A couple of quick draft notes

Where will Tim Tebow end up?

With less than three weeks away from the beginning of the draft, my thoughts are that Tim Tebow ends up with the Buffalo Bills. The more you think about it (and the more you read), it just makes sense.

To start off with, Buffalo’s #1 area of need is at Offensive Tackle (left and right). It’s far more of an alarming need than quarterback, given the fact that they still have Trent Edwards and the recently-signed Ryan Fitzpatrick, and there’s a deep group at quarterback in this year’s draft. So, Buffalo’s hand is not completely forced into taking a quarterback with the #9 overall pick in the first round. With a top heavy group of elite offensive tackles that could all be gone within the first half of the first round, Buffalo could use that pick and select someone like Anthony Davis of Rutgers or Trent Williams of Oklahoma, or maybe even Brian Bulaga of Iowa if he happens to fall that far (which I strongly doubt will happen).

Point being, they can get a potential franchise quarterback sometime later in the draft, but the same can’t be said about a franchise-caliber left tackle.

Which brings us to Tim Tebow. Buffalo has the 41st overall pick (the 9th pick in the 2nd round), right about where Tim Tebow’s name could and should pop up. To me, Buffalo taking him in the 2nd round just works. Sure, they may have to leap up a few spots to do so, but the price (maybe a 4th or 5th round pick) would be worth it.

Bills GM Buddy Nicks is already reported to be a fan of Tebow, and why not? Tebow is the kind of guy that would give Bills fans a new glimmer of hope, giving the franchise enough of a shot in the arm from preseason and season ticket sales to keep them from defecting over the border to Canada. Nicks would kill two birds with one stone by taking him, helping the team on and off the field.

For his first season (at least), the Bills could stash Tebow as their 3rd string quarterback behind incumbent starter Edwards and Fitzpatrick, two very cerebral quarterbacks whom Tebow could learn much from (in the classroom setting, at least). One of the two should emerge as a viable short-term solution while Tebow learns from the sideline, especially considering they will likely be playing in 2010 for their NFL careers anyway.

As for Tebow himself, he’s the kind of guy that’d just be thrilled to be taken by any team, the last person you’d probably ever hear trying to pull an Eli Manning. Sure, it would be quite a climate shock, going from St. Augustine and Gainesville to Buffalo, but he’ll probably spend the majority of his time at the team facility and in Bible study anyway, with an occasional evening spent at the renowned Buffalo hotspots such as Applebee’s and Dave & Busters.

By taking an offensive tackle in round one and Tebow in round two, the Bills kill off two of their biggest long-term needs on the first two days of the draft, and makes a franchise that’s becoming less and less relevant in today’s NFL landscape a lot more buzz-worthy.

Thumbs down for Dez Bryant

I just don’t see it happening for him at the next level. He’s already got the deck stacked against him as bad as any player in recent memory, and just doesn’t seem to have his head on straight.

When it comes to upbringings marred by broken families, poverty, and drug abuse, there are two types of people in the world: people who work their ass off to overcome their past and upbringing, and people who, for whatever reason, will never be able to escape their past. I think Bryant is in the latter camp.

Dez Bryant’s story reads almost identical to Michael Oher’s, save for the happy ending of being adopted by a loving family and given a better life (plus a subsequent Oscar-nominated movie). He bounced around from home to home growing up, while his mother (who has 15 when she gave birth to him) spent time in jail for both using and dealing PCP and cocaine. A select handful of local coaches and teachers did everything they can to push Bryant through school – despite ample resistance – because he was just such an incredibly gifted athlete.

Yet, despite a very successful college career, the majority of his national notoriety came because of his NCAA suspension for lying about his relationship with Deion Sanders (although he actually did nothing that violated NCAA rules, except for lying to NCAA investigators about whether he had dinner at Sanders’ house one evening).

To top it all off, he then goes and looks unprepared at this “Pro Day,” arguably the closest thing he’ll ever have to a real job interview he’ll ever have.

Much has been made about Bryant forgetting to bring his pair of running cleats that he’s most comfortable running his routes and the 40 yard dash in.

Is that criticism fair? Um, how about, “yes? The biggest no-brainer for a wide receiver’s a pro day is that you’re going to have to run the 40 yard dash and a myriad of routes, and yet you forget to bring your shoes for that purpose? That’s virtually the equivalent of going to a job interview and wearing sweatpants underneath your jacket and tie (if you remembered to wear/bring any pants at all).

And then, do you blame the employer for not hiring you after coming off as a buffoon in your job interview? Of course not … unless you’re Dez Bryant, who goes out and says that the media is treating him unfairly by reporting that he was unprepared.

Bryant has seen nothing but self-destruction all around him – his life has been marred by it – and it may be too much for him to overcome personally. How do you expect him to be successful at the next level, which is as difficult and cut-throat a profession as there is in the world? From high school through college, Bryant was used to being so much more physically gifted than his peers and competitors. In the NFL, he’ll be playing against the best of the best, and it’s often said that the difference between those who make it and those who don’t are what that player does Monday through Saturday, and not just on Sunday.

To be clear: i’m not lumping the guy in the same category as a Ryan Leaf or Lawrence Phillips, world class douchebags and the very personifications of pond scum. The guy just has a lot of baggage that he needs to overcome, and one of the worst ways you can help address those issues is by handing him millions of dollars when he has absolutely no idea how to handle or manage life already without the type of pressures and temptations associated with being a professional athlete.

Sure, most 22 year olds today don’t have their head on straight – lord knows that I didn’t when I was 22 – but for someone who has been through so much in his life, and had no proper guidance in his life, the very worst thing you can do is exacerbate the problem by giving him millions of dollars and a ridiculous amount of notoriety. It’s exactly why rockstars and strippers live the fast life in their 20’s and end up in rehab (or worse) in their 30’s.

Everyone knows that the other meaning of the term “NFL” is “Not For Long.” If Bryant doesn’t learn to get his act together quickly, and doesn’t receive the help he’ll need, he’s going to be another one of those players who flames out of the league despite his enormous potential.

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