Sunday, March 28, 2010

NFL Tebow: Intrigued By "Challenge?"

Interesting thesis by Florio over at PFT about how a team might reach for Tim Tebow at the back of Round 1 or the beginning of Round 2 of the NFL Draft because they want to be the one to turn him from project into a capable player -- even a star.

I continue to find it interesting that people think it's some kind of reach that Tebow will go at the back of Round 1 or the start of Round 2. That's exactly where I've said he'll go, for months.

What folks seem to discount -- continually (and I'm not talking about PFT specifically, but every draftnik or "info guy" or expert) -- is what an exceptional case this is with Tebow.

Tebow's situation is unprecedented in the history of the NFL or NFL Draft: Not just the most successful but the most popular player in college football history, a player whose college stats indicate future NFL success, a player who has more interest in him than any draft prospect ever.

As we get closer to the Draft, I will go back through the brief history of Tebow's draft stock. But he was ALWAYS going to end up at the end of Round 1 or the beginning of Round 2. Even after the Senior Bowl. That's the nature of his draft stock: Only going up.

Someone will take a chance, particularly after they see the progress he has made after just a few weeks of intensive workouts -- presumably just a fraction of the development time he will have following being drafted.

Part of the psychology of that draft stock always rising is that a team thinks it can be the one to "turn" him. But part of it is that there is a team that thinks he will be fine -- no "turning" necessary. Part of it is that they see how he can contribute in all sorts of innovative ways.

Part of it is that, suddenly, the QB draft class looks mediocre -- taking a "risk" on Tebow isn't any bigger than risking it on Clausen or McCoy or even gimpy-shouldered Bradford. And next season -- beyond Jake Locker and, perhaps, John Brantley -- the class looks pretty thin, too. And so all of a sudden, giving Tebow 2 years to develop doesn't seem so risky.

And, yes, part of it is a team recognizing that Tebow brings an unprecedented level of fanatic following to the team.

I just don't get why everyone is so surprised that his stock is rising.

Perhaps the most exceptional thing about Tebow is the way that he has absolutely defied the bearish pronouncements of the draftnik-industrial complex.

Again: Tebow's draft stock is not going to drop. Period. At worst, he is a top-of-the-2nd-round pick. And, based on his current trajectory, being picked in the 1st round is not out of the question at all.

Folks should stop talking about it like it is some kind of shock or surprise.

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