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Broncos draft all about Tim Tebow

ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Sports Writer
Denver Broncos director of college scouting Matt Russell, left, and general manager Brian Xanders, center, point out a player on the war room board as head coach Josh McDaniels, right, listens during the first round of the NFL Draft at Dove Valley headquarters in Englewood, Colo., on Thursday, April 22, 2010. The Broncos selected Florida quarterback Tim Tebow with the 25th overall pick in the first round of the football draft. (AP Photo/Denver Broncos, Eric Lars Bakke) ** NO SALES **
AP | Denver Broncos

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – Josh McDaniels is going to change Tim Tebow.

Or is it the other way around?

The southpaw shotgun quarterback who won the 2007 Heisman Trophy and helped Florida win two national titles will likely contribute this season in a sprinkling of wildcat – or, as the Denver Broncos call it, wild horse – formations to take advantage of his running skills and get his feet wet in the NFL.



As Tebow grows more comfortable, honing his new throwing mechanics and footwork necessary to surpass backup Brady Quinn and supplant starting quarterback Kyle Orton, McDaniels will almost certainly have to tweak his offensive philosophies accordingly.

Tebow said he’s determined to repay McDaniels for making him the surprise No. 25 pick of the draft, suggesting that “proving him right and making him proud” is his new mission.



Accomplishing both goals would go a long way toward McDaniels and Tebow succeeding in Denver.

The Broncos paid a high price to draft Tebow, sending the Baltimore Ravens draft choices in the second, third and fourth rounds to move back into the first round and draft the quarterback with the most scrutinized selection of this year’s draft.

McDaniels will forever be known as the man who traded Jay Cutler in 2009 and drafted Tim Tebow in 2010.



“I’m not really concerned about a legacy,” McDaniels insisted. “We’re concerned about winning.”

With his already famous charismatic charm, Tebow promised to be the first to arrive for work at Dove Valley and the last to leave – and that may be out of necessity as McDaniels, with a glowing resume of quarterback pupils, works his wizardry on his newest project.

Tebow might just be the most intriguing pro prospect since Michael Vick.

This is the Heisman Trophy winner who some called the greatest college player ever. Now he is an NFL enigma, a big question mark because of his not-ready-for-prime-time throwing mechanics and footwork and the offense he ran at Florida.

Some scouts think it could take two years for Tebow to make the transition from combination college quarterback to prototypical pocket passer – if he ever does. Others argue his success in college, his passion for football and his work ethic will make the transition smoother and shorter.

McDaniels is already raving about Tebow’s new passing motion that allows him to drop back with the ball at his shoulder instead of near his hip and release it quicker.

Now, he’s fixing his footwork.

He has to adjust to taking snaps under center and dropping back while dodging the pass rush after operating almost exclusively out of the shotgun in college.

Tebow said he considers himself blessed for having landed in Denver so he could work with McDaniels, who tutored Tom Brady and Matt Cassel in New England.

The Broncos also selected another project in the first round in Georgia Tech wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who said he ran just three different routes for the run-oriented Yellow Jackets.

Like third-round pick Eric Decker, a big wide receiver from Minnesota, Thomas is coming off foot surgery and won’t be ready to run when the rookies gather in Denver next weekend for their first pro workouts.

After beefing up his defensive line in free agency, McDaniels fortified his offensive line in the draft.

He selected three interior linemen: tackle/guard Zane Beadles of Utah; center/guard J.D. Walton of Baylor in the third and guard/center Eric Olsen of Notre Dame in the sixth.

“We wanted to improve the depth. We felt as the season wore on we kind of wore down a little bit,” McDaniels said. “We started to lose the line of scrimmage a little bit too much in terms of being able to run the ball productively and stop the run.”

McDaniels said he also wanted to boost the competition at quarterback and that’s why he brought in Quinn from Cleveland, released Chris Simms and drafted Tebow. Plus, Tom Brandstater, last year’s No. 3 QB is back.

McDaniels didn’t draft a linebacker in the first six rounds, which many expected him to do after he jettisoned Andra’ Davis, who had 90 tackles and 31/2 sacks in his only season in Denver. Davis quickly signed with the Buffalo Bills.

McDaniels, however, said his plan all offseason has been to move co-captain Mario Haggan inside to Davis’ spot next to D.J. Williams and insert second-year pro Robert Ayers, a first-rounder who didn’t tally a single sack as a rookie, into Haggan’s spot opposite NFL sacks leader Elvis Dumervil, who tallied 17.

The only defensive player among the Broncos’ first seven selections was Oklahoma State cornerback/kick returner Perrish Cox, who fell to them in the fifth round after a messy end to his college career raised red flags among some teams.

“He’s more talented than where he was drafted, there’s no question about it,” said McDaniels, who insisted Cox may have made some mistakes and poor decisions but didn’t have character issues that will bedevil the Broncos.

Cox was suspended from playing in the Jan. 1 Cotton Bowl for violating curfew on New Year’s Eve and Cowboys coach Mike Gundy also banned him from attending the Cowboys’ pro day workout on March 10.

The Broncos, who made two pre-draft trades and four more in the first round, went back to wheeling and dealing Saturday, acquiring two seventh-rounders from Tampa Bay for a fifth-rounder in next year’s draft.


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