For Nelson and Hernandez life after Tebow is going just fine

Aaron Hernandez and David Nelson both attended the University of Florida while a legend was at the helm.  Tim Tebow is perhaps the most celebrated athlete in college football history.  He was the Florida Gators quarterback for the four years he was there.  His numbers were astounding.  He scored 88 Touchdowns through the air and tallied 57 on the ground.  He amassed an unreal 12,232 yards of total offense in four years at Florida.  Leading up to the 2010 NFL draft Tim Tebow was a hot topic among NFL scouts and general managers.  Many thought that he wasn’t equipped with the skill set to succeed as an NFL starting quarterback.  Many thought “who cares, he just wins.”  Eventually Tim Tebow became the 25th overall pick of the draft by the Denver Broncos.  As far as his former favorite targets go, however, things didn’t go as well on draft day.  Supremely athletic tight end  Aaron Hernandez had to deal with some off-the-field issues and slipped into the 4th round, where he was plucked by the New England Patriots.  Reliable but rail-thin wide receiver David Nelson didn’t even get the call until after the draft and he decided to sign with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent.  So while the world watched for what Tebow would do at the next level two of his favorite targets were heading up to the AFC East.  Hernandez was a prime target at UF, catching 111 balls in three seasons for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns.  He was raw with a ton of potential when he arrived at Pats camp but was thought of as a 4th or 5th option for Tom Brady behind the likes of Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and 2nd round counterpart Rob Gronkowski.  Hernandez responded with a 45 catch, 563 yard season, 6 touchdown season.  Hernandez is off to an even faster start this season, already catching 14 balls for 165 yards and two touchdowns.  If Hernandez’s quick, meteoric rise was unexpected than David Nelson’s has been nothing short of shocking.  Virtually a part-time player with the Gators, Nelson caught 46 balls for 630 yards and 7 touchdowns in four years at Florida, Nelson has shown draft position matters little.  Nelson had the decked stacked against him for even making the opening day roster as an undrafted free agent but not only did he make the team but he thrived as his playing time increased.  By the end of his rookie year he had 31 catches for 153 yards and 3 touchdowns.  2011 doesn’t look to be a sophomore slump for Nelson as he has picked up right where he left off with 14 catches, 149 yards and a touchdown.  What’s amazing is after 18 games in the NFL, Nelson needs only 1 catch, 128 yards, and 3 touchdowns to match his totals from 4 years at the University of Florida.  And don’t expect these two to slow down anytime soon.  Hernandez gets better by the week and he has Tom Brady, one of the best of all-time, throwing him the rock.  Nelson has gotten more confident as the weeks have gone on and has quickly moved up the depth chart in Buffalo.  He is quickly becoming one of the primary targets of the emerging Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Through the first two games these are the two top scoring teams in the AFC and Hernandez and Nelson have both been key components for their respective squads.  Unfortunately Aaron Hernandez will likely miss this weekend’s showdown of the former Gators with an injured MCL but rest assured, there will be many more battles as these guys continue to tear it up in the AFC East for years to come.  Apparently life after Tebow, at least for these two, is not so bad after all.

Twitter @ErikVenskus

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About evonsports
30 year old sports enthusiast and aspiring writer from Boston.

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