It appears as though there is a lack of logic in some NFL Draft circles today. I..."/> It appears as though there is a lack of logic in some NFL Draft circles today. I..."/>

How Does Tim Tebow Compare to 2011 Quarterback Class?


It appears as though there is a lack of logic in some NFL Draft circles today. I just finished reading the latest blog post by Bill Williamson at called, “How Tebow stacks up against 2011 class,” and I have to say, I think it was a great article, but I’m going to take it even further.

“Tim Tebow is interesting because so many people have different opinions about him,” Kevin Muench said. “That’s what Denver is probably trying to figure out right now. In a lot of ways, I’d say there are a lot better options than Tebow, but then, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tim Tebow succeeds because of what kind of person and leader he is …. It’s not easy.”

Muench said Scouts Inc. had Tebow rated as a late second-round or an early third-round prospect last year. He was the fourth-rated quarterback on Scouts Inc.’s list behind Sam Bradford (who went to St. Louis at No. 1), Jimmy Clausen (No. 47, Carolina) and Colt McCoy (No. 85, Cleveland). Muench said this year’s quarterback class is much better than the 2010 class. Thus, he thinks Tebow would be a fourth-round prospect and be a similar prospect to Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor. Some teams think Taylor is best suited for another position. Last year, Kiper (and perhaps some teams did as well) looked at Tebow as an H-back prospect. Kiper’s thoughts haven’t changed.

The fact that we are mentioning Tebow and Tyrod Taylor in the same sentence–and don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Taylor–is absolutely an incredible oversight and one of the dumbest things I have ever read, until I got further down in the Williamson article, where he quotes Mel Kiper Jr.

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper still has a difficult time grading Tebow because he doesn’t think he can be a pro-style quarterback. Kiper thinks Tebow would likely be a fourth-round pick in 2011.

“I don’t think many teams would look at him in the second or third rounds,” Kiper said. “He’s not up there with Newton and Gabbert, then he’d be behind second-level guys like and Andy Dalton. Ponder is moving like crazy … I think Tebow would certainly be the fourth or fifth, sixth or seventh quarterback on teams’ boards.”


He’s not up there with Newton and Gabbert because of what? Both of those guys came from spread offenses, and neither has even close to the collegiate production of Tebow. As another analyst pointed out in Williamson’s article:

“There are football questions about Tebow, but there’s also football questions about Newton,” Horton said. “There are no intangible questions about Tebow. But there are intangibles questions about Newton.”

So–why are we even considering talking about Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert as the number one pick, but not Tim Tebow last year? All three ran the spread at college. All are effective with their feet–some even more so than with their arm. All three guys have great athleticism. What in the world gives?

You could say that Newton has a better arm than Tebow–great. So does JaMarcus Russell. Tebow saw four years of SEC defenses and dominated them consistently over four years.

Newton did it for one.

Gabbert’s numbers regressed from his sophomore to junior seasons, and while he picked apart Iowa’s defense in the Insight Bowl last year, he also made two bone-headed throws that cost Missouri the game, ultimately. Not only that, but he barely managed to put up Ricky Stanzi caliber numbers in his junior year at Mizzou, and he’s still being talked about as an elite prospect.

Perhaps the worst quote of all came from analyst Matt Williamson, who had this to say:

“I would certainly rather have Gabbert, Newton and Ponder over Tebow in that order. And there could be an argument made for the others,” Williamson said. “I would take Mallett for sure over [Tebow]. Tebow and Locker are similar — big, strong guys with suspect accuracy/passing skills, but Locker is further along coming out of school than Tebow.”

To be frank, this might be the dumbest comment on the Tebow situation that I have read to date. I have never agreed with Williamson’s evaluations, but this one is completely an oversight and a comment that should be immediately rescinded by him.

First and foremost–Tebow’s worst completion percentage in college was 64.4 percent, and the best completion percentage that Jake Locker ever had at Washington was two years ago when he completed 58.2 percent. Is their accuracy really that similar, Williamson?

Granted, Tebow’s completion percentage in the NFL wasn’t great, but he was a rookie. Compare Tebow’s first three games to that of Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen, or go back to Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and John Elway. Tell me who has better numbers. I can tell you right now, I’ve done the research, and Tebow blows them out of the water, so you can save yourself the time and energy.

Still, there was some good that came from Williamson’s article. Here are some comments from former NFL scout Gary Horton that actually provide some insight and sense to the situation.

“If it doesn’t work with Tebow, well, then you move on, but you have to see what he can do,” Horton said. “Tebow was drafted as a developmental guy. Don’t run out of patience with him before he gets a chance to develop.”

What good is getting rid of or moving on from Tebow right now? Former Carolina and St. Louis executive Tony Softli had this to say on the Tebow situation:

Softli said he had Tebow ranked as a low second-round pick last year when he was with the Rams. He said he wouldn’t draft a quarterback this year. He believes in Tebow. Softli raved about Tebow’s leadership ability, his history as a winner and his intelligence. Softli said Tebow, Matt Ryan, Bradford and Josh Freeman were the brightest quarterback prospects he’s seen in the past 10 years when it came to working on the grease board and breaking down the game.

“I understand why Denver is looking at quarterbacks — they’re doing their homework and that’s smart — but I think Tebow is going to be the guy,” Softli said. “I think the Broncos should forget about his throwing motion and just let him be who he is. His intangibles are off the charts. When it’s Tebow Time, he’ll show he’s the answer.”

At this point in reading the article, I was at least able to take a breath. If you don’t know, I was very high on Tebow before the draft last year, and rated him as my 2nd quarterback behind Sam Bradford. I thought he would be the third QB selected because some thought Jimmy Clausen was more “pro ready” than Tebow, but look how that worked out for Carolina. I wonder which one their fans would rather have right now…

You might view this as extreme, but if I were an NFL GM, I would have used a top 5 pick on Tim Tebow. I think he has the rare “it” factor, and I think while he has a lot of risk attached to him because of the offense he came from at Florida, I also think he has more upside than many of the players picked before him, at least in the long term.

There’s no denying the fact that Tebow has a lot of room to learn, but why are all of the guys in this year’s draft being projected as better professionals? They are barely even worthy to be talked about in the same sentence as Tebow as college QB’s, and now we’re saying they are head and shoulders above Tebow in the pre-draft process? Let’s look at some players’ BEST college seasons statistically, and see how it compares to Tebow’s.

Player NameYardsTDINTComp. Pct.Rush TDRATRush Yds
Tim Tebow (07)3.28632666.923172.47895
Cam Newton (10)2,85430766.120182.051.473
Blaine Gabbert (09)3,59324958.93140.45204
Ryan Mallett (10)3,869321264.74163.65-74
Christian Ponder (09)2.71714768.82147.7179
Jake Locker (09)2,800211158.27129.75388

Then, you can get into the argument of measurables, which there is no doubt Tebow has plenty of. The ideal average QB size in the NFL is probably about 6’2″-6’5″ and about 225-240 pounds.

Tim Tebow stands at 6’3″ 245.

You can see from the statistical chart above why we have Cam Newton rated as the top quarterback prospect in the draft, and why I believe he has the highest ceiling of any quarterback in this group of guys. Look at his numbers against the best defenses in the country. To me, he is the only player on this list with comparable numbers to Tim Tebow, and the only player in the entire draft with comparable numbers to Tebow over the course of 3-4 years is Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick, who had an excellent career throwing and running for the Wolfpack.

Ryan Mallett has more yards and the same number of touchdowns, but twice as many interceptions. Christian Ponder has a higher completion percentage, but more than 100 fewer throws and 18 fewer touchdowns.

To me, it’s not even a contest. Sure, Tebow has issues with the “hitch” in his throwing motion–who cares?

Cam Newton has troubles with his mechanics as well, coming from a spread offense similar to Urban Meyer’s. Blaine Gabbert has a hitch in his motion as well (which no one ever talks about), and came from a spread offense so he too has footwork issues. Ryan Mallett comes from a pro-style offense and has a rocket arm, but he has the escape-ability of a tortoise and the decision making skills of Jay Cutler.

To me, Locker and Ponder are not even comparable (to Tebow). The only player in the draft who is comparable in terms of winning and being valuable to his team is TCU’s Andy Dalton, who some have compared to Kevin Kolb. However, Dalton never threw for more than 3,000 yards or 30 touchdowns, so even he is not comparable statistically.

Again, did I miss something?

People who hate Tim Tebow are either jealous because he’s so loved and so popular, or they lack basic logic. I can’t believe I’m having to come to bat for Tebow again this offseason, because I did it all the way leading up to the 2010 NFL Draft as well, but obviously people are still having problems gripping reality.

Even the most hard-core Alabama fan has to at least tip their hat to the guy. Do you remember the stink ESPN made when one SEC coach left Tebow off of their list as the best quarterback in the conference?

What DO you look for in a quarterback prospect that you don’t have in Tebow? He was accurate in college, he has escape-ability, he has ultra-rare intangibles, he has a high winning percentage dating back to high school, he has won the Heisman twice (won more 1st place votes than Bradford in 09), he has won two national titles, his arm is strong enough that he could play professional baseball, he loves the game, he works harder than anyone on the team, and he never gets into trouble.

At 25 overall last year, the Broncos made one of the best low risk, high reward moves in recent draft memory (in my opinion) by taking Tim Tebow. What’s the percentage of 1st round picks that actually work out? Not good.

So why not take a chance on Tim Tebow?

We haven’t even gotten into the fact that Tebow impressed NFL scouts in the film room by dissecting the game and on the “grease board” as Tony Softli put it. Not only that, but he was able to impress Josh McDaniels–one of the best QB gurus in the league–to the point that he traded three valuable draft picks to move up and take him.

Again, people say Tebow had problems with accuracy in college–his worst completion percentage was 64. I don’t care if he threw a lot of short passes–those take talent as well. Have you ever seen Kyle Orton try to operate the screen game? Ask Broncos fans how much more efficient their screen game was when Tebow was lofting the passes. It’s an art form.

I will say this again and again–the notion that Tim Tebow cannot succeed in the NFL is simply rubbish. He has proven throughout his football career that he is worthy, and he showed in three NFL starts last year that he is capable and deserving of another shot in the NFL.

The Baltimore Colts were “the team that traded John Elway.” Will the Denver Broncos, and ironically Elway, be “the team that traded Tebow”?

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