MIAMI -- It has become fashionable, ever since the Senior Bowl last month in Mobile, Ala., to tell the world where Tim Tebow can't be drafted. Most media members say he can't be drafted in the first round. All 17 uniquely qualified draft experts at ESPN say he can't be drafted on the second day. And there's even an offensive lineman with Tebow's hometown Jacksonville Jaguars, somebody named Uche Nwaneri, who says he doesn't care who drafts Tebow -- as long as it's not the Jaguars. Because Tebow, in Nwaneri's opinion, "can't throw."
I'm not here to pile on. Quite the opposite. I'm here to tell you the one NFL team that should draft Tebow. I'm even thinking it'll happen.
|Tim Tebow was at the Super Bowl. Here's hoping the Colts took notice. (AP)|
It's a match made in heaven, and God forgive me, there's no sarcasm intended. Tebow belongs with the Colts for reasons that extend well beyond the football field. That's one of those great things about Tebow -- and I'm not being sarcastic here, either. I love his impact on the sports world because sports by themselves are not enough. Not for me. I like a healthy serving of sports, but if I'm going to devote my entire career to it, sports can't be all candy. There better be some fiber in there. Give me sports with a side dish of political or social issues, and I'm going to feast -- and Tim Tebow is a seven-course meal.
And he meshes with the Colts better than any quarterback-and-team in this draft.
For starters, Indianapolis doesn't need a starting quarterback or a franchise hero, and Tim Tebow isn't ready for either role. The Colts are coming off a Super Bowl appearance behind four-time MVP Peyton Manning, who turns 34 next month -- a young 34. He takes few hits because of his intelligence and the Colts' superior pass protection, so he has several years left at a high level. Which is perfect, because Tebow needs several years before he'll be ready to play at a high level. Tebow might never get there, but being drafted by the Colts would give him the time, and his fans the patience, needed by all. Meantime, the Colts could use a better backup than Curtis Painter. Bless his heart, he's awful.
Tebow also fits with the Colts stylistically. One of the biggest knocks on Tebow, who played in Urban Meyer's shotgun spread-option at Florida, is his inexperience under center. Literally, dispatches from the Senior Bowl highlighted Tebow's inability to take a snap and execute the seven-step drop required in the typical NFL offense. But guess what? The Colts don't operate the typical NFL offense. They've operated out of the shotgun spread for years.
On the field, Tebow and the Colts click. But it's off the field where they mesh completely. Tebow is the most famously devout Christian athlete in the country -- and the Colts might just be the most famously devout Christian franchise in the NFL. Conservative people in Indiana would adopt him as their own.
You could say Tebow's path to Indianapolis has been prepared by Tony Dungy, a devout Christian who coached the Colts from 2002-08 and has had a book published by the Christian group Focus on the Family.
Remember that pro-life ad featuring Tebow that drew so much attention because it aired on CBS during the Super Bowl? That ad was sponsored by ... Focus on the Family.
It's perfect, Tebow and the Colts. One of the biggest concerns about Tebow's future in the NFL is his fit in the locker room. NFL locker rooms are by nature a coarse spot of real estate, and one theory holds that Tebow's conservative beliefs won't fly behind closed doors, certainly not enough for him to play quarterback and be his team's de facto leader.
Whether that's true in some cities I cannot tell you, but I'm positive it wouldn't be a concern with the Colts, who have been put together in the image of Dungy and coach Jim Caldwell, who spoke overtly about his Christian faith throughout Super Bowl week. That locker room is incredibly devout, as player after player demonstrated last week during interviews. Kicker Matt Stover, to give you just one example, was asked how he ended up with the Colts, and in the Super Bowl, at age 42.
"God wanted me here," Stover told the media, "so I can speak to you."
Whether God wants Tebow in Indianapolis, who can say? Not me, but I know this: The Colts are run by Bill Polian, the best personnel man in the NFL. Whereas most GMs find chaff in the later rounds of the draft, he finds wheat. And he knows it. So Polian knows that he could afford to reach a little early for Tebow -- maybe at the end of Round 2 -- to achieve the 2010 draft's immaculate selection.