Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow did everything he could at the Senior Bowl to prove to critics that he can be a legitimate NFL quarterback, but he struggled during the week leading up to the game.
Tebow had a bout with strep throat and had been taken to the hospital for observation during the week. Still, he continued to fight through the illness and tried to prove to scouts that he can do the job.
Tebow fumbled twice in the game while completing eight of 12 passes for a measly 50 yards. Tebow also scrambled once for a minimal gain.
Todd McShay and Mel Kiper, the four-letter network's draft gurus, have gone on record as saying that Tebow will never make it as an NFL quarterback.
McShay has gone so far as to stake his reputation on the line, stating, "Tim Tebow can't play quarterback in the NFL, I'm convinced of it."
Yet, consider the source.
Mel Kiper on JaMarcus Russell, the Oakland Raiders flop of a quarterback:
"Jamarcus Russell’s gonna immediately energize that Raider Nation, that fanbase, that football team—on the practice field, in that locker room. Three years from now, you could be looking at a guy that’s certainly one of the elite top five quarterbacks in this league. You’re talking about a two to three year period once he’s under center. Look out because skill level that he has is certainly John Elway-like".
That's right, folks. On draft day the Hair said one of the biggest busts in Oakland Raiders history was going to be "John Elway-like".
Todd McShay said QB Jake Locker would be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft had he come out. According to some reports, the reason Locker didn't come out was because the NFL Advisory board advised him he wouldn't be selected in the first round.(Author's edit:There were questions about the validity of this statement—I cite two sources, this AP article that confirms that he did submit his name to the advisory committee and this one on NBC run PFT that states that sources say Locker would not have received a first round grade and that's why he didn't enter. While not being drafted in the first round may not be the sole reason Locker returned, it likely played a major factor.)
McShay was never high on Ravens QB Joe Flacco, whom he thought would be a "project" because "a rifle arm isn't an important characteristic in a quarterback." Flacco has led the Ravens to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.
McShay has been high on Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike, who was dreadful in the Senior Bowl, going 5-for-12 for 45 yards.
Meanwhile, someone who has actually held a job for an NFL team, longtime NFL executive and current draft guru Ken Herock, believes Tebow's "velocity is good enough, and so is his accuracy."
"People will have to convince me he's not a quarterback and that he won't succeed," said Herock, who calls Tebow "by far" the best prospect he's ever worked with in Combine interview preparation.
"Vince Lombardi used to say to win in the NFL a team needs a quarterback who is a coach on the field, rational, unflappable, and occasionally daring, as well as a gifted passer," Herock added.
Well-respected NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock believes Tebow made the right move in playing in the Senior Bowl.
"Most people think that he’s risking the most of any player coming to play in this game," Mayock said. "I think it’s a brilliant move. Here’s a guy who’s arguably the best player to ever play college football, yet most NFL scouts will probably put him in the third round. The fact that Tim Tebow is coming here and willing to expose himself to this kind of scrutiny I think speaks volumes to the type of kid he is."
Will Tebow be successful in the NFL? Only time will tell, but I'm not buying what Todd McShay or Mel Kiper are selling. If those guys were any good, they'd be working for NFL teams, not talking on ESPN.
While Tebow was looking to impress scouts, the Buccaneers had their eyes on more than a few other players in the Senior Bowl.
Ole Miss running back Dexter McCluster had a tremendous week of practice, showing speed and playmaking ability. Small in stature at 5'8", 170-pounds, McCluster's speed and versatility could make him a value pick in the second or third round.
Auburn running back Ben Tate showed an impressive burst combined with a powerful running style.
Cincinnati wide receiver Mardy Gilyard and Clemson wide out Jacoby Ford showed speed but inconsistent hands.
Defensive tackles Dan Williams and Tyson Alualu both flashed during the game while Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham played very well.
USF product DE George Selvie didn't do much during the game but is said to have had a good week of practice.
All these guys could be targets for the Buccaneers in April.
Tebow, on the other hand, is unlikely to be joining the Pewter and Red. With Freeman in the fold and Josh Johnson as a project, I don't see a spot for Tim on the team.