I would like everyone to go back to the launch of this blog back in July, when I said that Tim Tebow's draft status would be the biggest story in the NFL offseason and a lot of people mocked me.
Currently leading the front page of ESPN.com is a massive package all about where Tebow might get drafted, featuring extensive team-by-team analysis by all 8 of ESPN.com's divisional NFL bloggers. Given that it is March 2, this is an epic package that supports the theory that Tebow's draft status isn't just the biggest NFL story of the spring... but the biggest sports story, period:
My biggest issue with their team-by-team analysis of where Tebow might land is that they don't actually rank any team as having a "high" chance of taking him -- the tops is "medium" (Redskins, 49ers, Rams, Lions, Packers, Vikings, Bills, Pats, Broncos, Raiders). That seems like a lot of teams.
They also list the Jaguars as "low," which I think couldn't be more wrong -- and to suggest that they won't let the marketing department make their pick for them is misguided; replace "marketing department" with "owner," and I'll tell you who wins that battle. It should at least be "medium."
There are a bunch of teams listed as "no chance" that feel awkward -- the analysts seem to base their decision around whether Tebow would step in and start immediately, rather than projecting him as a capable back-up and special-situation QB for a few seasons before taking over. You know: The standard model for QBs selected in the draft.
Mostly, my issue is that they don't distinguish between a team using a 1st-round pick on Tebow and a team using a 2nd-round pick on Tebow. And some of the team-by-team analysis puts Tebow on a team's radar beyond the 2nd round; he isn't lasting that long.
I go back to my original theory: Tebow's stock isn't going down from here; it will only go up. Even after the Senior Bowl, there was no way he was lasting past the mid-2nd round. Now layer in his "revamping" mechanics, his stellar Combine workouts, his terrific interviews. Stock: Up.
Wait until his Pro Day, when he looks so much better than he did in Mobile. Then watch the jockeying between March 17 and the first day of the Draft -- if he falls through the 1st round, he could be the 1st pick of the 2nd round the next day. Again: His stock is only going up, no matter how much it might drive the draftniks crazy.
The entire thing is worth your time -- I don't agree with a bunch of the theories being thrown out there, but they are interesting for their own sake. I really do think that the vast majority of sports media are completely mis-reading both the market for Tebow and the opportunity for his success, both in the short- and long-term. (Consider that these are the same folks who were taken by complete surprise when the Wildcat was imported from college to the NFL; imagination isn't their strong suit. Adhering to orthodoxy is.)
UPDATE: By the way, 62 percent of fans on ESPN.com think Tebow is drafted by the end of the 2nd round. Again: It doesn't matter where Todd McShay GRADES Tebow; it only matters where Tebow is actually drafted.