2011 Combine Buzz - The Tebow Factor
Denver Bronco QB Tim Tebow
Denver Bronco QB Tim Tebow
Posted Feb 23, 2011

The buzz around the 2011 NFL Combine -The Tim Tebow situation

2011 NFL Combine Buzz

The Tebow Factor

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2011 Pre-Combine Buzz
- The Luckless quarterback class
- Cam Newton is expected to do it all
- The star defensive tackles
- All the North Carolina talent and what they'll do
- Where have all the good running backs gone?
- The lousy tight end class
- The 40 star speedster will be ...
- The three players everyone will be talking about
- The offensive tackle pecking order
- The strongest position is ...
- Da'Quan Bowers' knee
- Breaking Down the 2011 NFL Combine

2011 NFL Combine Invites & Draft Projection
- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | OG/Cs | OTs
- DEs | DTs | LBs | Ss | CBs | Ps & Ks 

There's a saying around draft time that it only takes one. It only takes one team, one coach, or one general manager to like a player and make the draft pick, and then draft status, projections, and stock become irrelevant. But what happens when the one is no longer the one?

Tim Tebow was the most polarizing, most controversial topic of discussion in the 2010 NFL Draft. Some saw Tebow as no better than a mid-round talent, while some, like Tony Dungy, saw him as a possible No. 1 overall selection. Mostly, though, the Florida icon was considered to be a project in need of seasoning and a bit of an image change. The rah-rah act wasn't expected to work in an NFL locker room full of grown men, and his running ability wasn't supposed to be a factor at the next level, but most importantly, his mechanics and throwing motion needed to undergo a radical overhaul. None of that stopped the Denver Broncos and brash head man Josh McDaniels from picking Tebow with the 25th overall pick.

McDaniels was a disaster and got canned (and was hired to tutor Sam Bradford at St. Louis), and all of a sudden, according to NFL.com's Michael Lombardi, all of those who towed the party line to support the Tebow pick are now jumping off the ship. Forgetting that Tebow came up with a strong close to the season, especially on the ground, he's still considered to be a major project who might not have the NFL skills needed to be the type of quarterback who can win a Super Bowl. And now the new regime has a very, very important decision to make.

New head coach John Fox, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, and general manager Brian Xanders aren't exactly doing cartwheels about being saddled with Tebow, and while Kyle Orton is a serviceable option, the team that was so bad last year could be in need of a franchise quarterback to develop. A real one.

So here's the dilemma. Fox wants to run a 4-3 defense and he needs more studs on the front line to do it. Fortunately for him, Denver has the No. 2 overall pick and will have at least two of the three stars in this year's draft - DE Da'Quan Bowers, DT Nick Fairley, and DT Marcell Dareus - right there for the taking to help turn around the league's worst D.  But while defensive line might be the easy, safe, and smart pick, it could come at the expense of passing up on the type of quarterback who really could be special in ways that Tebow and Orton aren't.

The problem is that any of the quarterbacks worthy of being on the radar for the No. 2 overall pick are just as risky as Tebow was. Sure, Blaine Gabbert has more polish than Tebow and looks the part, but he's still considered a bit of a work in progress and will be drafted for his potential as much as for his known talents. Cam Newton is quickly blowing up the draft boards and is by far the hottest prospect in the draft, but his mechanics are just as big a mess as Tebow's.

The Broncos could try to move down the draft and stockpile picks while taking Ryan Mallett or Jake Locker in the middle of the first round, but those two aren't exactly sure things compared to Tebow, and it'll be a tough sell to pass up a Bowers, Fairley or Dareus to take another flier on a dicey quarterback prospect. But that doesn't mean that Denver isn't going to throw up a thick smoke screen to try to screw everyone up.

Tebow might not be Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, and Orton certainly isn't anything more than a placeholder, but it's not like quarterback is the biggest issue for a team that needs about ten other pieces in place to be any sort of a threat to challenge for the whole ball of wax. At the Combine, though, the potential that a quarterback really could up going No. 2 overall will raise the stakes even higher for the passers like Newton and Locker who are going to work out, and it'll make Gabbert's workouts after Indy (he's not planning on throwing this week) that much more intriguing.

Of course, all of this means that the focus will be on Tebow. What is his worth in a trade? Is it fair to judge him after a rookie season? Is Denver going to look to make a mega-package deal like the one that sent Jay Cutler to Chicago? Is he worth developing and waiting to see what he can become? No matter what, he'll be one of the big talking points in Indianapolis for a second year in a row even though he seemingly already passed most of the early tests.