NEW YORK - No matter what else he does, Broncos coach Josh McDaniels will be remembered as the coach who traded Jay Cutler in 2009 and drafted Tim Tebow in 2010.
McDaniels took a Rocky Mountain leap of faith Thursday night, trading with the Ravens for the 25th pick and using it to draft Tebow. Though Tebow's success as a college quarterback at Florida is unquestioned, there are plenty of questions about Tebow's ability to make it as an NFL quarterback.
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, a master draft manipulator, was delighted to get three picks from the Broncos -- Nos. 43, 70, 114 -- especially since he had no intention of drafting Tebow.
"There were some rumors that they had some sincere interest in Tebow, and that's why they made the trade and gave us the picks they gave us," Newsome told reporters Thursday night. "I think we ended up getting like three different offers from them. They changed it like two or three times. I guess they had their mind set on getting that quarterback."
McDaniels might have been fleeced.
There is wide-ranging debate about Tebow's ability to be a winning NFL quarterback. He has spent the last two months working to shorten his throwing motion, and by most accounts he made some progress. But in the heat of battle, will Tebow revert to old habits? Nobody knows.
Since becoming Denver's coach, McDaniels has traded a talented young quarterback in Cutler and a talented young receiver in Brandon Marshall.
Tebow will compete with Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn, but this deal only makes sense for the Broncos if Tebow eventually develops into the No. 1 quarterback. You do not spend a No. 25 pick on a backup. McDaniels sees something in Tebow many scouts do not -- an ability to be a franchise quarterback.
Tebow is easy to root for because he has so many outstanding intangibles -- leadership, dedication, work ethic and a winner's mentality. Because of those characteristics, his ability and the importance of the position, many draft analysts thought some team might make the move the Broncos did.
McDaniels went and got Tebow.
And that decision is more fascinating because Texas' Colt McCoy and Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen, two quarterbacks with higher grades on most teams' boards, remain available. The careers of Tebow, Clausen and McCoy will be compared as they develop in the NFL, just as the careers of Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger are compared as part of the 2004 draft class.
Obviously, McDaniels does not agree with that assessment. Others looked at Tebow and saw great risk. McDaniels looked at Tebow and saw a quarterback he coveted. The Broncos' decision to draft Tebow made this draft hugely fascinating. McDaniels now must hope he did not make a huge mistake.
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