2011 NFL Draft: To Tebow or Not to Tebow, for the Broncos That's the Question

Rob GregoryCorrespondent IIApril 9, 2011

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - MARCH 05: In this handout photo provided by Disney Parks,  Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow attends 'ESPN The Weekend' on March 05, 2011 at Disney's Hollywood Studios Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Scott Miller/Disney Parks via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

Bleacher Report has recently been flooded with well-written, and well-reasoned, arguments for and against Tim Tebow.

Because of comments made by John Elway and John Fox, fans of the Denver Broncos cannot be sure who will be their starting quarterback next year. It could be Tebow. Then again, it could be Kyle Orton. It might also be a rookie coming out of this year’s draft.

This article, I will state upfront, sets out to be pro-Tebow. Tebow is the best choice for the Denver Broncos in 2011. I don’t believe this because of what Tim Tebow did at the University of Florida, however special it was, nor is it because of how well Tebow projects himself outside of football. It’s because, in John Elway’s own words, Tebow is a good football player, and because he does have enough potential to be a great quarterback in the NFL.

Argument #1: Tim Tebow is not as good as Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, or even Colin Kaepernick.

I disagree. The argument against Tebow has always been that he is an outstanding athlete, with wonderful intangibles, but not a quarterback’s quarterback, whatever that means.

Experts cite his slow delivery and poor overall mechanics. Cam Newton is said to be high on everything but the intangibles, and he has the potential to be something very special in the NFL. Gabbert may be the best pure passer in the draft. He showed tremendous accuracy with the deep ball at his pro day, and he could, and we have to stress could, be of the Matt Ryan and Sam Bradford mold. Locker, Ponder and Kaepernick are equally intriguing for their potential to be great quarterbacks at the next level, but they seem to have more flaws than Newton and Gabbert, meaning that the Broncos could nab one of these guys after first drafting one or more defensive players.

Here’s the biggest reason to not draft any of these quarterback with the intent to replace Tebow: Until these guys play their first snap in the NFL, we can only make educated guesses on what kind of quarterback they will be. Remember that Joey Harrington had all the physical tools to be a great NFL quarterback when the Detroit Lions drafted him, but in the end the game just seemed to be too big for him.

Great college quarterbacks fail at the next level for a multitude of reasons, including lack of effort and desire, or having the “system quarterback” label put on them after the fact. However, thanks to a train-wreck of a 2010 season, and some poor play and injuries endured by Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow was able to show us what he might be. And for the moment let’s not focus on statistics, which were actually quite favorable for a rookie quarterback on a very bad team, because what we can take away is this: Tim Tebow plays hard and inspires teammates, fights for every yard, has a wonderful knack for finding the end-zone, and quite frankly, the guys showed that he belongs in the NFL.

The game is not too big for him. That is a lot more evidence in favor of Tim Tebow, and not for a quarterback who has not played a single down of NFL football.   


Argument #2: Tebow was McDaniels’ guy, and John Elway doesn’t seem to think that Tebow is the answer.

Again, I cannot agree with this statement. Let’s not forget that John Elway is a legend around here for what he did on the football field, not off of it, so even if he were to believe that Tebow isn’t the answer at quarterback, we cannot assume that his assessment is somehow unquestionable truth because he is John Elway.

I should also note that I disagree with the premise that John Elway doesn’t believe Tim Tebow can be the guy, and I also wish Elway continued success in this new capacity with the Broncos. I’m a fan, after all. But from what I have read recently, there seems to be a wide-spread belief that Tebow is being counted out in Denver, that he is too much of a project, and that he will never be an elite quarterback for the Broncos.

Wrong, wrong and wrong.

I have a hunch, and I don’t even need to research this, but I’m thinking that Tim Tebow is currently training very hard to be the Denver Broncos quarterback next year, even under a lockout, because that is what he does. He tries to out-work everyone else.

Secondly, Tim Tebow has a huge head start on possible drafted quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert. He has been working on his throwing motion and mechanics since well before he was drafted, and let’s also not forget that John Fox brought back Mike McCoy, this time as a true offensive coordinator, specifically to continue developing Tebow. That act alone can serve as proof that the Broncos are interested in helping Tebow go from a great football player to a great NFL quarterback. Having said this, the Broncos may still use a draft pick, maybe in the mid to late rounds, on a quarterback.

Considering what Kyle Orton is owed next year, if he is brought back, and also considering that Brady Quinn is arguably third-string quarterback material, the Broncos can draft someone to compete with Tim Tebow and to possibly replace Orton and Quinn.


Argument #3: Tebow had a wonderful college career, but he won’t be a great quarterback for the Denver Broncos.

Not true. I hate to play the role of overly idealistic fan, but that’s what I’m about to do. I cannot guarantee anything—I don't have the know how to read the squiggly lines on your palms, they just look like lines to me—but I do know the impression that Tebow left on me after those last few games of the 2010 season. Up until that point, I was disillusioned, and almost completely disinterested in watching the Kyle Orton-led Broncos, though I still watched.

Tebow brought a new energy, excitement and hope, almost immediately. I believe that fellow fans would agree that Tebow just seemed to possess “it.” The Broncos looked like a much different team with Tebow as the starter, even with a glaring lack of talent at many positions. Tebow played with remarkable poise, something guys like Tom Brady are known for, and I would even liken him to a general that was outnumbered and outmatched in every way, yet because of personal determination and incredible tact, there was always hope.

I cannot perfectly make my case for Tebow against everyone else, because, really, its not about the numbers or the mechanics or even the intangibles. Its just something else.

That something is what the Broncos organization and fans should keep in mind when all these other names are tossed about—Cam and Blaine and Colin and so on. Don’t forget Tim. They say that the only thing certain is death and taxes, true, but we can make educated guesses based on historical precedence. Let’s not forget that at the end of a very gloomy 2010 season for the Denver Broncos, we finally had hope.