this level).

If the Broncos can find a coach who's willing to invest in Tebow's potential, he may very well become a great NFL quarterback.

If Andrew Luck had decided to enter the NFL Draft this year, he could have been the quarterback of the Panthers or Broncos.  I, for one, am glad that he's headed back to Standford and that it's looking more and more like Tim Tebow may be set as the Broncos next franchise quarterback.