When Tim Tebow was taken in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Boomer Esiason couldn't believe it.
"Maybe Josh McDaniels saw something in him that none of us saw," the CBS Sports analyst and former NFL quarterback thought.
Less than a year later, McDaniels was out as the Denver Broncos' coach, and Esiason's thoughts seem to be validated: "McDaniels must have been the only one who saw it."
Esiason was particularly critical of Tebow during a CBS press event Tuesday. As reported in USA Today, Esiason plainly stated that Tebow isn't an NFL quarterback.
"He can't play. He can't throw," Esiason said.
Esiason didn't hesitate to elaborate on his comments Wednesday afternoon in an interview with NFL.com.
"The kid is a tremendous character kid," Esiason said. "If he said he wanted to marry my daughter, I'd be happy as hell, because he's that kind of person. But I wouldn't want him to be my first-round draft choice starting quarterback, which he's not capable of being right now.
"If he was drafted in the fifth round, we wouldn't be talking about this. But the fact he was drafted so high ... it's one of the reasons in my opinion Josh McDaniels was fired."
Esiason said he's rooting for Tebow and welcomes the opportunity to shower the former Heisman Trophy winner with positive commentary were he to turn things around. For now, however, he has no qualms about the criticism.
"I think what I said was accurate, and I'll stand by it," Esiason said. "I'm not backing away from it or apologizing for it. It's unfortunate he got drafted so high because a great deal of scrutiny and criticism comes with that."
Esiason went so far as to compare Tebow to another first-round Southeastern Conference quarterback who came into the league with high expectations and fell fast: JaMarcus Russell. Ironically, Esiason hypothesized that if you combined Russell and Tebow, you could build a pretty good player.
"JaMarcus Russell, for different reasons (than Tebow), couldn't play in the NFL," Esiason said. "If JaMarcus Russell had the work ethic and desire to be great and to really put the effort forth and he had what Tim Tebow had in intangibles, he probably would be a winner. If Tim Tebow had the god-given ability that JaMarcus Russell had, he'd be a Hall of Fame quarterback."
While Tebow had a few moments of goodness, if not greatness, last season -- he started the last three games, throwing four TD passes and rushing for three more scores -- Esiason wasn't impressed.
"He did (show some flashes)," Esiason said. "If you leave Tebow in the game for four quarters, he'll make some plays. He could be like a Ben Roethlisberger. Ben makes a lot of plays with his feet and does a lot of spontaneous, backyard-type things. He could do that because he's the kind of athlete to do it, but he can't throw like Ben Roethlisberger. This is not your classic throwing NFL quarterback. And I'm not saying everybody has to be Tom Brady or Drew Brees. Look at Philip Rivers. He's not your classic. Bernie Kosar wasn't your classic, and neither was Dan Fouts.
"But you can see the accuracy, you can see the struggle that he has going through the progressions and understanding the offense. And it's indicative that (new Broncos coach) John Fox has said that Brady Quinn is probably outplaying him right now."
Esiason did add that Tebow's situation isn't the same that Russell faced in Oakland, but he didn't offer much hope for improvement.
"Tim Tebow is just a player that doesn't have the fundamentals, the arm and the natural ability at this point to be a franchise quarterback," Esiason said.