Saturday, January 23, 2010

NFL Tebow: Next Vince Young?

Tim Tebow and Vince Young had similar profiles coming out of college: They put up prolific stats, they played in friendly "systems," and they were both massive winners. That's why when you see rankings of the top college football player of the past decade, it usually went TT-VY as 1-2.

Interestingly, when Young went into the NFL, the only question was how high he should go. Some thought the Texans should take him No. 1 overall. He eventually went to the Titans at No. 3 overall, and plenty of people thought he was a steal -- confirmed when he won Rookie of the Year.

But Young's mechanics were questionable. His football IQ was bashed from all sides when his alleged Wonderlic score (appallingly low) was leaked. And yet there was little question that he was a 1st-round talent and a "game-changing" NFL QB.

As it turns out, Young had trouble after that rookie season -- last season, he was even benched, buried deep behind Kerry Collins, who led the Titans to an incredibly successful season. It was only this season -- after Titans' winlessness made it a "nothing left to lose" proposition -- did VY get the job back. He turned it into a Pro Bowl-worthy run of starts.

Interestingly, it's not like he redefined the QB position this season. In fact, with Jeff Fisher, Young was a game manager, if anything. Get the ball to all-world playmaker Chris Johnson and otherwise try not to lose the game with dumb turnovers. (Young did have that sick last-minute 90-yard game-winning TD drive against the Cardinals, a career highlight.)

So the question is: Why don't scouts see Tim Tebow's potential in the same way they see Young's? Is it just a question of mechanics? Isn't that the easiest thing to fix?

Anyway: NFL.com's Gil Brandt -- perhaps my favorite person at the league, from the year I worked there -- has been bullish on Tebow from the start, projecting him as a 1st-round pick when others were grading him out as a 3rd-rounder. (It happens to be that Brandt also decides what players come to NYC for the Draft, and I would be stunned if Tebow wasn't in that group, no matter where he is projected to get drafted) -- gets asked about Tebow all the time, and he compared him to Young:
"Tim’s situation is just like Vince Young. Just like they have Tim, people doubted (Vince). And we now have a lot of negative Vince Young people becoming positive Vince Young people because of his success."
Just one more data point, heading into next week's Senior Bowl mayhem.

2 comments:

  1. I've seen TT compared to VY many times & they've always reminded me of each other. Both QB's that like to run & are very good at it. What I don't understand is why TT is downgraded so much b/c of his mechanics & judgment issues. Things like height & being injury-prone are biological & can't be changed. But mechanics & judgment CAN be changed, so I've never understood why so many 'experts' see them as insurmountable. It's not like TT has a reputation for being a slacker whose unwilling to put in the work to improve his flaws.
    For whatever reason, the vaunted Mel Kiper Jr didn't think as little of VY as he does of TT. In 1/06 he picked VY to be the 3rd pick of the draft:
    http://www.sportsagentblog.com/2006/01/18/mel-kipers-initial-prediction/

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  2. In case anyone doesn't know, the NFL Channel is supposed to show the practices for the Senior Bowl this week, starting 1/25 afternoon. They're also going to have a show on each night called 'Path to the Draft' that includes recaps of the SB practices. Here's the network schedule:

    http://www.nfl.com/nflnetwork/networkschedule?selectedMonth=January&field=selectedDate&selectedDate=01%2F25%2F2010

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