Could Tebow be the pick of the Bills litter at number 9?

NFL mock drafts are a guilty pleasure to every football fan.  I’ll admit I’ve spent far too much time scouring and searching every inch of the Internet browsing over too many mock drafts to  mention.  Heck, after a while it seems like they all blend in and there’s no significant difference from one to the next.

But the latest one I came across raised my eyebrows and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one it had that effect on.  Wes Bunting, National Football Post’s head of scouting department, debuted his fifth mock draft on Wednesday projecting Florida quarterback Tim Tebow to the Bills at No.9.  Bunting provides some analysis for the selection:

The Bills need to put fans in the seats and have had nothing but glowing remarks about Tebow and his leadership capabilities. In what could be the real surprise of the first round, Buffalo opts for Tebow at nine.

Of all the mock drafts I’ve viewed, this is the first time I’ve seen this as a possibility, especially from such a reputable and respected website.  I’m aware that former Bills QB and Hall of Fame member Jim Kelly has given his gold seal of approval of Tebow and the Bills, to an unknown degree, seem to be high on Tebow.  But selecting Tebow that high?  Sorry Wes, I’m just not interested in buying what you’re selling.

For the record, and this is a subject I’ve avoided and will dive into this weekend, I don’t see any scenario where the Bills should take Tebow at nine.  I’m not even sure I want them taking him with their second round pick (41st overall) should he be available.

When I think of top ten picks, I  immediately think of a player who can step in and start right away, contribute at a productive level and help you win now.  Or at the least, he’s going to become a starter at some point during the season, preferably sooner rather than later.  When Tim Tebow comes to mind, I think of a project player who is not ready to step in and make any significant impact, let alone become a starter in the NFL.

You don’t have to look any further than what the Bills did a year ago in the draft to realize they’ve gone the reaching road before.  They opted for Aaron Maybin, a project-type who was a few years away from reaching his perceived full.  Meanwhile, the Bills bypassed OT Michale Oher, DE Brian Orakpo and a pair of USC linebackers, Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews.  Maybin couldn’t get on field in his rookie season while the quartet of players the Bills left on the board excelled; Oher has the makings of a franchise tackle, while the trio of Orakpo, Cushing and Matthews became All-Rookies and Pro Bowlers in their rookie seasons.  Other reaches that come to mind: Donte Whitner, J.P. Losman and John McCargo.  Like I said earlier, it’s not the Bills’ first rodeo reaching for projects.

Buffalo has far more serious issues to deal with on draft day than wasting a high draft pick on a project.  If the Bills had fewer holes and a stable quarterback environment where they could afford to wait for Tebow to be ready a couple years down the road rather than rush him onto the field, I could see where it makes sense to some degree.  Can Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey really afford to wait two or three years to win?  I think not.

I referenced the players that Buffalo left on the draft board in 2009, now here’s a list of a few names in Bunting’s latest mock draft he has the Bills bypassing for Tebow:  QB Jimmy Clausen, RB C.J. Spiller, WR Dez Bryant, OT Bruce Campbell, OT Anthony Davis, NT Dan Williams, DE Derrick Morgan, DE Brandon Graham and ILB Rolando McClain.

For his second round selection, Bunting has the Bills selecting LSU wideout Brandon LaFell with the 41st overall pick.

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