Commentary

Tebow is a pure competitor, winner

Updated: April 19, 2010, 10:07 AM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

The NFL draft is coming up this week and all of the experts have been chiming in. Yes my friends, we have seen all sorts of evaluations and debates over the top picks and which players will have the greatest impact.

Whether it is Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, Jon Gruden, Herm Edwards, or someone else, let me tell you, they do their homework. All the football experts put in so many hours, breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of the draft prospects.

It is so difficult when the talent is so close in the evaluation process. But I believe that a number of NFL teams will look back and realize they made a mistake by not grabbing Tim Tebow in the first round.

[+] EnlargeTim Tebow
John David Mercer/US PresswireTebow dominated the competition in college. But can that translate to the NFL? I think it can, baby!

I am hearing people say that Tim Tebow will go in the third round, but there is something about that kid that you can't teach. He is a winner with a fierce, competitive drive to be the best he can be. He is so durable, too -- he has a great body and the ability to take a pounding. His physical nature tells me he can get the job done at the next level.

If I was a coach, I would love to have a player like him on my team. You can talk about his mechanics and bring up his flaws, but he is a player who wants to learn and get better. You can rectify those problems, but you can't make up for a guy who has no heart and desire, especially after he gets the cash in his pocket, baby!

People don't understand what is in the heart of a competitor at times. If you think back to the NBA selection process last summer, it is surprising that No. 2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet was sent to the D-League this season. He was not the player that Memphis thought he would be, and a lot of people had him highly ranked.

Then you look at Tyreke Evans, who became a dominant force in the NBA, averaging 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. He joined some pretty select company in Michael Jordan, LeBron James and the Big O, Oscar Robertson, to put up those kind of numbers as a rookie.

Also think about what Brandon Jennings meant to Milwaukee. Or Stephen Curry having such a solid season in Golden State.

Those athletes who get the money and run don't have what it takes to be a classy pro. They hit the nightclub scene and go out and party. To me, Tebow is the kind of guy you want, no matter what the sport is. He is the kind of guy who can take his team into the winner's circle.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.