GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- During almost 20 years in the NFL, Jon Gruden has experienced heated draft war rooms, plenty of draft busts, plenty of draft success stories.
Gruden shouldn't be surprised by much, but relentless debate over Tim Tebow's NFL stock has got him a little stumped.
"There are a lot more doubters than maybe I expected," Gruden said. "Tim's transition to more of a conventional NFL style has drawn a lot of questions from people."
Not just people -- seemingly everyone with the slightest interest in sports has contributed to today's Great Debate.
Will Tim Tebow be a successful NFL quarterback? This question is a hit at every water cooler or pick-up game.
Tebow enters Thursday night's NFL draft as a prospect whose positioning is still as confusing and fascinating as the character study that took flight the minute he stepped on the Florida campus in 2006.
Opinions vary from first-round program changer to third-round project.
The fusion of outspoken Christianity and glass-chewing football success has engaged fans while evoking curiosity about the person on and off the field.
Some want to see him fail. Some think he's too good to be true. Some pray alongside him.
That the college game's most decorated player could be considered by some analysts as a glorified H-back in the pros has outraged biggest supporters. Meanwhile, his biggest critics demur his viability as a top-90 pick.
Never has the term 'intangibles' been used more for an NFL draft prospect, which sparks an entirely different debate about how to evaluate a player.
"I've never seen this with any player in 10 years of doing this having such a polarizing effect on people in general," said Rob Rang, director of NFLdraftscout.com. "Whether it be just the average joe fan in the stands or general manager, this is a conversation everybody's having because of the impact he's had on football and sports culture."
For all the talk about Tebow's persona, the pandemonium disappears without his football success at Florida.
The 2007 Heisman Trophy is just a fraction of his success at Florida, where he threw for 88 touchdowns compared to 16 interceptions. He ran for 57 more scores on his way to a 2008 national title.
Couple those stats with comments such as these -- "Tim Tebow, he's the type of guy you'd want your daughter to marry," ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski says -- and fans' emotions of Tebow range from nausea to celebration.
The topic of Tebow's draft stock gained momentum back in December of 2008, when ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. declared Tebow as a third-round pick and a potential tight end or H-back in the NFL.
At the time, Tebow had not yet decided on whether to stay at Florida for a senior season or declare for the NFL draft.
Kiper's comments set the stage for 12 months of dissecting Tebow's every throw during his senior year at Florida.
The way Tebow sees it, his unique skill set of bruising rusher with an unorthodox delivery has been dissected since his early teenage years.
Critics told Tebow in high school he couldn't be a quarterback because he didn't resemble a pure passer, Tebow said.
The topic is nothing new, it's just reached a broader scale.
"Everybody's got their own opinion and they're entitled to that," Tebow said. "You try to respect that and go work on the things you feel you need to work on as a player and as a person. That's really my attitude."
Tebow's NFL potential transcends grades on a scouting scale, something that seems to fluster analysts evaluating him.
Players are supposed to fit a certain mold that Tebow breaks.
Working hard and having football intelligence is not enough in the eyes of many. Tebow's inability as a pocket passer make him, in ESPN analyst Todd McShay's eyes, a project.
"It's a philosophical approach I have," McShay said. "You have to draft players who have legitimate shots at being a starter right away. With Tim Tebow, you have at least three years before he can compete for a starting job at quarterback. I think he can give value to a team, short yardage running, special teams and possibly moving to H-back at some point."
The evaluation process is not so simple for NFL teams that might be charmed by Tebow during the interview process.
Plenty of stories are floating around about teams that moved Tebow from a fourth- to a second-round projection after simply meeting with him.
Craig Howard, Tebow's former coach at Nease High School, said his old friend George Cortez, the Buffalo Bills' quarterbacks coach, was "so impressed by Timmy's knowledge of the game."
"People thought he was one thing, so they just pigeonholed him as a project," Rang said. "Then when they start having conversations with him and realize he's an innate quarterback. That's who he is. Teams are starting to understand that he's smart enough to succeed over time in a pro-style system."
Tebow's religious beliefs are on the same full display as his arm strength, which sparks further debate about how his personality will translate to the NFL. That same clean-cut image could affect ticket sales for a team such as the Jacksonville Jaguars.
There's no real evidence against Tebow validating his claim as a good guy entering a league stocked with character issues.
But that topic will be debated, too.
"I think his commitment to what he believes in is real," Gruden said. "It doesn't waver."