When it comes to talking about Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, the question isn’t necessarily if he was one of the best college athletes ever, but if he was the best college athlete ever. He was the first player to ever win the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore. He was the first player since Hershel Walker to be a Heisman finalist three times. Over the past four years, only Central Michigan Dan LeFevour scored more total touchdowns (150 to Tebow’s 145), albeit with almost 800 more offensive plays! All of these stats and accolades have come in what might be the nation’s most demanding conference of college football, the Southeastern Conference. This being said, with the NFL Draft fast approaching, why aren’t pro teams lining up like shoppers on Black Friday for the services, statistics, and intangibles that are Tim Tebow??

The biggest problem with Tebow might be the system implemented by Florida head coach Urban Meyer: the spread offense. The spread offense requires no lining up under the center, talking a 3, 5, or 8-step drop, and reading your progressions. All of Tim Tebow’s throws at Florida were predetermined by the play called in from the sideline, which were typically a quick screen play to a wide receiver lined up wide, and if that wasn’t there, Tebow was to put his head down and pick up a seemingly effortless five yards. The plays used at Florida are still considered somewhat of a gimmick in the NFL, with teams expecting their quarterbacks to be able to read defenses and complete the tough passes that are required of NFL quarterback. Tebow was able to get away with his elongated throwing motion in college, as the defensive backs aren’t as quick as a Darrelle Revis or Charles Woodson, but that motion will leave him open to throwing more interceptions than he has in the past (16 in all 4 years at Florida!).

Tim Tebow’s rushing ability may be viewed as an upside going into the draft, but as Tim will likely find out, rushing in the NFL will not be as simple as it was in college. Against the vaunted defenses of the SEC, Tebow amassed the conference career rushing touchdown record, rushing for 57 touchdowns. This was no small feat, considering the long list of NFL and FBS running backs to come out of the conference (the aforementioned Hershel Walker, Emmitt Smith, Bo Jackson, Jamal Lewis, just to name a few). However, all of the players just named had a unique blend of power, speed, and vision that made them amongst the NFL’s all time greats. Tebow made a living in Florida getting a few extra yards by running over linebackers and around defensive backs. In the NFL, this simply will not be the case. The NFL linebackers are much bigger than the poor Ole Miss and Vanderbilt linebackers who never stood a chance to tackle him. Also, his speed will be forgotten in the NFL, as there are probably no defensive backs that will not be able to catch up to him. All of the mystique that the national media has made for Tebow being a great rusher will just make the defensive players in the NFL just more hungry to get a piece of him to add to their highlight reel.

I’m not saying Tebow isn’t undraftable. I actually think he would be a great fit with certain teams, such as the Patriots, that are already powerhouses and making a run for Superbowl XLV. However, taking the Pats for instance, how early would you want to draft someone who will probably only be good for five or so plays a game? Is he really worth a first, second, or even third round pick? And plus, if they were to draft him, would you really want the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands for those plays? These are all tough questions that the best and worst NFL teams are asking themselves. My prediction? As a prospect, I think Tebow top-tier college talents combined with his professional uncertainty projects him as a 4th or 5th round pick. However, it only takes one team to buck the trend and grab him early, so watch for Tebow to go off the board by the end of the second or early in the third round.