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Tebow a first-rounder after all

4/23/2010

After all the scrutiny, all the talk about what he couldn't do and all the gloomy predictions about his NFL future, what do you know?

Tim Tebow was drafted in the first round.

Maybe performance does count for something. Perhaps the will to win, the way you impact your teammates and lead in the locker room are all intangibles the NFL is looking for.

And just maybe, the Denver Broncos decided that if Tebow could put up the kind of numbers he did in the SEC and win as many games as he did against some of the best talent in college football, then he was well worth a first-round selection.

We were reminded Thursday night that in the realm of the NFL draft, it only takes one team to like you. Who knows where Tebow might have gone had the Broncos not decided that he was their guy?

What's more, the fact that Tebow was drafted in the first round doesn't validate him as legitimate NFL quarterback. He still has to go out and prove it like everybody else. There are already plenty of people lining up and predicting that he will be a bust.

It's worth noting that many of those same people were predicting that he had no prayer to be taken in the first round.

Hey, with Tebow (and I don't mean this as a pun), there's always a prayer.

I said all last season that I thought he had a chance to go in the first round ... and took some grief for it.

You simply don't watch a guy carve up defenses the way he did for three seasons in the SEC and think he has no chance at the next level. And here's the other thing: He's the ultimate third-down player near the goal line and in short-yardage situations, and that's something every team covets.

One SEC head coach I talked to recently said he thought somebody would invest a late first-round or early second-round pick in Tebow, but that head coach also predicted that the first three or four years could be rough ones for the former Florida star as he learned to read NFL defenses and operate under center.

But once that light comes on for Tebow, and this head coach said it surely would with his smarts and incredible will to succeed, then he predicted that Tebow would end up being a successful NFL quarterback for many years.

I see a similar path for the guy who re-wrote the SEC record books.

And I'll leave with you something Bill Parcells used to always say.

Quarterbacks have a lot of jobs. But the most important job of the quarterback is, has and always will be to get a team into the end zone.

Tebow does that as well as anybody.