Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford And The QB Class Of 2010

The Denver Broncos have named Tim Tebow as their starting quarterback. How does he compare with Sam Bradford and the other rookies from the 2010 NFL Draft?

The Denver Broncos made Tim Tebow their starting quarterback. Tebow replaced Kyle Orton at half time this week, after Orton continued to struggle. Today, John Fox made it official. What exactly does this have to do with the St. Louis Rams? Nothing specific, but history has saddled these Rams with Tebow, for the time being at least.

Tebow owes his NFL career to none other than Josh McDaniels, then the head coach of the Broncos and Tebow's biggest advocate. It's fair to wonder whether or not Tebow would have been a first-round pick without McDaniels, who convinced the team to trade a second-, third- and fourth-round pick for Baltimore's 25th pick in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Tebow would have been drafted, but it might have been by a team who fancied him as a tight end/H-back type. Hell, when it looked like Tebow was the odd man out in Denver back in August, I openly wondered about the possibility of a potential reunion with McDaniels

Sam Bradford is forever tied to Tebow thanks to the 2010 NFL Draft. Bradford and Tebow were the only quarterbacks selected in the first round. Just out of curiosity, let's look at the performance of those two quarterbacks.

Tebow started the last three games of the season last year, after McDaniels had been canned by the Broncos ironically enough. Here's a chart comparing the rookie quarterbacks who started over the last three weeks of the season, with at least two starts. 

Passing
Rk Player Tm G W L T Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD Int Rate Y/A AY/A
1 Stephen McGee DAL 2 1 1 0 22 44 50.0% 238 2 0 81.4 5.41 6.32
2 Tim Tebow DEN 3 1 2 0 40 81 49.4% 651 4 3 77.8 8.04 7.36
3 Jimmy Clausen CAR 3 1 2 0 42 75 56.0% 395 2 2 68.5 5.27 4.60
4 John Skelton CRD 3 1 2 0 42 83 50.6% 471 2 2 65.9 5.67 5.07
5 Sam Bradford RAM 3 1 2 0 68 116 58.6% 628 1 3 65.6 5.41 4.42
6 Joe Webb MIN 3 1 2 0 52 84 61.9% 469 0 3 62.1 5.58 3.98
7 Colt McCoy CLE 3 0 3 0 54 95 56.8% 601 3 6 60.0 6.33 4.12
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/11/2011.

 

It's sorted by default QB rating, which I mostly ignore. Bradford and the Rams played pretty poorly in those last three games of the season, except for a week 16 win over the 49ers. The Rams' rookie's accuracy was much better than his first-round counterpart, but notice the difference in yards per attempt. Tebow also had more touchdowns than Bradford. Tebow also rushed for 199 yards on 31 attempts in those three games, scoring one rushing touchdown in each of them. One thing to note is that Tebow did have better receivers than the Rams; beyond that, his stats look pretty good compared to Bradford's.

And what about this year? Obviously, has only had two quarters of play and a handful of rushing attempts so far, so there isn't much to compare. The following chart is for all second-year quarterbacks that have seen playing time this season.

Games Passing
Rk Player Year Tm G GS Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD Int Rate Sk Y/A SkYds AY/A ANY/A Y/G
1 Colt McCoy 2011 CLE 4 4 100 172 58.1% 984 6 3 78.7 6 5.72 36 5.63 5.24 246.0
2 Curtis Painter 2011 IND 3 3 33 68 48.5% 618 4 0 100.0 5 9.09 34 10.26 9.10 206.0
3 Sam Bradford 2011 STL 4 4 75 151 49.7% 849 3 1 70.8 18 5.62 116 5.72 4.43 212.3
4 Tim Tebow 2011 DEN 3 0 4 10 40.0% 79 1 0 101.7 0 7.90 0 9.90 9.90 26.3
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/11/2011.

 

Colt McCoy is the best of the bunch right now. He's learning a somewhat new offensive system, but one more geared to his strengths. What stands out the most about Bradford's performance are the sacks. That's a brutal number, both in the sacks total and the yards lost. Notice his yards per attempt number hasn't changed much from those last three games, partly the result of the talent around him. More than anything, this an indictment of the Rams rather than Bradford. The decision to eschew free agent wide receiver Sidney Rice seems like a big whiff in hindsight. 

Tebow comparisons get back into the picture starting in week seven, after Denver's bye. Hopefully, the Rams can take steps to improve, and Bradford can shake off some of his own rust. It'll be interesting to watch quarterbacks from the 2010 rookie class, with an eye toward those two first rounders. 

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