Seattle Seahawks New coach Pete Carroll has been public about his respect and excitement for Tebow as a pro. Trading for Charlie Whitehurst may eliminate the Seahawks from the equation, but Whitehurst only signed a two-year deal and there’s no guarantee there will even be a franchise tag in the next CBA. I don’t believe the Seahawks would use one of their two first-round picks on Tebow, and they moved down far enough in the second round that they should miss out on him as well. But never underestimate the Seahawks making a move in the draft if he’s within reach.
And now here are some dark horse candidates that may very well have more interest in Tebow than they’ve let on to this point. I played golf one day with a former NFL head coach who said, “Parcells loves Tebow.”:
Normally, a 6-foot-3, 236-pound quarterback who started 41 major college games, winning all but five of those games, led his team to a national championship (and was a contributor to another), and won a Heisman Trophy is a rock solid first-round NFL draft pick.
Not to mention along the way, this guy threw for 9,285 yards, 88 touchdowns and just 16 interceptions, which is 28 more touchdowns and 11 fewer interceptions than Jimmy Clausen, who’s expected to go higher than him, and the exact number of touchdowns and interceptions as the top-rated quarterback in the draft, Sam Bradford, in his career.
Of course, I’m talking about Tim Tebow.
As we begin to close in on the 2010 NFL Draft, the debate rages on about Tebow’s ability to play in the NFL and where he should be selected. As one prominent NFL head coach told me today of his elongated throwing motion, which seems to be his biggest red flag, “Tim will not make his throwing an issue. He fixed it, and it has changed the evaluation of him.” Another head coach: “He is not typical, and the regular evaluation rules don’t apply to this guy.”
So how much credence goes into comments made by Tebow’s former Florida teammate, wide receiver Deonte Thompson, who, in a roundabout way, said last week that Tebow isn’t a “real quarterback”? According to one well respected general manager, none at all.
And when Bengals wide receiver Andre Caldwell says Tebow won’t be an elite passer, he didn’t say he couldn’t be an elite quarterback. There are plenty of guys with average throwing skills who can lead a team and win in the NFL (By the way, there are a few teams that believe Tebow can win games — lots of games in the NFL).
So what is the ideal situation for Tebow that gives him the best chance to be successful when he enters the league?
In my opinion not being a first-round pick would help his cause and keep early expectations down. Wherever he goes, a media circus will follow. And one GM at the NFL Annual Meeting last week told me he wants no part of it.
All three quarterbacks drafted in the first round last year — Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman — were on the field early. Tebow needs time to develop his craft, and being selected in the second or third round by a team with an established quarterback would be ideal. Going to a team with an unstable quarterback situation means fans and media will be calling for Tebow the second the starter begins to fall apart.
A team pressured by the need to sell tickets is not a good place for Tebow, who shouldn’t be viewed as a marketing tool but rather a developmental player requiring time for grooming. One front office executive who watched his performance at the Senior Bowl and his pro day said, “Tebow willed his throwing issue fixed.” I followed up that statement by asking if he could know for sure that Tebow won’t revert back to his old throwing habits when there is a pass rush in his face. The executive’s answer: “No one knows for sure, but I would bet on Tebow before a lot of guys with the same problem.”
It’s clear there is a market for Tebow, whose stock is on the rise. In January, people at the Senior Bowl thought they were looking at a fourth-round pick. At the NFL Scouting Combine, when he had a 38½-inch vertical, ran a 4.72-second 40-yard dash, 4.17 short shuttle, and a 9-7 broad jump, the talk turned to him being a late third rounder. Now Tebow’s pro day and personal visits with a few teams have left many thinking second round, and there is even some talk about the first round with three weeks left to go until draft day.