|Five thoughts on the Patriots’ (alleged) courtship of Tim Tebow||12.15.11 at 10:21 pm ET|
FOXBORO — While we count down to the inevitable clash between the Patriots and Broncos, here are five thoughts on New England’s courtship of Tim Tebow in 2010:
1. Let’s assume for the sake of this discussion that the Patriots could have found some way to take him in the mid to late 20s. (He ended up going 25th overall to Denver, while New England ended up taking cornerback Devin McCourty at No. 27.) Frankly, the idea of Tebow in New England sparks more questions than answers, and opens the possibility he could have become Michael Bishop for a whole new generation of Patriots fans. (Google the name, youngsters. We’ll be here when you get back.) Would the Patriots think about using him in a nontraditional fashion? Could be he anything more than a backup quarterback to Tom Brady? And how would have his selection affected what New England did in the rest of the 2010 draft and the entire 2011 process? First and foremost, if they had gone with Tebow in 2010, the positional battle at backup quarterback between Brian Hoyer and Tebow would have given plenty of Patriots fans plenty to chew on. (Considering that Hoyer’s contract is up after this season, if they did take Tebow back in 2010, it’s conceivable that New England could have been moving into the 2013 season with a quarterbacking tandem of Brady and Tebow.)
2. There’s always the possibility that Belichick, while being genuinely intrigued about Tebow as a possible offensive Swiss Army Knife, was more interested in a doing a favor for a friend in Florida coach Urban Meyer. Belichick and Meyer are very tight off the field, and the coach certainly wouldn’t be above helping out a pal whose quarterback needed a pre-draft spike. A sitdown between Belichick and Tebow was guaranteed to get tongues wagging around the league, and the Patriots weren’t exactly clandestine when it came to this affair. (Think to yourself: When’s the last time you saw the Patriots do something like this so out in the open? Agents have told me that the team has cancelled workouts with possible prospects because the news was leaked to the media. Taking someone like that to Tresca in the North End is a guarantee people will find out about it … even before the dinner is over.) If the Patriots start sniffing around a nontraditional prospect like Tebow, it’s likely that’ll draw the interest of the rest of the league. If the Patriots are interested, there must be something there. The added draft buzz from a high-profile meeting between Belichick and Tebow was enough to give Tebow’s pre-draft stock a serious bounce.
3. The guy who may have been suckered by the whole pre-draft sitdown? Belichick’s old offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who had just taken over the Broncos the year before. Not saying McDaniels and Denver were interested in Tebow just because Belichick was apparently so open in his courtship of the quarterback, but it probably didn’t hurt. McDaniels was so enamored that he ended up going all in on Tebow, dealing away three picks (a second-, third- and fourth-rounder) to make sure he would land him at No. 25. The move instantly put McDaniels’ stamp on the franchise. The ironic thing? According to Pro Football Focus, Tebow only played 213 snaps for McDaniels, making three starts at the end of the 2010 season before the Broncos canned in him favor of John Fox.
4. If the Patriots did go after Tebow in the first round, it’s unlikely they land one of the other gems they were able to pick up in the 2010 draft. If Tebow was taken in the first round by the Patriots, that would have lessened their chances of getting McCourty, Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez, three players who have already made a significant impact on the roster in less than two seasons. It would have also meant that New England would have taken a pass on selecting Ryan Mallett in the 2011 draft. The roster would look different than it does right now.
5. Despite all of this, don’t discount the idea that New England would have found some way to get him on the field. Despite the fact that Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio’s intimation this week that they were looking at Tebow strictly as a quarterback (“He was a quarterback, and that’s what we evaluated him as,” Caserio said on Tuesday), this was a franchise that turned a college quarterback in Julian Edelman into a receiver (and later, a return man and defensive back), a part-time college running back into a full-time wide receiver (David Givens), a linebacker into the most dependable red-zone tight end in NFL postseason history (Mike Vrabel) and a former college wrestling champion into an excellent offensive lineman (Stephen Neal). Something tells me they would have found a spot on offense for Tebow, even if it wasn’t under center on a regular basis.
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