Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tim Tebow vs. Todd McShay

I spend a lot of time pointing out Todd McShay as the standard-bearer of draftniks who think Tim Tebow has no ability to play QB in the NFL. This is for two reasons: (1) As ESPN's leading draftnik (sorry, Mel Kiper), he has the most dominant platform of anyone in the world related to the NFL Draft. (2) McShay continuously is willing to promote his opinion. Like so:

"He can’t play quarterback in the NFL, I’m convinced of it."

But, Todd: Tell us how you really feel. Can't put it any more clearly than that. As I've said before: It must drive McShay bonkers to get asked about Tebow's potential as an NFL QB when McShay is so clearly convinced Tebow has no potential as an NFL QB.

Because if a team is willing to take Tebow in the 1st round -- or even the 2nd round -- as a QB, that says less about the team doing the drafting than it does about about McShay's authority on the issue. And without authority, draftniks have... well, not much.

It IS a stretch to think that someone whose skills are so devalued by scouts -- at the game's most important position, no less -- could go in the 1st round of the NFL Draft... and, in my opinion, the Top 10. (You might say I'm convinced of it.)

But that's the weird Tebow exceptionalism at work. He is unlike any prospect -- QB or otherwise -- that has ever come through the NFL Draft, certainly at QB.

It's the same thing that has scouts -- virtually every one (even the anonymous ones) except McShay -- caveating all of their bearish analysis with "But I wouldn't bet against him."

Scouts and draftniks simply don't have the track record of accurately projecting NFL QBs to really make end-all-be-all pronouncements (particularly when you factor in how much context has to do with success).

I'm not saying that Tebow will be a starting QB in the NFL for 10 years -- few QBs are, whether they are taken at the top of the 1st round or at the end of the entire draft. Prospects with phenomenal NFL-ready tools have washed out; prospects with NFL-ready tools have slipped to the late rounds.

Prospects with some tools have been coached up (Matt Cassel), and some have been in terrible coaching situations and never reached their potential.

But I go back to that quote from Gene Smith from this morning: Tebow is willing to work and study as hard as any QB ever to get better. Provided he has the right coaching (and that's no guarantee), you can't say he won't have given himself the best shot possible.

But I'm willing to give him a few years to develop -- in the meantime, I hope that the team that drafts him is willing to deploy him innovatively in the short term. He can make a contribution immediately, while maintaining his potential to develop into an NFL quarterback.

I'm convinced of it.


  1. Breer has another short article on New England & Belichick being the best fit for Tebow. It's here:

    Speaking of Belichick: I've seen other coaches pointed out at the SB practices this week, but I don't remember anyone mentioning Belichick being there.

  2. Quote from your article:

    "Prospects with some tools have been coached up (Matt Cassell), and some have been in terrible coaching situations and never reached their potential."

    With this I also think of kinda like Aaron Rodgers (who sat behind Farve for years) and the second part I think of Brady Quinn. Who was an excellent QB at ND and has/had NFL potential but got caught up with the coaching mess at Cleveland.

    I think as long as people keep doubting that Tim isn't going to be an NFL QB the more he is going to work to prove them wrong. I believe he has just as much, if not more, potential as Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy and especially Jimmy Clausen.

  3. Todd McShay is an ass. I really dislike him.
    I can't wait until Timmy makes him eat his words, and I hope he chokes on them!!!

  4. McShay seemed to take the entire "Tebow can't be an NFL QB" to the absolute extreme today. It seems as if regardless of what happens between now and the draft, McShay has completely written Tebow's chances off. Not that he ever gave him much as it is, but it appears as if he believes there are absolutely zero at this point.

    What McShay fails to realize is what many others are saying though. There have been others in the past with awkward throwing motions. There have been those with bad footwork. There have been those with poor mechanics. Some of them have succeeded. But to McShay, Tebow cannot for some reason.

    On the other side of the coin, there have also been those with great abilities that didn't pan out. Take a look at another former Gator. Rex Grossman. Scouts were in awe of how quick he got rid of the ball. His release was basically the anti-Tebow. Grossman ended up going in the 1st round. 7 years later and he has a career rating of 69.5 and is a backup. Of course, backups still cash checks.

    There's nothing wrong with McShay pointing out the negatives to a player's game - after all, that's part of his job - but it's the conviction of his prediction that's rubbing people the wrong way. There is no doubt in his mind Tebow won't succeed as a QB. I wonder how many other times he's been wrong? I'd imagine it's probably very close to 50-50 when all is said and done. About as good as any of us might be at simply picking game winners.

  5. My biggest problem with McShay is that he is using Tebow struggling at this moment to base Tebow's entire career on.. Tebow just started reworking his throwing motion.. AND he was ILL.. why not just say "from what Tebow is showing now he doesn't look like an NFL QB... BUT by draft time he might look totally different."

    I also wonder why Meyer hasn't come out against a clown like McShay? Someone seriously needs to put him in his place.. he's a scout. Even NFL coaches aren't the definitive word on who will or won't make it.

    I can't wait to hear how MCShay will say Tebow is being carried in the NFL when he dominates there too...

  6. Theres now a group in facebook entitled " Todd McShay hates Tim Tebow" Why is he down grading him? the ALpha dog that he is, is basing everything on 4 days of practice?? I mean practice?? the Kid will probably play well at the actual Senior Bowl and go home and laugh at McShay for being downsizing him. Tim will get better from whatever ailment hes got going on then practice throwing somewhere in D1 Tenn. get even better at his throwing motion. Combine comes then he excites eveyone again and then Draft day! I mean dont write him off McShay! he just started. I hope when Mcshay's has a kid who starts school he doesnt write his kid off as a "failure" " this kid will never make it" in life at kindegaten?!!