Tebow Pro Prospects?
by Brendan Collins
Update (Jan 30, 2010): Well, the Senior Bowl is over and Tim Tebow did not have a good outing. He had rough week handling the ball from center since he's not used to it (operated out of shotgun at Florida). In the game itself, Tebow had a couple fumbles his longest completion was 11 yards. It was clear Tebow needs to work on his footwork, accuracy, and his long, slow delivery of the football.
Having said all that, he still has great intangibles; leadership; and certainly is tough and can run.
The consensus is that he will not make it as a QB in the NFL. However, certainly a team will give him a shot and he'll likely go in the 3rd or 4th round.
If he makes it; he'll break the NFL QB mold. We'll be pulling for him here at SEC Sports Fan.
The University of Florida has a great quarterback. Tim Tebow, or Superman (as the vast majority of Gator fans would have you believe), is without question the top run/pass spread quarterback in the nation. Now before some people in Austin start sending me death threats, let’s think about sophomore seasons for a minute. One of them got the Heisman, the other suffered through a clinical case of a sophomore slump.
While we are at it, let’s now quickly quell the dissent of those Mountaineers in Morgantown. One of them plays in the SEC, home to the nation’s top defenses, and the other has only put up comparable numbers with a whole extra year and done so in the Big East, which has considerably weaker defenses.
With more than three miles worth of yardage to his name, Tebow has quite publicly gone about breaking down records almost as easily as he has broken down defenses. With over 200 total points, well over 5,000 pass yards, 51 passing touchdowns and a career passer rating nudging 180 through eight games into his junior year, Tebow has all the statistics of a solid passing quarterback, but let’s not overlook that the kid can run too. He has rushed for over 1,500 yards and almost 40 touchdowns, not bad for a quarterback. So, what’s the problem?
Well… how do you fit that into the NFL? Or do you?
When Tebow decides to end his career at Florida, and whether it is with another Heisman or not, he will be an NFL draft prospect. But how valuable of a prospect will he be? Let’s take a look at how Tebow is successful on the college gridiron.
A major part of his success can be attributed to his run/pass threat. Defenses are often forced to dedicate at least one linebacker to watching Tebow, which in turn, frees up more space on the field for receivers. He has considerable speed to go along with his size so when he does take off on a run, it often takes more than one defender to bring him down and a fairly quick one at that. Those are the obvious reasons for his success.
Now, let’s look at the system Florida employs to utilize him to his full potential. They usually send receivers or backs in motion, and with outside speed threats such as Percy Harvin and Chris Rainey, these have to be taken seriously. Thus, the defense is often spread thin and the middle is wide open for a Tebow rush.
Florida also uses numerous formations and personnel sets that are not ordinary looks for most defenses, requiring more read on the part of defenses and often giving Florida and Tebow that extra half second to execute plays. This may not seem like a whole lot, but with speedy players like Harvin and Rainey, a half second can be nearly five yards.
His statistical success has also hinged on the fact that for the entire 2007 season, Florida’s offense became as predictable as a metronome inside the ten. All twenty-two players on the field, both sidelines, and usually all but a few toddlers in the stands knew that Tebow would get the ball and go straight up the middle.
The difference in the Pro game is simple. Professional teams do not use the same kinds of formations and personnel sets that Florida uses. Professional defenses are bigger, faster, and quicker at reading defenses than even the best college defenses. Players in motion rarely open the middle for rushes on NFL plays.
Tebow’s speed and size will not be as much of a factor because NFL defenses deal with players with his size and speed weekly. Few NFL teams employ as many speedsters as Florida does because NFL defenses are just as fast, so it is not simply about speed.
I am not implying that Florida’s fast players do not have talent but you cannot just fake a handoff to a fast player in the NFL and expect the defense to be thrown off long enough to give a player like Tebow much room. So it comes back to his run/pass threat.
Is Tebow a good enough passer to play in an NFL pocket and use his mobility to keep plays alive, instead of using his mobility to make plays? As stated above, a large portion of Tebow’s rushing touchdowns were procured inside the ten yard line; NFL teams tend to have running backs for such situations and would not have their precious quarterback dive right up the middle to take a shot from an NFL linebacker.
Tebow’s shoulder started to wear on him during his sophomore season due to the frequency of hard hits he was taking from defenses in the SEC, and well the NFL will be just like that, except every hit will be like that. I am not doubting the kid’s toughness, or saying that he could not survive in the NFL, but I am saying that he will not rush for 40 touchdowns in three NFL seasons and still be standing straight after.
At the end of the day, I tip my hat to the guy for putting the Gators on his back for the 2007 season and was rightfully awarded a Heisman for his efforts. I feel he may be one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the game right now and is a class act on and off the field. I like that he is captaining the Florida ship in 2008 and is simply the maestro for Florida’s offensive orchestra.
I do, however, wonder in what capacity he will be able to play in the NFL, if at all. He evidently has talent, but is it quite the right skill set for the Professional game?
Here's more views of whether Tebow will make it in the NFL
Of course, the hot Tebow issue at the moment is the Tebow Super Bowl Commercial Controversy