Commentary

Draft Lab: Evaluating Tim Tebow

The intangibles are off the charts; the metrics, though, leave much to be desired

Updated: December 9, 2009, 8:56 AM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Getty ImagesTim Tebow hopes his pro career starts better than his SEC career ended.

One of the most difficult areas for a scout to grade is intangibles. Character, leadership and other traits of that nature can impact a player's professional prospects, but a scout's main job is to determine how much weight to place on those attributes.

This quandary is doubly tough when it comes to someone like Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow. His speech after the Ole Miss loss in 2008 already has taken its rightful place alongside Knute Rockne's famous 1928 oratory at halftime of the Notre Dame versus Army game as one of the greatest rallying cries in college football history.

As impressive as Tebow's leadership skills are, they have made him something of a polarizing figure. Tebow's most ardent supporters include Tony Dungy, who recently said he would take Tebow with a top-10 draft pick if he were running a team. His detractors, including many scouts, are of the mindset that Tebow is vastly overrated and should go as a third- or fourth-round pick.

The Draft Lab's take on intangibles stems from statistician Bill James' comments on the subject throughout the years. Leadership is valuable, but the best leaders on a team are typically the best players. Being a good person carries some weight in the NFL, but players by and large want to follow the lead of top performers. That means Tebow's leadership is valuable only if he is able to land a starting job.

So what do the scouting and metric eyes say about Tebow's readiness to play in the NFL? They paint a mixed story.