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Tebow holds appeal at the bottom of Round One

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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening

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Posted April 22, 2010 @ 4:13 p.m.
Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Mike Wilkening

By the end of the evening, we'll know if the Jaguars have taken Florida QB Tim Tebow — an arrangement that makes sense primarily for box-office and marketing reasons, considering his tremendous popularity and the franchise's need to stir up more interest. Of course, he's also an intriguing prospect, given his athleticism and intangibles.

In his mock draft Wednesday, ESPN's Bill Simmons, in an intriguing scenario, had the Jaguars trading down and selecting Tebow 24th. If the Jaguars can pull that off, more power to them; such a maneuver could save them in the neighborhood of $10 million in guaranteed money. The No. 10 pick in 2009, 49ers WR Michael Crabtree, reportedly received $17 million in guarantees, while the No. 24 selection, Falcons DT Peria Jerry, received $7.6 million in guarantees. Of course, the premium placed on the QB position will likely net Tebow more guaranteed money than the players chosen before or after him if he's 1) selected in Round One and 2) another QB isn't selected in the pick before him; note that Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman received more guaranteed money ($10.4 million) as the No. 17 pick than the No. 16 pick, Chargers OLB Larry English ($9.9 million).

Some will say Tebow isn't a first-round talent as a quarterback, but to my knowledge, he's the only player in this draft who can charge $160 for his autograph and $75 to pose for a picture with him and attract a crowd of people willing to stand in line to do so. And he's certainly one of the four most highly regarded quarterbacks in this draft.

The Nos. 20 through 32 picks in the 2009 NFL Draft received between $6.1 and $9.4 million in guaranteed money. I don't know if Tebow will pan out as a quarterback, but I do know he is more likely to help a team's bottom line than any other prospect could consider at the end of Round One.

I won't be surprised if Tebow is drafted on Thursday night. Maybe it's Jacksonville, maybe it's another team — maybe Denver, as Dan Parr points out — but the potential return Tebow can provide on a club's investment in him is very intriguing.

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