Broncos’ Tebow has plenty of company as an intriguing draft story
The Denver Post
Well, that’s it. Another year, another draft in the books.
It was the 75th draft for the NFL, just the 24th for me. After months of staring at the same names, after trying to arrange them in some semblance of order, certain players become the most fun to watch, the most intriguing stories to follow.
This year there are:
Tim Tebow. In all the years I have wandered the sidelines at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., no player who had done so much in college football had been criticized by so many people in pro football.
Tebow will be asked to answer fundamental football questions during his NFL career, about things he must do to succeed. In the end, no defensive player across from him is going to care how, or how well, he did things at quarterback for Florida.
But to go from that point, where he was in Mobile, to a first-round draft pick of the Broncos is remarkable and largely unprecedented. He is a popular, galvanizing, historically accomplished college football star trying to take the next step.
And no one will try to do that with more people watching than Tebow.
Mardy Gilyard. A lot of people talk about what they have overcome in life when the list is little more than inconveniences, while others truly have overcome, persevered, been accountable and put themselves in position to succeed.
That is Gilyard, who for a time lived in a car when he lost his scholarship at Cincinnati because of academic trouble. He worked three jobs, got himself back into school and then played football well enough to be a fourth-round pick by the Rams.
He admitted his mistakes, fixed his mistakes and pulled himself up. It’s easy to wish the best for somebody who has done that.
Myron Rolle. The former Florida State star took a year off from football to be a Rhodes scholar at Oxford.
More than one NFL scout told me Rolle, a safety, may be “too smart” for pro football. I’m not sure what that means, but nobody in this year’s draft has the academic credentials to fall back on that the sixth-round pick of the Titans has.
Trindon Holliday. The 5-foot-5 1/2 kick returner finds himself in an uphill battle to play a pro sport that rewards the large and usually discards the small.
But if the new team around him, the Texans, can get him some open space in which to work, he won’t be caught.
Holliday was an eight-time track All-American at LSU and played football in the Southeastern Conference. He once passed up an opportunity to represent Team USA at the world track and field championships because it would have taken him away from spring football.
O’Brien Schofield. It’s always tough to see somebody get injured at the Senior Bowl, after their senior season was good enough to get them invited there and the countdown to the draft has begun.
Schofield suffered a knee injury in Mobile this year. The defensive end could not work out before the draft, either in a pro-day session or at the scouting combine in Indianapolis.
But he had 241/2 tackles for a loss last season for Wisconsin, including 12 sacks. He was one of the most upbeat, personable players at the scouting combine despite his injury and openly discussed the possibility, while standing on crutches, that he would not be drafted.
That is choosing to see irony and fate through the eyes of optimism and hope rather than bitterness.
The Cardinals drafted Schofield in the fourth round, and he may not play much, if at all, this season. But whenever he gets on the field, it will be good to see how far he can go in the NFL.