Tim Tebow convinced the Denver Broncos he was worthy of a first-round draft pick. Fellow quarterbacks Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy are still waiting to see which National Football League team chooses them.
Tebow, 22, was the second quarterback taken in last night’s NFL draft in New York, picked 25th, 2 1/2 hours after the St. Louis Rams made University of Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford the top pick.
While Tebow and Bradford each won a Heisman Trophy as college football’s best player, Tebow’s arm strength and throwing motion have been criticized by some scouts even though he won two national championships at the University of Florida.
“I’ve just been working on drills constantly -- three workouts a day trying to get better and get a team to believe in me,” Tebow said in a televised interview. “Not everybody has to like you. Just one team has to like you.”
Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, joins a Broncos team that has missed the playoffs four straight seasons and has Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn at quarterback.
Bradford, the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner, is the 10th quarterback in 13 years to be taken with the top pick in the draft. He joins a Rams franchise that’s coming off a 1-15 season and is 6-42 the past three years.
“They’re ready to start winning football games,” Bradford said in a media conference call. “They want to win, and hopefully I can come in and help them do that.”
The selection of Bradford and Tebow marks the third time two Heisman winners were selected in the same draft. The last time was 2006, when Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush were first- round picks from the University of Southern California.
Bradford and Tebow were the only quarterbacks taken in the first round of the three-day draft. The University of Notre Dame’s Clausen and University of Texas’s McCoy are both available in today’s second round.
Nine defensive linemen were taken in the first round, including tackles Ndamukong Suh of the University of Nebraska to the Detroit Lions at No. 2 and Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 3.
Three of the top four selections were from Oklahoma, with offensive tackle Trent Williams going fourth to the Washington Redskins as protection for new quarterback Donovan McNabb. Williams was among six offensive linemen taken in Round 1.
New York’s Giants and Jets took defensive players, eliciting cheers from the crowd at Radio City Music Hall.
The Giants selected University of South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul at No. 15 as they seek to improve a defense that allowed the third-most points in the NFL last season. The Jets used the 29th pick to add Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson to a defense that allowed the fewest points in the league in 2009.
Offensive lineman Anthony Davis became the highest draft pick in Rutgers history, going 11th to the San Francisco 49ers. College teammate Devin McCourty, a cornerback, was selected by the New England Patriots with the 27th selection, marking the first time two Rutgers players were taken in the first round.
The first running back chosen was Clemson University’s C.J. Spiller, who was drafted ninth by the Buffalo Bills.
The San Diego Chargers moved up to take Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews with the 12th pick, two months after cutting LaDainian Tomlinson, the eighth-leading rusher in NFL history. The Lions used their second pick, the 30th overall, on University of California running back Jahvid Best.
Two picks before Tebow, the Broncos added wide receiver Demaryius Thomas from Georgia Tech. Dez Bryant of Oklahoma State was the only other receiver drafted in the opening round, going 24th to the Dallas Cowboys.
Bradford was the ninth Heisman winner to be drafted No. 1 and the first since quarterback Carson Palmer of the University of Southern California in 2003. He’s the third Oklahoma player taken as the top pick, and the first since running back Billy Sims in 1980.
Tebow, who didn’t attend the draft, is the fourth Florida quarterback taken in the first round, joining Rex Grossman, John Reaves and Steve Spurrier. Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said he has no doubt Tebow’s college success will carry over to the NFL.
“There are so many things that you can say about the kid,” McDaniels said. “He’s very enthusiastic, wants to work hard and is one of the smarter players I’ve ever been around coming out of college.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org