In most years leading up to the NFL Draft, there are a few players that are the subject of a little bit of controversy about their draft status. Usually it's concerning a guy that didn't have a whole lot of production in his college career, but put together an amazing off-season or Combine or Pro Day and is now rocketing up the draft boards because they "look like a football player." (See also: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Troy Williamson, and a host of others). But this year, we have quite the opposite problem, and it's a controversy that the Minnesota Vikings could potentially find themselves right in the middle of.
Honestly, you'd have to be a fool of a pretty significant order to deny Tim Tebow's college production. He was a part of two national championship teams, won a Heisman Trophy, the only sophomore ever to do so (and was a finalist two other times), two Maxwell Awards (one of only two people to win it twice), and was the first player in NCAA history to produce at least 20 passing touchdowns AND 20 rushing touchdowns in the same season when he did it in 2007. I'd list his SEC and University of Florida records, but hey. . .I have to think of SBNation's bandwidth here.
But, as we all know, none of that means a darn thing at the next level. The road to NFL stardom is littered with guys that were great in college and terrible in the pros. And after the practices in Mobile for the Senior Bowl, as well as the actual Senior Bowl itself, many folks were wondering out loud if Tebow was worth drafting in the first three rounds of this year's selection meeting, or if he'd have to switch positions at the next level to being an H-back or a tight end or something along those lines. Even after his Pro Day in Gainesville, there is still a lot of fluctuation as to where the man that was, arguably, the greatest quarterback in college football history will be drafted.
To be honest, I wouldn't be sad at all to see the Vikings draft Tim Tebow. . .and here's why.
The Vikings are in sort of a strange position in this year's draft as far as what they need, how the draft boards are stacking up at those positions of need, and how many roster spots they actually have available to them. As I detailed the other day, there probably aren't a lot of spots that are actually open on the Vikings' roster, dependent upon how people recover from injuries and things of that nature. But one of the spots that should be open is one for a long-term solution at quarterback. With Brett Favre coming back in 2010. . .and he IS totally coming back, if you haven't heard us mention it already. . .there needs to be something better than Sage Rosenfels or Tarvaris Jackson in the wings for 2011 and beyond.
Now, we've heard the myriad of problems with Tebow ad nauseum over the course of the past couple of months. His release is too slow, he's not accurate enough, he can't read defenses, he didn't play in a pro-style offense. . .on and on and on. And I'll admit that as of this very moment on 20 March 2010, all of those things are true. And if we were expecting Tebow to step into the Vikings' offense and be the starter and take us to the promised land right away, then those things would be serious issues.
But we wouldn't be.
Even IF we don't have Brett Favre in 2010. . .and did I mention that he's totally coming back? Because he is, but anyway. . .Tebow still wouldn't be more than the third-string quarterback in 2010. Heck, he might not be active for a single game all season. And I might come off sounding like an ESPN-bot here or something. . .but all of Tebow's current problems are coachable. Throwing mechanics are coachable, and Tebow has already started correcting his throwing motion, to positive reviews. Footwoork is coachable, reading defenses is coachable, and many of the other negatives we've heard about him to this point fall under that heading as well.
But there are lots of things to like about Tebow that don't need to be coached. First of all, the guy has every intangible that you'd ever want. Yeah, people might want to knock him because he's not afraid to express his religious beliefs. To me, that seems to be the reason why it appears to be "cool" to dislike Tim Tebow. Personally, while I believe in the existence of a higher power, I'm not really what you'd call a "practicing" Christian. But if Tim Tebow believes that firmly in his religion and his faith, who the heck am I to judge that? Seriously? And think about this. . .what are the odds we're going to hear about him being on a boat in the middle of Lake Minnetonka with a bunch of hookers, or snorting lines of blow off of a cheerleader's rear end? I'd have to say that they're relatively low.
Also, the guy is big and fast, having been measured at 6'3", 240 and running a 4.7 40-yard dash. He also put together a 3.5 GPA at Florida, which tells me that he's pretty smart, too. I don't buy into his "low" Wonderlic score of 22 (allegedly, since those things aren't supposed to be released). . .after all, some guy named Dan Marino scored a 13 on his Wonderlic test, and he turned out okay. Heck, 22 is exactly what Brett Favre scored on his Wonderlic, and he seems to have done alright for himself, too. . .he was smart enough to get the heck out of Green Bay, in any event. On top of that, the guy has already shown a willingness to work his butt off and make himself better despite the career he had in college. He's not a diva that's expecting the world of the NFL to be handed to him on a platter or anything. He's also been an outstanding leader throughout his college career, and really has a good head on his shoulders for someone that's accomplished as much as he has to this point in his life.
Now, would I take the Vikings' first round pick, #30 overall, and use it on Tim Tebow? On that front, I can give you a firm. . .I don't know. The Vikings have some other needs, particularly in the secondary and possibly the offensive line, but you'd have to wonder if a guy like Tebow would be around by the time the draft got to #62 overall, which is where the Vikings would select next, barring a trade up for somebody. In my opinion, the only quarterbacks that have shown themselves to be first round picks so far are Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen, and the Vikings won't have any shot at either of those two guys. I think Tebow is in the same grouping as guys like Colt McCoy (who I'm not enamored with at all), Tony Pike (who I do like quite a bit), and possibly Jarrett Brown.
But I think that Tim Tebow is definitely worth the Vikings' second-round pick in this year's draft. What do you all think?