- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 22, 2010

NEW YORK | Tim Tebow brought down the house at Radio City Music Hall — and he wasn’t even in the building.

Until Tebow was drafted by the Denver Broncos with the No. 25 pick, the opening 2 hours of the first NFL draft in prime time Thursday night went almost according to form.

Sam Bradford was the first pick, going to the St. Louis Rams, who desperately need a starting quarterback, not to mention better players at most other positions.

The Big 12 Conference took control of the first round with nine first-rounders. Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska, the standout defensive player in the draft, went to Detroit with the No. 2 pick.

Sure, there were a few surprises, such as Jacksonville using its No. 10 pick on California defensive tackle Tyson Alualu and the New York Giants going for inexperienced South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

But about 10:15 p.m., with Denver on the clock after swinging a deal with Baltimore, a big screen TV flashed to Tebow and his family at a home in Jacksonville, Fla. The Florida quarterback was on a cell phone and nearly everyone in the room was putting on a Broncos cap.

When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell walked to the podium and announced that the Broncos had indeed selected Tebow, the roar of the crowd — mixed boos and cheers — would have made the Rockettes kick up their heels.

Tebow was the biggest question mark in the draft, and some thought Jacksonville might even go for him to boost sagging ticket sales. Others thought he could drop as low as the third round. The knock: a questionable throwing motion and he starred in a non-pro style offense with the Gators.

But the Broncos and coach Josh McDaniels went all in on Tebow. Three picks earlier, the Broncos took Georgia Tech wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. This past week, McDaniels raved about the left-handed Tebow, who has developed a new passing motion that allows him to drop back with the ball at his shoulder instead of near his hip and release it quicker.

Tebow likely will be a work in progress as the Broncos already have Kyle Orton and recently acquired Brady Quinn.

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