Maybe Tim Tebow is the Cheap Knock-off of Dan LeFevour

He stands 6’3″ and weighs in at 238 pounds.  He can run and pass and has done both well throughout his college career.  And he just had a solid performance in the 2010 Senior Bowl, earning his team’s MVP honors.

That player is none other than Dan LeFevour!

Who?

Does Dan LeFevour have a better shot as an NFL QB than Tebow?

He may not be as a household name as Tim Tebow, but most college football fans have at least heard of LeFevour.  Professional scouts certainly have heard of the Central Michigan QB.  And perhaps NFL fans and opposing defense will soon hear about the career TD record holder.

LeFevour capped off his college career by going 5-of 10 for 97 yards and two touchdowns (one passing; one running) in the Senior Bowl.  This coming on the same field where he ended his CMU tenure by throwing for 395 yards in the GMAC Bowl.  With that, it is worth revisiting LeFevour’s career.

LeFevour was a four-year starter with the Chippewas.  He threw for over 12,000 yards, averaging slightly over 3226 yards per season with a high of 3652 in 2006.  He has thrown for 102 touchdowns and 36 interceptions — that averages out to 25 TDs and 9 INTs.  He finished his career with a 66.4 percent completion rating.

But that only tells half of the story.  LeFevour has rushed for 2948 yards, with 47 touchdowns.  Again, that averages to 737 yards per season and just under 12 TDs.  Add to this one receiving touchdown and he has 150 total touchdowns during his time at Mount Pleasant.

How does this compare with Tim Tebow?  Well, LeFevour will obviously have more yards and TDs than Tebow because he was a four-year starter while Tebow only started three seasons.  So, to be fair, let’s look at the past three seasons:

LeFevour Tebow
Passing Yards 9874 8927
Rushing Yards 2427 2487
Total Yards 12301 11414
Passing TDs 76 83
Rushing TDs 40 49
Total TDs 117 132
Completion % 67.2 64.2
INTs 26 15
100-yd. Rushing Games 10 5
300-yd. Passing Games 12 5
200-yd Pass/50-yd. Rush 15 16

The stats are fairly comparable.  The only categories where there is a clear leader is passing yards (LeFevour has 947 more yards) and total TDs (Tebow with 15 more).  But what is interesting is that LeFevour has more 100-yard rushing games and more 300-yard passing games.

Now, here is where the SEC honks will jump up and say, “But LeFevour plays in the MAC.  THAT’S NOT A REAL CONFERENCE!!!”

Um, yeah.  Three points on that.

First, as we have noted here, NFL teams are going to take the best talent regardless of where they played their college ball.  Is anyone questioning that Joe Flacco went to Delaware (yes, I know he originally went to Pittsburgh).  So they are not concerned that LeFevour plays in a mid-tier conference.

Besides, one would think that would make him better.  Nothing against the Chippewas, but Central Michigan is not exactly a hotbed for college football.  They do have talent, as any college team would possess.  But overall, CMU is not Florida.  Tebow is surrounded with some of the top talent in the country.  LeFevour, comparatively speaking, has less to work with.  Thus, he has done more with less.  Imagine how he could do with pro talent and a good offensive line protecting him.

Second, a few names: Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Chad Pennington.  Those are just three former MAC QBs that have been consistent starters in the NFL.  And, if you want to dig deep down, Charlie Frye has had some decent playing time this past season.

Yes, the SEC had six QB starters entering the season (compared to three for the MAC).  But the point is that you do not have to be from a power conference to be a good QB.  Even the starters from the SEC provide an interesting paradox, as JaMarcus Russell was perhaps the worst QB last season while Jay Cutler played his college ball at one of the worst SEC schools (Vanderbilt).

Third, the scouts have already taken notice of LeFevour.  Many list him as the sixth best QB in the 2010 Draft Class, inexplicably behind Tebow.  I write “inexplicably” because unlike Tebow, no one is talking about LeFevour playing H-back or any other position on the field.  His position is legitimately a quarterback.

He ran a faster 40-time than Tebow, completed a higher percentage of his passes, and yet is three projected spots behind the former Gator.  Most have LeFevour projected late second to early fourth round.  Some questions about strength do exist (although he made some nice deep passes in the Senior Bowl).  More importantly, his mechanics look good and does not have the long windup that Tebow possesses [ironically, similar to former MAC QB Leftwich].

In my opinion, and I am no draft expert, LeFevour is going to be a nice steal.

Tebow has the determination,but also a long way to go, to make it as an NFL QB.

This is not to claim that Tebow will not make it as a QB in the NFL, or that LeFevour will be wearing Super Bowl rings.  It is difficult to question Tebow’s heart, leadership ability, determination and success (two BCS titles and a Heisman trophy).  And, if he is willing, I do think he can adjust his mechanics.  In other words, do not count out Tebow.

But considering that two put up similar numbers, are virtually the same size, and play the same style overall, it is puzzling that LeFevour has not received more attention as a legitimate NFL quarterback compared to Tebow.  Well, beyond the conference argument.

People have called Dan LeFevour the “poor man’s Tim Tebow.”

Maybe all of this time, it was Tebow that was the knock-off of LeFevour.

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