After a below average week at the Senior Bowl, a lot of NFL evaluators are wondering what’s all the fuss over Florida QB Tim Tebow
This week in Mobile, Alabama region, a phenomenon like none other took over the city on the Gulf. No it was not President Barack Obama visiting, but to some it was something much bigger as former Florida quarterback and College Football legend Tim Tebow arrived to practice and play in the 2010 Senior Bowl. The annual convention of NFL scouts, front office types, and the media that each year makes Mobile the hotbed of the football universe for one week, had never seen nothing like college football’s loveable folk hero.
Even though the Senior Bowl has been around for over 50 years, nothing could have prepared the All Star Game for Tebow. Saturday’s game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, with a 40,000 + seating capacity, has already been sold-out for weeks in advance and the week’s practices were very well attended, especially for the South team – coached by the Miami Dolphins staff. At practices, the stadium was abuzz at whatever Tebow decided to do whether it was consorting with the media, taking snaps under center, or just talking with his all-star teammates.
However I hate to rain down on Tim-polooza, but enough already with Timmy Terrific as the number one story at the Senior Bowl. By all indications this week’s events at the nation’s foremost college all-star game confirmed what I have thought all along about him. Much like former Gators’ standout quarterback Danny Wuerffel, Super Tim is a dream player off the field, a National Championship quarterback, a former Heisman Trophy winner, a college football “winner”, and an all-round great guy. But the one thing that this week in Mobile confirmed is that Tebow is a second tier pro quarterback prospect at best.
Tebow – described as the greatest college player ever by some — had difficulty in Senior Bowl practices taking snaps from under center, continued to throw with a painfully slow elongated delivery, and showed poor footwork. One NFL personnel evaluator who was in Mobile said to me after watching Tebow practice, “He looks more like a fullback with each throw”. To make matters worse for Tebow, not by his own doing, he stole all the attention from guys who really helped themselves in practices like Idaho OL Mike Iupati, Penn State DL Jared Odrick, Boise State CB Kyle Wilson, West Virginia QB Jarrett Brown, UAB receiver Joe Webb, and others.
Speaking of Webb, it was interesting to see that the former two-time over 2,000-yard passer and 1,000 rusher in the same season was “asked” to play receiver in this year’s game. I wonder why a certain college superstar, who ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr believes has a chance at playing H-back in the NFL, wasn’t asked to practice at another position.
To put it succinctly, this week confirmed what I thought of Tim Tebow’s potential as a pro quarterback going back to before the college football season. As a prospect he is clearly behind Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen, Jarrett Brown, Dan Lefebvre, Tony Pike and many other quarterbacks in this year’s class. Heck…give me Southern University passer Bryant Lee, who was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award in FCS over Tebow as a quarterback.
I am not alone in my current assessment of Tebow as ESPN’s Todd McShay also was not impressed by the former Florida Super Man this week. “I thought coming in that maybe all the intangibles and all the little things he did, showing signs of improvement could help his stock,” McShay said. “But I would say, unfortunately, that (coming to the Senior Bowl) hurt his stock.”
It will be real interesting to see if Tebow can thrill the Senior Bowl’s sellout crowd on Saturday afternoon – already has put out the Favre-ian excuse that he has been suffering from strep throat all week. But to me and others he has a lot of work to do from now until the NFL Draft in April. I am not even sure if performing well at the NFL Combine next month or a good Pro Day workout will move Tebow up from his expected mid-level draft grade. Right now it would seem ludicrous for any NFL team including the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are rumored to like Tebow as a ticket seller, to put the future of their franchise on the line by making him a first or second round pick.
For those that don’t believe what we have seen during Tebow’s all-star week performance just put in the tape of his game this year against Tennessee with former coordinator Monte Kiffin running the defense. In the 23-13 win by Florida, the former NFL superbowl-winning defensive coordinator’s unit confused Tebow as he threw for only numbers of 14-19 for 115 yards, 0 TDs, and 1 INT with a longest completion of only 18 yards.
Maybe Tebow will prove all of his naysayers, including yours truly wrong, but right now his road to transferring his flashbulb worthy college stardom to Sunday’s game is a long ways off.
By way, Wuerffel “the winner” was a surprise 4th round pick by the New Orleans Saints in the 1997 NFL Draft and unfortunately he was quickly out the league within 5 years as his college mastery never translated to pro football.
Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)