He needs time. He needs to sit behind one of those good quarterbacks for about three years because I know he's going to put in the work and the effort to be a great quarterback. He's going to learn. I don't think he's going to be an elite passer ever. But he's a playmaker. He'll get the ball there. He probably can't make the prettiest looking passes. But he's going to use what he has to his advantage--running, scrambling, making passes. He's got a strong arm and I think he can make the throws, but they may not be the prettiest.To Bubba's credit, the Herald's Joe Goodman calls that "the best explanation of Tebow's abilities that I've heard." Agreed: Chalk one up for nuance!
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Given Belichick's (and Bob Kraft's) close relationship with Urban Meyer -- not to mention Belichick's longtime fascination with the implications for the single-wing in the NFL behind a bruising dual-threat QB -- the Pats' attention on Tebow is not surprising.
The Patriots have 3 2nd-round picks -- and there has been wide speculation that they might leverage those picks into selecting Tebow. Two issues:
(1) Tebow could be gone in the 2nd round before their picks come into play, forcing them to trade up to get him.
(2) Tebow may not make it to the 2nd round, period. His stock continues to climb, to the point where you are hearing mainstream outlets speculate on a 1st-round selection.
The big question: Given the Patriots' other pressing needs, would they use their No. 22 overall selection on Tebow? Or would they give up any of their 2nd-round picks to move up into the end of the 1st round to get him?
Don't discount one interesting thing: The Patriots hold the Raiders' 1st-round pick in the 2011 Draft.
If the Patriots really are serious about getting Tebow -- even if it has to happen in the 1st round -- they could use that Raiders 1st in '11 to make a move, either moving the Raiders' pick itself or their own 1st in 2011 (while holding on to the Raiders' pick).
The 1st round of the NFL Draft is in 23 days.
Monday, March 29, 2010
The Bills are arguably the most intriguing team that has been connected to Tebow.
Start with this: They hold the 9th overall pick of the Draft, along with the 9th pick of the 2nd round.
Could/would the Bills possibly take Tebow with the 9th overall pick? Because here's the reality: I don't think Tebow will be around for the 9th pick of the 2nd round, when the Bills come up again.
The Bills need a long-term solution at QB. More than that, they need a face of the franchise -- and Tebow instantly gives them that. They have a new coach, a QB-development specialist.
Here's the downside: Is there a tougher weather environment to play in than Buffalo, where 8 games a year are (a) in the cold and (b) in swirling winds?
Logically, that doesn't make a lot of sense for Tebow, who has only known (mostly) sunshine and high temperatures, with very low wind variability.
Also, even if you're bullish on Tebow, you agree that he needs at least a season -- if not two -- to hone his skills. Can the Bills afford to wait that long for his development?
(I would argue: Yes, completely. They aren't going to challenge for a Super Bowl title -- probably even the playoffs -- for years, no matter who the QB is. So why not bring Tebow along slowly?)
Back to the draft question: Even if the Bills figured out that Tebow can tame the unique Buffalo stadium conditions, would they actually use that No. 9 overall pick on him?
Well, that would certainly make the Bills the story of the 2010 Draft. And if they are looking for buzz -- positive and, potentially, negative -- and are looking for a face for the franchise...
Sunday, March 28, 2010
I continue to find it interesting that people think it's some kind of reach that Tebow will go at the back of Round 1 or the start of Round 2. That's exactly where I've said he'll go, for months.
What folks seem to discount -- continually (and I'm not talking about PFT specifically, but every draftnik or "info guy" or expert) -- is what an exceptional case this is with Tebow.
Tebow's situation is unprecedented in the history of the NFL or NFL Draft: Not just the most successful but the most popular player in college football history, a player whose college stats indicate future NFL success, a player who has more interest in him than any draft prospect ever.
As we get closer to the Draft, I will go back through the brief history of Tebow's draft stock. But he was ALWAYS going to end up at the end of Round 1 or the beginning of Round 2. Even after the Senior Bowl. That's the nature of his draft stock: Only going up.
Someone will take a chance, particularly after they see the progress he has made after just a few weeks of intensive workouts -- presumably just a fraction of the development time he will have following being drafted.
Part of the psychology of that draft stock always rising is that a team thinks it can be the one to "turn" him. But part of it is that there is a team that thinks he will be fine -- no "turning" necessary. Part of it is that they see how he can contribute in all sorts of innovative ways.
Part of it is that, suddenly, the QB draft class looks mediocre -- taking a "risk" on Tebow isn't any bigger than risking it on Clausen or McCoy or even gimpy-shouldered Bradford. And next season -- beyond Jake Locker and, perhaps, John Brantley -- the class looks pretty thin, too. And so all of a sudden, giving Tebow 2 years to develop doesn't seem so risky.
And, yes, part of it is a team recognizing that Tebow brings an unprecedented level of fanatic following to the team.
I just don't get why everyone is so surprised that his stock is rising.
Perhaps the most exceptional thing about Tebow is the way that he has absolutely defied the bearish pronouncements of the draftnik-industrial complex.
Again: Tebow's draft stock is not going to drop. Period. At worst, he is a top-of-the-2nd-round pick. And, based on his current trajectory, being picked in the 1st round is not out of the question at all.
Folks should stop talking about it like it is some kind of shock or surprise.
(The signings get a bad rap from Tebow-haters. Yesterday, Tebow also met with a group from the Special Olympics and made a $50,000 donation to his foundation. And he did a "Gator Walk"-style "Tebow Walk" to shake hands and stayed until everyone in line had their stuff signed.
(More from the event from Volin, who was on the scene for the hometown Palm Beach Post.)
Saturday, March 27, 2010
The Seahawks, of course, were one of the "Gang of Six" teams that had publicly expressed interest in Tebow -- through a private workout or other signaling.
The Seahawks also emerged as an intriguing contender to draft Tebow this week when Bob Tebow was quoted that Tebow was a lock for the Top 15 of the draft.
The Seahawks are the team with picks between 11 and 15 most likely to take Tebow.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Let's start with the floor: Tebow will not go later than the top few picks of the 2nd round.
But the real question is the ceiling Could Tebow go in the 1st -- not just the 1st, but the top half?
If the Tebow team was convinced he was going in the 1st round, they would definitely have him in NYC for what would be a triumphant moment.
(Nevermind that I strongly believe he should be in NYC for the unprecedented prime-time 2nd round, which will be The Tebow Show, if he wants it to be.)
The folks at Pro Football Talk -- hardly a place of Tebow partisanship -- thinks there is something to the 1st-round talk.
Let's scan picks 11-15:
(11) Broncos: Just traded for Brady Quinn. Nope.
(12) Dolphins: Henne. Spent a 2nd on White. Nope.
(13) 49ers: Not drafting another Meyer QB.
(14) Seahawks: Hmm.
(15) Giants: Backup to Eli? Not as a 1st.
The Seahawks are intriguing. Pete Carroll has already indicated his interest in giving Tebow an individual workout. But Carroll just traded for Charlie Whitehurst. And Tebow doesn't really fit the Carroll mold of "USC statuesque" QB. But Tebow fits Carroll's rah-rah cultural style. And the Seahawks have two 1st-round picks. They can go OT (safe) with pick 1, then Tebow.
The other option is that a wildcard (not necessarily Wild Card) team would trade up into the 11-15 range to get Tebow. Besides the Broncos last year, NFL teams horde those 1st-round picks -- they don't come cheap and they don't get used unless a team REALLY wants a player.
That said: All signs point to at least one NFL team ending up REALLY wanting Tebow. Perhaps even enough to trade up into the 1st round.
Will he go Top 15? For a long time, I thought he was a lock to the Jags at No. 10 -- not so much anymore. Will he go 1st round? I'm skeptical, but I certainly wouldn't rule it out.
Here's what we know: If 32 1st-round slots come and go and Tebow hasn't been picked, there will be a frenzied scrum to get to the top of the 2nd round the next day to get him.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
-- Tim Tebow, on Deonte Thompson's comments that John Brantley was a "real" quarterback. This incited a two-layer kerfluffle:
(1) That Thompson might have been slighting Tebow. My feeling is that Thompson didn't intend a slight, and that Tebow's read is the same as mine: Brantley is - for lack of a better phrase - a more "traditional" QB than Tebow was. I don't think anyone will dispute this.
In fact, I have said here repeatedly that by the end of the 2010 season, Brantley will be the No. 2-rated NFL QB prospect for the 2011 Draft, behind Jake Locker (not unlike Mark Sanchez's one-year leap).
(2) This thing yesterday where Urban Meyer went off on the Sentinel's Jeremy Fowler for printing the Thompson quote. Urban can do what he wants, frankly; similarly, it's not Fowler's job to make Meyer happy. Here's the thing:
The original sin here wasn't Fowler quoting Thompson; it was everyone in sports media totally mis-reading Thompson's quote, for maximum sensationalism. That, in turn, brought out Meyer's defensiveness (or attempt to re-frame power over the media in the post-Tebow era).
As with the ridiculous Wonderlic anecdote yesterday, let's let Tebow have the last word -- and the role of cooling off over-heated media... and coaches.
(h/t: PB Post)
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
It's a show of respect to Florio -- and it is a show of how secure (not to mention media-savvy) Tebow is to call Florio directly to debunk the rumor, after it became the odd sports meme of the day. Florio stands by his sources but also can't deny the sincerity of Tebow's denials -- which included giving names of guys in the room that Florio could call to confirm Tebow's story. I think that short of the guy who was alleged to have said the quote coming forward with another story, you have to trust Tebow.
By the way: What a smart move by Tebow to call PFT directly. I cannot remember an athlete's scandal-management -- even when the "scandal" is hardly a scandal -- as facile and savvy as Tebow displayed this afternoon. That's how seriously Tebow (and Team Tebow) take his reputation. Tiger Woods -- and every other athlete -- could take a lesson.
Even if it reinforces that, indeed, Tebow has never called the editor of THIS blog....
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the underground Tebow story that is going around the Internet this morning, via Pro Football Talk:
Apparently, the day of the Wonderlic, Tebow and his fellow draft prospects were about to take the test and Tebow asked if there could be a moment of prayer before the test.
The response from one fellow draftee: "Shut the f--- up."
Tebow fans and the Tebow-fatigued alike should never be surprised at any forms of hostility or mockery directed at Tebow -- frankly, that's been happening online for years.
There's quite a bit of schadenfreude resulting from the quote -- although not even close to the level during the whole "Tebow crying" thing after the SEC championship game.
As with everything Tebow, it is going to get way more attention than any other player would get. And it cuts to a lot of the controversy regarding Tebow's demonstrative display of values.
It strikes me as more an example of Tebow schadenfreude than a larger issue about Tebow's style and how it might translate in a pro setting.
I have a couple of other responses:
*From Tebow's perspective -- knowing who he is -- it couldn't hurt to ask. He probably didn't foresee the level of vitriol coming back at him, but maybe he probably should have.
*Tebow would never have done it -- wrong time and place, for starters -- but I'd be curious if that player (will we find out who it was?) would say that to Tebow's face in a different setting.
What I mean by that is -- not that Tebow would ever kick someone's ass for mocking him -- Tebow could have knocked that dude the f--- out, to repeat the salty language. Anyone doubt it?
We have never really seen personally vengeful Tebow -- aside from that altogether more fun unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty in the 2008 season national title game.
I suspect there would be a whole lot of Biblical-level whooping going on. Again: Not that he would ever engage in that. He is much too disciplined.
Last thought: Not that I doubt Tebow's ability to focus, but if the story is true, is it possible that the pre-test interaction bothered him enough to knock a couple of points off his test score?
Per Fowler at the Sentinel, Tebow's agent Jimmy Sexton confirmed that Tebow was doing some promotional work for EA last week. Tebow wouldn't do that unless there was something there.
Last year, in the days leading up to the Draft, EA held an event in NYC for its NCAA Football 2010 cover athletes -- along with other college stars.
Even if Tebow doesn't decide to come to New York for the Draft, if he was going to be on the cover of the EA game, he would definitely come to New York for that promotional event.
I still think he will come to New York for the event -- the context of the Draft has changed so dramatically from even a year ago; the 2nd round is its own event.
Besides: Tebow is THE star of the Draft, wherever he is taken. Even if he doesn't go in the 1st round, his draft status for the 2nd will be the biggest storyline of Thursday night/Friday.
As much as anyone, Team Tebow should realize that Tebow's case is entirely exceptional, in every way -- and that includes a 2nd-rounder/backup QB being a video-game cover star.
Faked Photoshop via TebowZone.com
"Somebody, I think, is going to take him in the first round. I'd be surprised if by the end of the first round somebody hasn't taken him. ... And I think it will pay off for them."
-- Tony Dungy, on Tim Tebow. I wouldn't go that far. I'd be surprised if Tebow DID go in the 1st round, although I don't disagree with Dungy about Tebow's pro potential.
(Dungy also brings up that draftniks doubted Steve Young, who didn't blossom until he was -- go figure -- in the right context: Playing for the greatest offensive mind in NFL history.)
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The Patriots coach is very close to Florida coach Urban Meyer, and had -- numerous times -- talked about how intrigued he was by Tebow, particularly in creating favorable mismatches using a mobile QB.
In fact, Belichick's praise of Tebow was a huge reason why -- for a long time (going back to September 2008) -- I was entirely convinced that the Patriots would be the team to draft him.
I also continue to think that Belichick is, by far, the best coach for Tebow in the NFL. And, for Tebow more than any other player, coaching context will matter.
Belichick is not only the most innovative head coach in the league, but he has complete job security. That is the ultimate combination to maximize the value of Tebow. In turn, Tebow -- and Meyer -- trust Belichick implicitly to maximize Tebow's talents.
Here is what Belichick had to say about Tebow, following Tebow's workout for the Patriots this weekend:
Great career, great player. I think it’s obvious that within the last six weeks, that he’s worked on his mechanics and they’ve improved, which is a credit to him. He’s very coachable and he works very hard. I’m sure that whatever he feels he needs to do, he’ll work very hard at, whatever that is. Athletically, he tested very well at the combine, which you can see on the field.The Patriots certainly have enough draft picks in the 2nd round to make a play for Tebow. It isn't Belichick's style to trade up, but he might have to, if he really wants to take Tebow.
My sense of Tim Tebow is that if you asked him to play nose, he’d play nose. I think he’s that kind of kid. Whatever you ask him to do, I think he’d do.
I honestly think that Belichick would unleash Tebow on the league in a way that no other NFL coach could or would. It's not just using him as a QB, but anywhere. (By the way, while there's no way that Belichick pulls Brady on 4th-and-2 against the Colts, I think that if Brady was unavailable, Belichick is entirely confident he could have devised a scheme for Tebow to get those 2 yards and seal the game's result in favor of the Pats.)
Here is arguably the biggest takeaway: There is no more powerful endorsement -- at least for the media continuously re-framing Tebow's draft status -- like that of Belichick.
And even if Belichick is playing pre-draft mind-games -- and, although the NFL is all-business (and Belichick the most all-business of anyone in the league), I cannot see him abusing his close relationship with Urban Meyer by using Tebow to angle for other, non-Tebow draft dealing -- his comments will give Tebow's draft stock a huge boost.
I suppose it is possible that Tebow doesn't want to be stuck in the green room into the 2nd round. But if that is his motivation, I think he is mis-reading the new context.
The new format of the Draft -- without precedent, in any sport -- means that even if he doesn't go in the 1st round, he can be the star of the 2nd round, held on Friday.
If he isn't taken, Tebow's draft status will be THE storyline following the 1st round -- not Sam Bradford going No. 1, not anything else.
And the clamor around who might take him in the 2nd round -- how high he might go -- will be the topic people want to talk about right up until he is drafted.
By attending -- even if he lays low on Thursday and doesn't actually sit in the green room -- he will benefit from all of that.
Let's offer two alternatives:
(1) Skip the 1st round, banking on the idea that he won't be selected in the 1st, but fly up to NYC for the 2nd round; everyone wants to see it.
(2) Show up for the 1st round, but skip the green room and instead crash the ESPN broadcast table, asking for a seat. Then proceed to talk about all the teams and draftees.
But there are plenty of options related to attending, besides this knee-jerk idea from the experts that Tebow will be sitting glumly in the green room, looking like a loser.
Everything about Tebow's pre-NFL career -- all three months of it -- has been marked by insane amounts of interest. Why would that change on Draft Days?
Monday, March 22, 2010
The NFL Draft's a month from today, and this weekend has proven one thing to me: Tim Tebow's going higher than we thought he would.
Even after Tebow performed with much-improved mechanics in his on-campus pro day Wednesday in Gainesville, I thought it might be good enough to get him into the second round, but who wanted to spend a second-rounder in a very deep draft on a guy you might need to redshirt for two years?
But something interesting has happened this weekend. Most agents are happy to tell you where their client will be visiting before the draft and which teams he'll be working out for. A top player is usually happy to talk about a conversation he had with Bill Belichick or advice he got on how to throw the ball from Mike Holmgren. Not Tebow's agent Jimmy Sexton over the weekend. And not Tebow. Both said they'd like to keep the opinions from the teams to themselves, and they'd like to keep which teams are interested to themselves, partly because the teams had requested as much.
Of course, it's an open secret that Washington coach Mike Shanahan worked out Tebow in Gainesville on Saturday, and that Cleveland, Seattle, New England and Buffalo will either do so or already have. But you won't get that from the Tebow camp.
What this tells me is teams interested in Tebow don't want the other teams interested in Tebow to know how interested they are. If, for instance, the Seahawks want to add Tebow to the Matt Hasselbeck/Charlie Whitehurst stable and they hold the 60th overall pick in Round 2 (which I now think will be too low for Tebow), they don't want to telegraph their interest in case they plan to try to move into the 40s to get him. With New England having three picks in the second round (44, 47, 53), the Patriots could be in prime position to take Tebow and groom him as either a long-term replacement for Tom Brady (I don't buy that, with Brady wanting to play eight more years) or as a durable, versatile offensive weapon who could play multiple positions.
I now think Tebow's going in the 28 to 45 range, to a team willing to be patient with him at quarterback and maybe to allow him to help the team in other ways immediately. That's how much he helped himself with the aggressive remaking of his throwing motion at his workout Wednesday.
"I got a lot of slack out of my motion,'' he told me Sunday night. "I'm holding it higher, releasing it quicker. It's kind of like in golf, not going back as far on your backswing. I'm not going back as far with my arm, but I don't feel I'm losing any power or any accuracy when I throw.''
I asked Tebow if he thought he'd be a first-round pick, and there was a long pause.
"Heh-heh,'' he said, chuckling a little uncomfortably. "Not sure. Good question. I believe with all my heart that I'll be an NFL quarterback, but who takes me, and where, I don't know.''
What you don't see too often is a full-throated defense of Tebow's NFL potential. Well, now you've got one, from one of the most trusted sources in NFL analysis: Cold Hard Football Facts.
I had been waiting for CHFF to dig into the Tebow debate, and they deliver with a serious argument that not only will Tebow do fine, but that he is undervalued.
But Tebow didn't just put up big stats ... he put up supremely efficient stats. He was more accurate, and produced more big passing plays, and was more likely to put the ball in the end zone, and more likely to keep it out of the hands of opposing defenders, than any of the recent collection of No. 1 passing phenoms to come out of the SEC.Tebow was, by any measure, a better player, a better quarterback and, yes, a better passer than any of these No. 1 picks.
Meanwhile, I did not know that Charlie Casserly said that Tebow would be drafted no earlier than the 4th round. Not "He's a 4th-round talent," which is how McShay and Kiper feel about it.
But even those two draftniks have come around to the idea that Tebow's draft stock is way ahead of the less bullish analysis that is out there from scouts.
I stand by my latest projection: Top of the 2nd round. Perhaps not the first pick of the 2nd round, but no more than 10 picks into the 2nd round.
Friday, March 19, 2010
"Those [comments] were way out of proportion, he's not going to be an NFL quarterback. Wherever he goes, he's going to make that team better because he's such a competitor and a great person."
Thursday, March 18, 2010
The Redskins have the 5th pick of the 2nd round, the Browns have the 6th, the Bills have the 9th. The Seahawks have two 1st-round picks, neither of which I predict will be used on Tebow, and a late-2nd. I don't think Tebow will still be around at that point, and I'm also unclear why Pete Carroll is looking at Tebow; Tebow doesn't seem to be his kind of "classic" QB.
Let's keep an eye on the wild card: The Patriots have 3 2nd-round picks, and I am coming around to my original theory that dates back at least a year, if not further: The Patriots will end up drafting Tebow.
The only question is whether Belichick is willing to trade up closer to the top of the 2nd round, because that's where I predict he goes -- I don't think he lasts past the Bills. (The Jaguars have no 2nd-round pick, but could certainly trade up.)
Those were the terms of engagement -- of expectations -- and they were set not by Tebow or his team, but by the NFL draftniks who drilled him during and after the Senior Bowl.
Ironically, it was that group that created expectations so low that ANY improvement would be considered tremendous improvement.
And it allows the storyline to progress like this: If this is how much he improved after a month, how much better can he get after 3 months, 9 months, a year -- even two years?
You can see the benefit of these low initial expectations -- and new momentum for Tebow's draft potential -- in the comments coming out of the Pro Day event. A sampling:
"From the Senior Bowl to now, the improvement is ridiculous. I was blown away. ... What he's done in six weeks with that delivery and his footwork is a testament to his coaches and the fact he's willing to work so hard." (NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock)
"I think he’s more compact and he looks more comfortable in his sets. Everything’s just tighter and more compact. I think it was a good first step. He still has a long way to go, and none of it is battle-tested in game experience, but I think if you’re a team seriously considering drafting him, today was positive in that you saw he accepted he has to work on certain areas, he’s been working on them, and he’s making strides." (Todd McShay, to the Palm Beach Post)
"He had a very good workout. I saw some adjustments he made and thought he executed very well." (Panthers coach John Fox)
"I know he's been working at it, and if anybody can do it, it would be him. He certainly has a will to prepare. People say there's always exceptions to the rule. If there's going to be one at the quarterback spot, it will be him." (Jaguars GM Gene Smith)
"You can tell he's trying to make adjustments to his motion. That seems to be what people are fired up about, and he's working very hard to do that, and it showed today. I thought he had a pretty good workout." (Browns president Mike Holmgren)
"I don't think it's dramatic. I'd say there are subtle differences and those of who know the position a little bit and have coached the position a little bit saw it." (Holmgren)
"He came out, did what he had to do. He's a talented guy, he's a popular guy, he's a sharp guy, he's a smart guy, he's had success all his career and I'm sure nothing will be different when he goes to the next level." (Bucs coach Raheem Morris)
"He didn't revert to any of his old habits today; he really had a nice day. ... He's a quarterback. He's where he should be right now." (Tebow tutor Zeke Bratkowski)
I'll leave the last word to Tebow, who affirms my theory at the top:
"I think that’s the great thing about work ethic is when you want to change something, if you work on it enough it will change. … I wanted to prove that I’ve gotten better and that's all I’ve really been thinking about."
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Typically, a player without a guaranteed place in the 1st round would not be invited. But between Tebow's celebrity -- he is clearly the most popular and well-known player in the Draft class -- and the draft's new format, inviting him was obvious.
Even if Tebow doesn't go in the 1st round, the new three-day format would create entirely new anticipation for the top of the 2nd round, which happens on Friday.
In fact, I would argue that Tebow not taken in the 1st round will be the biggest storyline following the 1st round -- that is, the anticipation of where he might go in Round 2. Those with "Tebow fatigue" will hate it, but that's going to be the story.
There is an interesting argument to be made that with all of the 1st-rounders gone, Tebow has the entire stage to himself heading into the draft's second day.
That makes it a terrific move for the NFL to invite him -- and for Tebow to enthusiastically accept.
Yes: His mechanics are improved. Are they flawless? No. Do they need to be? No.
That's where the draftniks -- who seem to evaluate Tebow based on his ability to immediately step in and start in the NFL -- are so off-base.
The point I've been trying to make recently is that all he needs to show is directional improvement; he has 18-24 months of dedicated training from his NFL coaching staff to get better.
So the big question is: Can he be even a LITTLE bit improved with just a few weeks of coaching? The answer seems to be yes.
Meanwhile, plenty of coaches and team scouts in attendance -- obviously, they are not there to look at Tebow exclusively.
But it is worth wondering if Tebow made enough of an impression on Panthers coach John Fox to get Carolina into the Tebow derby.
Again, I doubt he will move up into the 1st round -- even the tail end of the 1st round. But I think there will be a scrum at the top of the 2nd to get him. All it takes is two teams to create a scrum.
UPDATE: Here's Adelson's report. Great stuff in here.
Per @osaadelson -- the Twitter feed of Andrea Adelson of the Orlando Sentinel, a must-follow. You should also follow @onlygators. Both are at The Swamp and filing regular reports via Twitter.
If you are going to be there, shoot over an email with your attendance estimate.
Much more later this morning.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
While you wait, here is a very thoughtful (and long) post from TeamSpeedKills about the whole Tebow-Meyer-NFL development story. Kneejerk analysis is the coin of the realm, but sometimes, a few weeks to digest can result in some really terrific work, as you'll see in that piece.
BTW: Can we all agree that when John Brantley steps in next year and just kills it -- and I'm talking about being so effective that NFL scouts are talking about him being a 1st-round pick NEXT year, not in 2012 (not unlike the leap made by USC's Mark Sanchez) -- that this meme will end? Brantley has more natural NFL QB potential than any Florida QB in generations.
Get ready for tomorrow.
Monday, March 15, 2010
At the event, Tebow will unveil his modified mechanics. Obviously, it's just a start, to be continued throughout private workouts with individual teams.
But the meme of Tebow's draft-stock revitalization begins on Wednesday. As I have said: His stock won't get worse from its current "2nd round" status.
I think, at worst, he goes at or near the top of the 2nd round after a frenzied night of trade discussions among plenty of interested teams.
But depending on what happens on Wednesday, I would say the 1st round isn't entirely out of the question (although it remains a long shot).
ESPN.com's Woj has a good take that helps set the context for Wednesday. Suffice to say, Gene is a Tebow fan. Keep an eye on the analysis from the unnamed scout at the bottom.
(I should also point to this column from Yahoo's Jason Cole, who actually lives in Gainesville. Not that I think that colored his perspective that someone will take a flier on TT.)
Friday, March 12, 2010
What we’ve got to do is trust our value board in our draft. If we force a pick, then we devalue thousands of hours of work by our scouts. We have to be true to our mission and go take the best player with our pick. When we do that, we get good results.
We all know we’ve done it the other way in the past and it didn’t work. Shame on you if you don’t learn from your mistakes. You stay true to your process.
And that, my friends, is that. My operating theory for a while was that Weaver would overrule his football people and tell them to take Tebow. Apparently, he will not do that.
Consequently, there is no way the Jaguars have Tebow at No. 10 on their "value board," and lacking a 2nd-round pick (or even any speculation they will be able to trade up to the top of the 2nd, where there will be a scrum for Tebow), Tebow will NOT be a Jaguar.
*Need a franchise QB. I'm not saying that Tim Tebow can or will be that franchise QB, but the team certainly needs one.
*Need a "face" of the franchise. Say what you want about Tebow's mechanics -- he has more "face of the franchise" potential than any player in the draft.
*No pressure to win now. If you stipulate that Tim Tebow needs 2-3 years to develop into a reliable starting QB, then this is a great spot, because no one expects the Bills to contend anytime soon. (Let's call this the "McNair Scenario" -- the Titans made a similar commitment when drafting McNair.)
*Strategically, why not? The Bills are going nowhere. The team could experiment with some sort of crazy, Tebow-friendly hybrid offense without really risking anything. Just look in their own division: It worked for the Dolphins.
*Amazing fan base that will love Tebow's attitude. For gosh sakes, they embraced T.O. -- they're going to freak out over Tebow.
Now, at least a few obvious downsides: Tebow isn't ready to step in and be a starting QB; will they ruin him by rushing him?
And, more than anything: The Bills play in arguably the windiest and least-hospitable conditions in the league. Tebow has never played anywhere but moderate climate of the South. That, to me, is as big of an X-factor as anything.
The other question is the same I had for Jags season-ticket holders: Are we talking about drafting Tebow in the Top 10 overall... or merely at all? (Wouldn't it be ironic if they took Tebow at No. 9, directly in front of Jacksonville?)
Buffalo also holds the 41st overall pick, 9 picks into the 2nd round. Per yesterday's discussion, I don't think Tebow will be around at 41 for the Bills to take; they would have to go into the overnight break between the 1st and 2nd rounds with the intent to trade up to get him.
But at the top of the 2nd round, the Bills are as strong of a contender to draft Tebow as anyone.
(h/t: OnlyGators via Twitter)
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Of course, they have to add the snarky bit that, even there, Tebow would be "a reach," but the fact is that any draft expert looks bad if their projection doesn't match reality.
And the reality is that Tim Tebow will be a 2nd-round pick.
Now, let me say something here for the first time: I, too, think that Tebow will be a 2nd-round pick.
For many months, I have been promoting the "Tebow as 1st-rounder" point. Even after the Senior Bowl. Why? Because I was convinced that the Jaguars would behave simultaneously irrationally (not picking the player they need on the field) and rationally (picking the player who best helps the franchise, in more ways than simply on the field) and take him at No. 10.
That was based on the presumption that Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver would overrule his GM and coach and insist the team take Tebow. However, that was also based on the idea that Weaver's decision would have popular support.
I was blown away by the feedback from Jags season-ticket holders that they do not approve of the team drafting Tebow -- presumably with that No. 10 overall pick. It doesn't matter that the vote was nearly 50/50; Weaver needed it to be 80/20, with 80 percent in favor.
It also doesn't matter that there are plenty of non-season-ticket holders who would buy tickets if Tebow was on the team. Season-ticket holders are a better proxy for fan interest and support.
Without that kind of populist back-up, I don't see Weaver insisting his GM take Tebow at No. 10. And without that pressure, I don't think the GM takes Tebow at 10 -- not when the team has so many other needs that would potentially be better-served with a different player at No. 10.
Without the Jaguars taking him at 10, I don't see a team -- under the current draft order (meaning: barring a trade-up on draft day) -- taking Tebow in the 1st round. It is too much guaranteed money for, fairly or unfairly assessed, an uncertain return.
ALL THAT SAID...
I think that Tebow will go right at the top of the 2nd round. The new draft format means that when the 1st round is over on Thursday night, there will be an entire news cycle of crazy build-up before the 2nd round starts on Friday.
Teams -- at least one team -- will talk themselves into trading up to the top of the 2nd round for Tebow, before someone else can grab him. Every pick that goes by in the 2nd will only amplify that pressure. (If a team knows they DON'T want Tebow and are picking at the top of the 2nd, they can seriously get a deal with a team that wants to trade up to get him.)
Here is another huge implication: Outside of the 1st round, the contracts get substantially smaller -- and entirely unguaranteed. This mitigates much of the risk of drafting Tebow that will keep teams away in the 1st round (beyond their interest in drafting other positions).
It also means that the field of potential teams to draft him expands way beyond the Jaguars -- who, it should be pointed out, don't have a 2nd-round pick. But the Patriots have THREE of them (longtime readers know that I think the Pats are the best fit for Tebow). The Bills will want him. The Panthers may want him. The Redskins might take him.
ALL THAT SAID...
There is still the chance for Tebow to work himself into the 1st round. We are a week away from Tebow's "Pro Day," which will only improve his stock -- the buzz coming out of that will be huge. Individual workouts and competing spin through the major sports news outlets will only increase the buzz -- to the point where a team that doesn't want to wait for the top of the 2nd round might very well trade up into the 1st to take him.
But the more realistic scenario is that Tebow will fall through the 1st round and into the 2nd round -- and, make no mistake, Tebow NOT being drafted (and STILL being available) will be a bigger story than any single 1st-round draft pick. And there will be a scrum to get him at the top of the 2nd. And, I should add, I still believe he will be worth that high of a valuation.
It is funny that the market appears to have settled -- between the most bullish (me) and the least (Kiper, McShay) -- at Tebow being a 2nd-rounder. The draftniks seem to do it begrudgingly -- if they got paid for every caveat, they could retire after the draft is over. I think the market will only heat up overnight between the 1st and 2nd round, putting him at the top of the 2nd.
Not to strain the rationalization, but that's actually a heck of a lot more interesting than the simplified notion of the Jags taking him at No. 10 and that's that.
(Credit where it's due: I first broke my new perspective on the Kissing Suzy Kolber podcast last night. I keep it clean but some other parts of the podcast are a little salty.)
It's not a precise analogy, and Feldman offers up at least as much evidence to support Tebow's changes as be skeptical of them, but it is a very interesting anecdote that reaches back into college football history. Worth a read.
Now, Parcells already made his play for a long-term QB -- Chad Henne (who fits all those criteria, btw) -- but it makes you wonder how many Parcells disciples follow a similar framework.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Now, Wonderlics are famous for not necessarily predicting anything -- see Vince Young, not to mention Terry Bradshaw and Dan Marino, the two most prominent Wonderlic duds.
But as with everything else during this draft season, Tim Tebow's score will be THE headliner of the meme. What does it all mean? Not much, but I'm sure draftniks will find a way to make it a negative.
UPDATE: Points to Volin for digging up the data to compare Tebow's score to the 30 starting QBs in the NFL.
It was also unclear whether they were talking about the team's 1st-round pick... or not taking Tebow AT ALL. I presume they would be happy to have him as a 2nd- or 3rd-rounder.
Here's the thing: Will Jaguars season-ticket holders revoke their tickets if the team drafts Tebow? Now compare that to the NEW people that will buy season tickets if Tebow is on the team.
That said: If the team was going to draft Tebow -- particularly in the 1st round -- they were going to have to do it under the cover of overwhelming fan support.
It appears they do not have that, at least among the paying fans.
(If you're wondering whether this data point contributes to me wanting to revise my long-standing theory that the Jags will take Tebow in the 1st round with the No. 10 pick, it does.)
Monday, March 8, 2010
The answers: Emmitt Smith (his favorite player growing up), Danny Wuerffel (his idol) and Michael Jordan (who didn't?).
Want to feel old? When Michael Jordan won his last NBA title in 1998 -- which feels like a week ago to some of us -- Tim Tebow was 10 years old.
Some day, my kids are going to ask me what their first sports jerseys were, and the answer is going to be "Tim Tebow." By the time they are Tebow's age now, Tebow will almost assuredly be out of the NFL -- even if he has a nice long career, it can't possibly last 20 years.
(Actually, technically my first son's first jersey was Percy Harvin's No. 1 Florida jersey, because at the time he was an infant in the summer/fall of '06, they didn't have No. 15 jerseys.)
For example, there's a report about both the Seahawks and the Bills scheduling private sessions with Tebow, which begs a few questions:
*Are they eyeing Tebow for the 1st round? As both have Top 10 picks, that can't possibly be right, so they are probably trying to see if they need to figure out a way to take him at the top of the 2nd. (I think that if he was available then, the Bills would jump.)
*My presumption was that Tebow didn't fit the profile of a "Pete Carroll QB" -- Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley... even Matt Cassel. These are standard, drop-back, "prototype" and "NFL-style" QBs. That isn't Tebow. Interesting.
Regardless, keep an eye on the teams lining up Tebow for private workouts. Maybe they are merely indulging their owners or want to draft off the p.r. buzz that comes with being in Tebow's gravitational pull, but maybe they are signaling a very real interest.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
*Tebow is THE storyline of the draft; there has never been a player ranked so low to have so much impact.
*Where Tebow might go will be the biggest plotline -- of Round 1, of Round 2... perhaps beyond. It will be the biggest storyline this week, in two weeks for Florida's "Pro Day" and the final four-week sprint until Draft Week itself, in which he will be the biggest plotline.
*If he isn't selected in the 1st round on Thursday, where he might go will be the lead story on Thursday night and Friday morning -- even ahead of the players selected in the 1st round.
*Draftniks will make their careers based on bearish proclamations about Tebow. However, as I have said before, Tebow's stock will only go up from here. It will be fun to track the change in momentum -- and how the draftniks deal with the cognitive dissonance.
The bottom line: The question isn't whether Tebow is the most polarizing (or, as I'd put it, "most intriguing") player of the 2010 Draft; as with most of Tebow's career, the question is whether Tebow is the most polarizing/intriguing player in the HISTORY of the NFL Draft.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Currently leading the front page of ESPN.com is a massive package all about where Tebow might get drafted, featuring extensive team-by-team analysis by all 8 of ESPN.com's divisional NFL bloggers. Given that it is March 2, this is an epic package that supports the theory that Tebow's draft status isn't just the biggest NFL story of the spring... but the biggest sports story, period:
My biggest issue with their team-by-team analysis of where Tebow might land is that they don't actually rank any team as having a "high" chance of taking him -- the tops is "medium" (Redskins, 49ers, Rams, Lions, Packers, Vikings, Bills, Pats, Broncos, Raiders). That seems like a lot of teams.
They also list the Jaguars as "low," which I think couldn't be more wrong -- and to suggest that they won't let the marketing department make their pick for them is misguided; replace "marketing department" with "owner," and I'll tell you who wins that battle. It should at least be "medium."
There are a bunch of teams listed as "no chance" that feel awkward -- the analysts seem to base their decision around whether Tebow would step in and start immediately, rather than projecting him as a capable back-up and special-situation QB for a few seasons before taking over. You know: The standard model for QBs selected in the draft.
Mostly, my issue is that they don't distinguish between a team using a 1st-round pick on Tebow and a team using a 2nd-round pick on Tebow. And some of the team-by-team analysis puts Tebow on a team's radar beyond the 2nd round; he isn't lasting that long.
I go back to my original theory: Tebow's stock isn't going down from here; it will only go up. Even after the Senior Bowl, there was no way he was lasting past the mid-2nd round. Now layer in his "revamping" mechanics, his stellar Combine workouts, his terrific interviews. Stock: Up.
Wait until his Pro Day, when he looks so much better than he did in Mobile. Then watch the jockeying between March 17 and the first day of the Draft -- if he falls through the 1st round, he could be the 1st pick of the 2nd round the next day. Again: His stock is only going up, no matter how much it might drive the draftniks crazy.
The entire thing is worth your time -- I don't agree with a bunch of the theories being thrown out there, but they are interesting for their own sake. I really do think that the vast majority of sports media are completely mis-reading both the market for Tebow and the opportunity for his success, both in the short- and long-term. (Consider that these are the same folks who were taken by complete surprise when the Wildcat was imported from college to the NFL; imagination isn't their strong suit. Adhering to orthodoxy is.)
UPDATE: By the way, 62 percent of fans on ESPN.com think Tebow is drafted by the end of the 2nd round. Again: It doesn't matter where Todd McShay GRADES Tebow; it only matters where Tebow is actually drafted.
The way I see it is, however, that he established himself as arguably the most overall athletic QB in the NFL, which will only help him... as a QB.
If he is put in the right system with coaches who are clever enough to know how to use him, this could yield long-term benefits (starting QB) AND short-term ones ("Wildcat 2.0").
In other words: Using him as a TE or H-back would be wasting his talents as a QB. I still contend that he could help reinvent the QB role, even perhaps in a "platoon" function (which, of course, is precisely what the Wildcat already creates, whether run by a QB or RB).
Monday, March 1, 2010
*He remains, without question, the biggest star in the Draft. Last night, I saw a promo for ESPN's draft coverage and it featured photos of Clausen and Suh; by mid-March, I think Tebow will be the go-to visual, because he combines the most popular/well-known player and the most intriguing storyline. His combine results were always the No. 1 story.
*Tebow didn't throw. Big deal. No QBs throw anymore. Hell, Bradford and McCoy might not be able to throw right now, period. (I find myself so mystified by the Bradford-for-No. 1 storyline that I can barely discuss it -- his shoulder is one hit away from being disconnect to his body...again. And he comes from as much of a "system" as any QB of the last decade.
*By the full set of numbers, Tebow could be the most athletic QB in the NFL. There isn't a QB who combines his speed (4.7!), strength (he would surely set the all-time record for bench presses by a QB, if he was allowed to try), explosiveness (best-ever broad jump) and quickness (see him in the 3-cone drill). In other words: He has all the physical tools.
*Charles Smith's "scoop" that Florida tried to change Tebow's mechanics last spring, only to have him revert when he got into real game situations... well, that's hardly a scoop to anyone who has been following Tebow for the past year. Again: It gets a big "...And?"
*Tebow's mechanics remain a work in progress, but the point is that he is working at them, with a crack team of experts (including Jon Gruden!?). And Tebow isn't going to be expected to step in and start immediately, which means he will not just have mini-camp and the summer and training camp to continue developing, but all next season -- and maybe the season after that. All the while, he will absolutely be able to contribute meaningfully (and immediately) in short-yardage or goal-line or otherwise-creative situations that the coaches put him in. If only every rookie QB could offer that combination of instant specialized help plus long-term upside.
By every metric -- every measurable metric, which is the point -- Tebow's Combine was a success. Next up: His "Pro Day" in Gainesville in two weeks, which is going to be the biggest frenzy in the NFL between now and the week of the Draft itself in late April.