11 Jan 2009
Florida Gators quarterback (and Thom Brenneman man-crush) Tim Tebow announced his intention to return for his senior season during the Gators’ national championship celebration on Sunday. As he was leaving the podium, Tebow did a double-take, went back to the mike, and said, "Oh, by the way, let's do it again. I'm coming back."
This seems like a good opportunity to put up the Tebow discussion among several FO staffers that took place during the BCS Championship Game. The mini-Audibles below:
Aaron Schatz: Curious what some of you think of the quarterbacks so far. Bradford looks pretty good to me. Tebow had a couple nice throws, but that first interception was one of the laziest throws I've ever seen -- I'm fast enough to step in front of that one.
Bill Connelly: In all, Tebow looks confused when he passes it, but he still did a good job of selling the run on that touchdown pass.
Tim Gerheim: Tebow seems to be having a hard time reading the defense. I noticed that on a couple passes in a row before the Florida touchdown, and then on the second Florida interception. When Oklahoma varies its pass rush scheme, Tebow doesn't seem to adjust to it very readily at all.
Doug Farrar: I think Bradford has the tools to be accurate downfield at the next level in a way that a lot of people don't. However, those Florida DBs are some hittin' fools. Nice matchup there. I was talking to Rob Rang of NFLDRaftScout.com last night, and he rates the Oklahoma offensive line as highly as any NCAA line he's ever seen.
Benjy Rose: Tebow looks lost; can't read the defenses. Has anyone else noticed that the OU receivers are really tentative after catching the ball, not going for any yards after catch? They appear to be content playing Ultimate Frisbee offense.
Bill Connelly: Bradford will have a learning curve if he comes out this year because he has no idea how to handle pressure--he hasn't faced it very much because that offensive line is an absolute fortress.
Aaron Schatz: Oh no, not Joey Harrington disease! That's not good.
Bill Connelly: Heh, well...he may end up handling it just fine. It'll just be a learning curve. If he comes back to OU next year, he'll be dealing with five new O-line starters, meaning a) he'll learn how to run for his life, and b) his stock will fall.
Vince Verhei: I thought Bradford threw some great passes tonight, deep balls with a very small window that hit his guys right in the hands (and were usually then dislodged by Florida defenders). Then the ESPN guys talked about how he had an off game.
Tebow fascinates me, and I think he's going back for his senior year, but I can't wait to see what an NFL team does with him. As a runner, I thought his speed was meh, but his balance and power were obviously impressive. As a passer, his arm strength was nothing special, and his release takes FOREVER, but his accuracy, even on the run, looked pretty good. (I missed the first half, so can't speak to that.) He'll probably be a fullback in the NFL, but I'd love to see somebody use him as a power tailback, giving him 10 to 15 carries a game between the tackles, with the threat of the halfback option always present.
Doug Farrar: I was thinking "Riggins." John or Tim.
Ben Riley: I'm a little surprised that Bradford's getting so much love in this discussion (at least early on). Maybe I don't follow college football closely enough -- in fact, I know I don't -- but color me skeptical about a quarterback who heavily relies on hand signals from the sideline that in turn are radioed in from the offensive coordinator's booth upstairs. Not questioning his raw abilities, and I realize he's very young -- it's just that he looked more like a "system quarterback" than I expected.
Meanwhile, Tim Tebow continues to be the most baffling prospect since, um... I can't think of anyone more baffling. Is he a stocky Doug Flutie? Matt Jones, except with all the intangibles? A first rounder? A third rounder? Is he even coming out this year? If he doesn't, and Florida repeats and/or he wins the Heisman, is he the greatest college player of all time? Is he already? Should I slow down with the drinks when watching the BCS Championship game so I stop asking endless questions? So many questions, so many greyhounds...
Doug Farrar: At Bradford’s age, I think the point is to look more for transferable skills. How accurate is he deep? Does he look like his best throws are repeatable? Can he stick a throw in a small window? How does he handle pressure? As Bill mentioned, he hasn’t really seen pressure yet. At Tebow’s level of development, if he doesn’t have some real NFL quarterback skills, the clock’s running down.
Bill Barnwell: Well, I mean, all depends. If he's a stud player, no one will bother him. If not, he's Jerry Spradlin.
Mike Tanier: I don’t see a legit NFL quarterback in Tebow. Maybe he's a package guy who runs the Wildcat for 2 years while coaches see if he can develop as a passer: 4th-6th round guy.
There are a lot of highly religious guys in the NFL, but there are guys so overboard that they polarize the locker room. Tebow sounds like the latter ... heck, Reggie White didn't make this many Hosannas when he was a young guy. If he starts sounding like Robert Duvall as Frank Burns when interviewing with teams, they may downgrade him from "moral and committed" to "flaky".
Russell Levine: I agree with much of what has been said here. Bradford's accuracy is very impressive, but he mostly got all day to throw. I wouldn't be overly concerned about the whole "look over at the sidelines" thing -- that's pretty much SOP for many college no-huddle spreads. And since these goes don't have the coach yakking in their helmet, I don't see it as any kind of detriment.
Tebow, on the other hand, is more of a mystery than ever. It was pretty obvious in this game that he either doesn't know how, or more likely has not had to, read a defense and go through a progression. He certainly will have a lot to learn to play QB in the NFL. He is an incredibly powerful runner. Every team Florida faces knows what's coming, yet can't stop him in short yardage. He also routinely shakes off defensive linemen to avoid sacks.
I think that he will be insistent about playing QB in the pros -- and that some team will let him do it. I think he has enough arm strength and is accurate, and he could scramble plenty while he figures it out. Is he really THAT different from guys like McNabb, Vick, and Young that had obvious holes in their NFL games but were given a chance after being taken very high in the draft?
I also don't think the religion thing will be a problem for him. He seems plenty humble and has no problem being the absolute leader of a 100+ man team on which he's probably pretty different than most. He was quiet as a mouse as a freshman when he came in as a much heralded recruit and made meaningful contributions on a national title team without making waves. He obviously has some leadership qualities that ought to appeal to plenty of NFL execs. And NFL locker rooms are full of super-pious guys that are always talking about Jesus. Kurt Warner, anyone?
Sean McCormick: Bradford reminds me of Philip Rivers in terms of his size, his style and his accuracy. Of course, what made Rivers an attractive prospect was that he started every game of his college career and was thus as battle tested as they come, and even then he ended up riding the pine in the NFL for several seasons. Bradford has good skills, but hardly dominant ones, and he's going to need a lot of time to get bigger and stronger. He would make a terrific second or third round pick who you could stash away on your roster and develop quietly for a few years, but that's not what's going to happen with him.
I suppose Vince Young is the closest equivalent to Tebow, but Young was faster and more agile in the open field. More importantly, he had a much quicker release. I wasn't in love with Young as a pro prospect, but the speed of his release made me think he at least had a chance to function as a quarterback in the NFL. I have a much harder time seeing Tebow's game make the transition. He's truly a pro prospect without a position... maybe fullback, maybe H-back. He's too slow to even be a package player. He's just a weird, weird prospect.
58 comments, Last at 14 Jan 2009, 5:18pm by Kibbles
Our offseason Four Downs series continues with a division-by-division look at each team's biggest remaining holes and their most notable UDFA signings. Does anyone in the NFC South have any pass rushers? Well, the Bucs might, but they still need more players to catch the ball.