Friday, January 8, 2010

NFL Tebow: Theory vs. Reality

Been sitting on this CBSSports.com column by Clark Judge about NFL scouts' problem with Tim Tebow for a few days, and I just want to make a few points:

*One of the most fascinating things -- if not THE most fascinating things -- about Tim Tebow's draft status is that he uniquely defies traditional scouting reports.

Scouts and draftniks pinpoint problems with his mechanics, then grade him out as no better than a 2nd-round pick, maybe 3rd.

And yet, in what I'm quite sure is to their consternation, Tebow is going to be a 1st-round pick. Probably a top-half-of-the-1st pick, possibly a Top 10 pick overall.

This must drive the scouts and draftniks bonkers, if for no other reason than it creates a cognitive dissonance: Their opinions are dismissed.

And if their opinions can be so easily dismissed -- whether an owner loves Tebow's attitude or is sure he's a "winner" or likes his potential as a superback or just sees marketing appeal -- what good are they?

I have said this for months: It is going to be hilarious to see the draftniks have to adjust their rigorous rankings and grades to fit the reality of their mock draft lists.

Consider that for a second: Scouts like to claim that Tebow's appeal is qualitative, but the analysis of the tape shows the reality.

When in fact: The scouts' analysis is the vapid theory, and Tebow's draft status is the only reality that matters.

And so even though a McShay or Kiper has Tebow graded -- in their expert analysis -- as a 2nd-round talent, they will have to list him in the mock-draft Top 10.

Why? Because they don't want their mock drafts to be wrong. That, more than Tebow's projected struggles as a pro, is considered a greater test of their value as draftniks than their scouting.

And it's not the mere optics of mock-draft listings and results: Tebow actually will be a 1st-round pick. Again: Imagine the cognitive dissonance the draftniks have to navigate.

The point is this: Scouts can say that Tebow doesn't grade out as a 1st-rounder, but that is entirely inconsequential.

All that matters is if he is a 1st-rounder, period. Is a team reaching? Who cares? At least one team will value him enough -- for whatever reason -- to take him in the 1st round.

And probably high in the 1st round.

No matter what the scouts tell them.

That is the disconnect between the draftniks' theory and the reality of the draft.

Will Tebow have to work on his mechanics? Of course! No one disputes this. And Tebow himself has said he'll work as hard as he can at the position -- do you doubt him?

Short of Tebow stubbornly believing that he actually is perfectly capable as an NFL QB right now, as-is (which he has never said), there is no reason to believe he can't -- with appropriate NFL coaching -- will himself to get better. No one will work harder at it.

Frankly, I'm surprised that more scouts haven't hopped on the Kiper/McShay bandwagon and suggested that Tebow absolutely has a future as an NFL player, but only as an unprecedentedly versatile QB-RB-TE "superback" (which will take a confident and innovative coach).

The scouts Judge talks to seem to think that in a year, Tebow could actually develop into a full-time NFL QB. (How many QBs start their rookie year anyway? Hell, Matt Leinart has been a pro for four years and still isn't very good.)

Anyway, I just wanted to note that Tim Tebow's mechanics may bother scouts, and they may not give him a 1st-round grade.

But that won't keep him from being a 1st-round pick.

I'm with Meyer: I think that Tebow needs the right coach and the right system. To start, right out of the gate, he can be a contributor as this novel QB-RB-TE "superback" hybrid. But at the same time, he can be working on his mechanics, footwork, reads -- a few years later, he will be ready to start.

If the team that drafts him isn't willing to give him that innovative use or that intensive training and he ends up a quote-unquote "bust," the nano-second he is released, Bill Belichick will sign him and unleash his potential.

Belichick will remind you to just ask the scouts who graded Tom Brady an unremarkable 6th-rounder.

3 comments:

  1. "Their opinions are dismissed."

    If your blog hadn't already been one of my favorites, it would have been after reading this post. Well done.

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  2. Well Done Mr. Shanoff. I commend you for this post...

    "I'm with Meyer: I think that Tebow needs the right coach and the right system. To start, right out of the gate, he can be a contributor as this novel QB-RB-TE "superback" hybrid. But at the same time, he can be working on his mechanics, footwork, reads -- a few years later, he will be ready to start.

    If the team that drafts him isn't willing to give him that innovative use or that intensive training and he ends up a quote-unquote "bust," the nano-second he is released, Bill Belichick will sign him and unleash his potential."

    You took the words right out of my mouth.
    My fingers, toes and whatever else that can be crossed, are crossed, hoping that Timmy goes to the Patriots.

    And then I am moving back to Boston!!! ;)

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  3. Tebow is going to shock the world when he gets to the NFL. For some reason Tebow's value has been diminished over the years in people's minds. The more successful the team got the more people began to believe that Tebow was just a lucky "leader" on the most talented team in college football with the most brilliant innovate genius college coach ever... when it's the complete opposite. Tebow has been carrying this team on his back from the beginning. People don't realize how good he makes the players around him look because of how focused teams are on stopping him.

    For some reason people don't seem to understand that Tebow has never had a true between the tackles runner since he has been there. That is why he had to fill that role himself. And that took a huge toll on him physically. If he has a great runner... or even good.. that will take a huge load off him both running AND passing the ball.

    Another gripe of mine! Mel Kiper was recently trying to devalue Tebow's accomplishment in the Sugar Bowl by saying Tebow was lucky to be laying a terrible defense... newsflash! All the "great" QBs outside the SEC racked up all their stats against terrible defenses too.. yet you don't hear Kiper or other scouts talking about that and explaining why Tebow's relatively lower stats should ignored for this reason.

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