Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tim Tebow waits for NFL team with time and faith

GAINESVILLE — During the past four months, former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow has been scrutinized, criticized and sometimes maligned by NFL analysts, experts and former coaches in conversations over whether he can play the position in the NFL.

Sometime this week, he will find out which NFL team is willing to give him a chance. He has been projected anywhere from a risky late first-round pick to somewhere in the third round. But regardless of where he goes, this much seems clear: drafting Tebow will require a little faith, a great deal of patience and the willingness to be creative in using the left-handed quarterback who is considered by many a better runner than passer.

"I think the key is going to be where he goes," said ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski, a former NFL quarterback. "Does he go to a system where he can sit back and learn behind a veteran quarterback? I believe that if he's put on the field early, it will be a mistake. But it's also a mistake for almost any rookie to go on the field immediately. But I think Tim clearly needs that time to develop the fundamentals and the mechanics that are necessary to be consistently good in the National Football League."

And that in itself might hamper Tebow's draft status because many teams won't dole out first- or second-round money for a quarterback they don't think is ready to play any time soon.

"I think you have to draft players in the first two rounds that have legitimate shots at being a starter right away," said Todd McShay, who appears on ESPN and is the director of college football scouting for Scouts Inc. "And with Tim Tebow, at least in my opinion, you're talking about at least three years before he's ready to compete for a starting job at quarterback."

What the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner can bring immediately to an NFL team is the ability to run the wildcat formation and great skill in short-yardage situations. But that might not be enough.

"I'm not big on that; I'm not drafting a second-rounder to be a wildcat quarterback," veteran ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said. "I think it's a wasted pick to draft this kid just as a wildcat quarterback. I think Tim has got to develop into a starting quarterback to be worthy of being a second-round draft pick. I don't think he can be, others do. I think he can be a very successful H-back, and I think that's ultimately going to be where he settles in at the pro level."

Tebow's detractors say his throwing motion needs serious mechanical adjustments, but it's just one of many problems. He's left-handed, which some say is a deterrent in the NFL. In 2009, there were five lefties in the league, and some players and coaches say it's difficult to adjust to the deep throws of a left-handed quarterback because of the way the ball fades to the left and the different spin. If Tebow is the backup to a right-handed quarterback, it could be an issue, some say. His accuracy and velocity are major question marks, but Jaworski doesn't believe it's something that can't be corrected, citing as examples the improvement of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady over the years. "They didn't have exactly fireballing arms when they came into the league," he said.

Former Bucs coach and current ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden spent several days this spring working with Tebow in Tampa and has mentored him as he prepared for the draft. He's a big believer that Tebow has the ability to become a successful NFL quarterback.

"This is the most competitive guy that you'll ever meet," Gruden said. "There's an urgency about him; there's an unbelievable work ethic. He's been working relentlessly since the end of his Gators' career to get ready for this day. You want Tim Tebow on your football team. …

"I think somebody that's got a down-the-road philosophy or vision for him will take him. And they'll take him earlier than some people expect."

Tim Tebow waits for NFL team with time and faith 04/19/10 [Last modified: Monday, April 19, 2010 10:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  2. Lightning's Steve Yzerman enjoying Nikita Kucherov's scoring run

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, of Russia, celebrates after scoring a goal on the New Jersey Devils during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  3. Bucs journal: Offense needs to get off to a faster start

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The past two games have seen the Bucs offense muster furious rallies in the fourth quarter of losses, with 229 yards against the Patriots and a franchise-record 27 points against the Cardinals.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  4. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues

    Bucs

    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  5. Lightning's Steve Yzerman: Nikita Kucherov 'wants to be great'

    Blogs

    If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Nikita Kucherov joined Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux and Keith Tkachuk as the only players in the last 30 years to score a goal in each of his team's first six games.