It's NFL Draft Day. Tebow Draft Day.
Today has been a long time coming? I think people started talking about Tebow's NFL potential during the Heisman season in 2007 -- I recall at least one pundit talking him up as a No. 1 overall pick.
After Tebow's junior year -- when he contemplated coming out -- the Kiper school ruled: "Whah! 3rd rounder! Whah!" Between that and the massive platform Tebow would have by returning to college as the biggest rock star in college sports history, it was a non-issue.
Even during Tebow's senior year, the doubters were chirping louder than the boosters (like NFL.com's Gil Brandt, who to his credit, has been saying Tebow is a 1st-rounder all along). The doubters had a field day at the Senior Bowl.
But the draft process is a long one, and impacted by more -- a lot more -- than a bearish draftnik's "grade." Potential matters. Momentum matters. In Tebow's case, what made the biggest difference was his improvement, on two levels.
First was his willingness to improve. It would support a team saying, "If we let our coaches work with him, will he take the direction?"
Second was the actual improvement. Even Tebow would agree that his mechanics needed work. And the whole "2.0" thing -- the personal camping with a bevy of experts -- paid off: His mechanics DID improve.
The point I make is this: If his mechanics could improve that much in 6-8 weeks, imagine how much his NFL-level QB skills will improve with 18-24 months (or even, like Aaron Rodgers, 24-36 months) of coaching and study and repetition and work and practice.
And it was that narrative that took hold -- that combined with his physical tools and, yes, his "intangibles" -- to catapult him from the McShay/Kiper now-ludicrous opening bid of "3rd round" to the conventional wisdom of "2nd round" to today's presumption: 1st round.
Consider that for a moment: On Draft Day -- the only day that matters in this whole process -- the default presumption is that Tebow will be a 1st-round pick, either to the Vikings at No. 30 or to a more desperate team like the Bills that will trade up into the 20s.
In fact, we are now in a place that I think Tebow would be comfortable with: Winning time, where winning is that exclusive label: "NFL 1st-round pick."
Let's be clear: If Tebow isn't a 1st-round pick, it will be a disappointment (although it will make the 2nd round extremely interesting).
But the expectation -- the expectation -- is 1st round.
Much much more throughout the day -- and night!