There are those that would suggest that Tim Tebow would be a better long term
replacement for Gijon Robinson than Peyton Manning. There are those that
think that Tebow could not only be a viable quarterback in the NFL, but that he
could possibly revolutionize the position with his unique blend of athletic
ability, leadership, confidence, and determination. Each camp has their
positions and their arguments, but that doesn't answer the most important
question on the minds of Colts fans: Does Tim Tebow make sense for Indianapolis?
The answer to that question — as is the case with many of life's important
questions — is, it depends. What would they be asking him to do?
Where would they be able to draft him? When would they need him to be
ready to take over the offense?
Tebow's athleticism makes him an intriguing prospect, but is he an NFL quarterback?
Kevin C. Cox/Getty
If they'd be asking him to come into the game to run some variation of the
Wildcat offense or to run the option, then he would be able to step right in and
contribute. If they'd be asking him to play tight end — he's certainly
big enough and powerful enough, since he's heavier and probably stronger than
Dallas Clark — he'd need to learn the position.
That could take a very
short amount of time, since he was able to make considerable changes to his
mechanics and throwing motion in a relatively short period of time, but he would
ultimately be playing out of position and the Colts already have plenty of
capable tight ends.
Asking him to play quarterback for this team — at any point, nonetheless
immediately — would be a tall order. Two things would need to happen:
Either he would need to assimilate the offense as is (and even Manning is still
evolving in his knowledge of the nuances and timing of Tom Moore's scheme) or a
new offense would need to be installed to maximize his abilities and mask his
The second option would be easier and faster, but would then
compromise the rest of the skill position players on the team that have already
grown accustomed to the current system. Regardless, it's safe to say that
Tebow would not be able to start at quarterback for Indianapolis in the 2010
season unless the Colts ran an offense that was very similar to the one he ran
It's true that Indianapolis runs a high percentage of their offense from the
shotgun formation, but they also require that their quarterback be extremely
precise. Tebow was very accurate throughout his college career, completing
66.4 percent of his passes, but he is not a very precise passer that can throw a
ball to a spot with velocity. He has the arm strength and ability to get
the ball there and has the work ethic to train his body to make those throws to
those spots, but it will take time.
What cannot be denied is that Tebow is a tremendous athlete that also has a
rare blend of intangibles — determination, confidence, leadership ability, and
humility — and that he was extraordinarily productive throughout his college
career at the highest level of competition the NCAA has to offer.
Ordinarily, a player with that kind of resume would be a sure-fire first-round
pick, but scouts doubt his ability to do the little things like taking a snap
from under center and hitting a receiver on the outside shoulder in stride on a
seven yard slant route. They're not sure he'd be able to diagnose a blitz
at the line of scrimmage or have the foresight to check down to a run when
But, the basic issue comes down to tendencies and mechanics.
If Tebow were a 14-year-old kid attending his first high school football camp,
those factors could be easily altered. Tebow is a 22-year-old man, though,
and it will be difficult to break him of the habits that he has formed
throughout his playing career even if he was able to look impressive in front of
scouts with a new throwing motion in a rehearsed workout. What would
happen if that were a game situation? Would his mechanics start to break
down? Would he go with his instincts and try to get the first down by
running the ball and attempting to bowl the defender over?
All of these questions and scenarios are what makes Tebow an interesting
prospect for the 2010 draft. The hoopla has been surrounding him since the
college football season wrapped and it's not likely that it will get any less
intense. Aaron Rodgers was able to learn in the shadow of a legend,
correct his mechanics, and become one of the better quarterbacks in the league.
Surely Colts fans wouldn't want a Tebow-Manning situation to unfold the same way
as the Rodgers-Favre situation did in Green Bay. Willis McGahee had a torn
ligament in his knee when he was drafted in the first round, a decision that was
at least partially fueled by hype. It's possible that Tebow could be
vaulted into the first round given all the variables in play.
In that eventuality, he would be beyond a luxury pick for Indianapolis and,
if the Colts selected him in the first round, it could be viewed as one of the
most misguided selections in the draft's history. Drafting yet another
quarterback with upside and flaws in the hopes that he could be refined and one
day take over for Manning would be throwing good money after bad.
Indianapolis has been down that road before and it is filled with peril.
Tebow is currently rated as the third-best player at the quarterback position
and the 51st-best player overall. That would mean that the Colts would
either need to trade up in the second round or choose him 31st overall in order
to secure his services. At this point, there are too many other more
pressing needs on their list to risk taking their chances on a player that could
develop into the next best thing or could just be a footnote in draft history.
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