Monday, March 15, 2010

NFL Icon Watch: Underestimate Tebow at your peril

Underestimate Tebow at your peril

Tebow's pro day will be dull at first. He already did all the measurables, weightlifting, running, interviews, etc., at the NFL combine late last month. It won't be until he does his on-field position work that everyone will perk up.

Depending on who's overseeing the position groups (agents? UF officials? NFL scouts and coaches?), Tebow might be limited to Tebow-friendly pass routes in, say, a 15- to 20-minute scripted time period. In an NFL-run position group or in a private workout, the team's scouts and coaches would ask Tebow to execute the same dropbacks and pass routes used in that franchise's playbook.

In fact, it isn't unusual for a team to give a quarterback prospect a modified version of its playbook and then, when the quarterback arrives for the private workout, ask him to recite as much of the offense as possible. It gives teams a sense of a prospect's football IQ. Those same individual workouts can persuade a team to take a player, or to take a pass.

If Tebow aces Wednesday's workout at Florida, the personnel director said it's likely more teams will request private workouts. According to various reports, Buffalo and Seattle already have scheduled workouts with Tebow.

"Teams that like him are already in his corner," the personnel guy said. "If he throws well, I could see maybe one, two or three more teams get in the mix."

According to the personnel director, the general draft-day rules of thumb are:

• If you have an established quarterback, you wouldn't take Tebow in the first round.
• If you see Tebow being a starting quarterback within two or three years, you'd use a second- or third-round pick on him.
• If you don't see him as a potential starter, then Tebow is going to have a long wait.

"I would never discount the fact that this guy could become a starter," the personnel director said. "With good coaching I think he can overcome some of the issues he has. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if he becomes a successful quarterback."

My general Tebow rule of thumb: Never, ever underestimate him. Some team will make that mistake on draft day. And regret it.

Full story here.

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