Tim Tebow has a new No. 1 fan in Josh McDaniels.
The coach of the Denver Broncos made the former Heisman Trophy winner a first-round draft pick last night, a bold move that surprised many in football, but not University of Florida coach Urban Meyer.
Tebow helped Florida win two national championships in the Gators’ run-heavy system, but many wondered whether he was worthy of a first-round selection because his skills may not translate to some NFL teams’ passing-centric offenses.
McDaniels is betting they will.
Tebow, he said, “has all the traits you’re looking for in terms of toughness, competitiveness, he’s intelligent, he’s won a lot of games, he’s a leader, he works hard, he’s got all the intangibles you look for in a player at that position.’’
The Broncos traded three picks to Baltimore for the Ravens’ first-round pick, then took Tebow at No. 25 with two more-polished quarterbacks, Texas’s Colt McCoy and Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen, still available.
“The Denver Broncos are getting a winner,’’ Meyer said. “Tim will show on the field what he is capable of doing, and more than anything Tim has a competitive fire that will constantly push him to get better and do whatever he can to help his team win.’’
The Broncos gave up choices in the second (No. 43), third (No. 70), and fourth (No. 114) rounds to move back into the first round and draft Florida’s southpaw quarterback, whom McDaniels had raved about last week.
Although it’s highly unlikely he’ll be the starting quarterback in five months’ time, Tebow will begin his NFL career Sept. 12 in his hometown of Jacksonville when the Broncos play the Jaguars.
Right now he’s behind Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn, and maybe even Tom Brandstater at quarterback.
“Our starting quarterback is Kyle Orton,’’ McDaniels said. “And if somebody performs better than Kyle Orton, that changes. But right now it hasn’t.’’
Tebow said he has no idea when he might take over as the Broncos’ starting quarterback.
“That’s not even something I’m thinking about,’’ Tebow said. “What I’m thinking about is going in there and learning the offense, competing, working hard, and being the first one in and last one to leave, showing them I love this and love what I do, and thank you so much for taking me and I’m not going to let you down.’’
Just three spots from taking him at No. 27, Dallas made a deal with New England to snag the Oklahoma State receiver with top-15 talent but questions about his character.
“I’m not disappointed at all,’’ said Bryant, who grew up two hours away in East Texas. “Me falling to the Cowboys, that’s the best thing that could ever happen to me. I’m so happy. I’m excited. I’m ready to go to work.’’
The 6-2, 225-pound Bryant gives quarterback Tony Romo another potentially dynamic receiver to go with returning Pro Bowler Miles Austin.
Bryant was considered by many the best receiver in this draft, an All-American in 2008 when he turned 87 receptions into 1,480 yards and 19 TDs.
His stock slid after his suspension for lying to the NCAA about his activities with former NFL cornerback Deion Sanders, a suspension that kept him off the field nearly all of last season.