Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Senior Bowl Tebow: Draftniks Pounce

As soon as you saw last Friday's opening notes of experts coming out to bolster Tim Tebow's draft stock after weeks of expectations-dampening punishment -- a backlash, if you will -- you knew that the Senior Bowl would present the opportunity for a "backlash to the backlash."

And yesterday's performance by Tebow at the Senior Bowl allowed the draftniks to do just that: Question his fumbles during the center exchange, question his accuracy, question his mechanics.

He is a big enough story -- the most intriguing NFL Draft prospect of the 2010 Draft (and, arguably, ever) -- that I led my Sporting News column today with an argument that I think a lot of you will find familiar, but certainly in the new context of Senior Bowl Day 1 criticism:

Does it matter HOW Tim Tebow performs at the Senior Bowl this week?

Does it matter that in is first Senior Bowl practice, he bobbled the exchange with the center? Does it matter that his throws were inaccurate? Does it matter that gleeful draftniks took the moment to pounce?

No, for a couple of reasons:

*Expectations: Scouts had already battered Tebow's mechanics over the past few weeks to the point where his ability to merely walk without stumbling is a moral victory. Low expectations always help; nowhere to go but up.

*It was Day 1: Did scouts really expect Tebow to come in and seamlessly transition to a new style, with new players around him? No pre-draft rookie QB is instantly ready for the NFL. Give him a week... or three months... or three seasons.

*Tebow defies grading: Commensurate with his status as the Senior Bowl's -- and college football's -- biggest rock star, there is a strong chance that he could have mediocre workouts yet still go in the Draft's Top 10, to the Jaguars.

Undoubtedly, this drives the draftniks crazy, because it is irrational -- and because it makes their opinion about the most intriguing prospect in NFL Draft history irrelevant.

Draftniks have two choices: Bash Tebow and look like fools when he goes in the 1st round, or abandon their analysis and reflect more accurate "reality" in their mock draft. Either way, the only mockery is the draftnik-industrial complex.

It's fair to be torn about Tebow -- fans are close to 50/50 on whether he will be a "good" pro QB -- but that's what makes his NFL prospects so interesting. Unfortunately for them, draftniks aren't paid to be torn.
We will see what will happen today. But there are a couple of things we know: Tebow will perform better, if only because he will have another day of reps under his belt. It's still not clear that he even HAS to perform better. And this will drive the draft "experts" batty.


  1. From Dan's SN column:
    "In the morning, there was a creepy weigh-in for Tebow and the rest of the prospects, where they strip down to their skivvies and parade in front of leering middle-aged scouts."

    I literally LOL'd when I read that. Even if I weren't a Tebow fan, I think I'd still read your blogs & columns b/c of your writing style. Well done. (And I agree: the public weigh-in thing is creepy)

  2. Why is it so hard for a draftnik to just say "Tebow will not be a good full-time NFL QB, he may work as a situational QB, and he'll likely get drafted by the Jaguars at #10 for reasons beyond football." Case closed!