Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

Tebow’s Quest

I’m not surprised at all of the interest in Tim Tebow at the Senior Bowl in Mobile. Tebow has made a splash with the media since he was in high school and it continued in college. Winning the Heisman as a sophomore only extended his notoriety across the country. So when he announced he’d make the trip to “LA” the national media, the local media and every draft nick east of the Mississippi headed to Mobile.

“His footwork is bad, his motion is too long, and he can’t take a snap from under center. Plus he doesn’t have the arm strength.”

Next thing you know Tebow will have made a deal with the devil to get into the NFL. He’s by far the most scrutinized player in the history of the Senior Bowl. He’s a polarizing figure, with some adoring him and others looking for any crack in the “façade.” The fact is, he is what he is. He’s deeply spiritual, supremely confident and competitive and has won at whatever he’s tried.

When he fumbled six of the first twelve snaps at Monday’s practice, it was big news. Never mind that those snaps were the first he’d taken in nearly a month and they were from five different centers. And the other quarterbacks had the same difficulty.

I know ESPN runs the sports world these days. And if you have a voice on ESPN, it’s given plenty of run and plenty of weight. But as Tim said himself, it’s not about impressing 32 teams; it’s about impressing one.

When he talked with coaches, general managers and scouts this week, they all came away impressed. The “intangibles” he has when it comes to playing quarterback are off the charts. Leadership, confidence, commitment, all what every team is looking for. When they dissect his actual quarterbacking skills, Tebow comes up short of perfect.

Not many snaps from center in college and consequently not much experience in dropping back. A slightly long delivery where he drops the ball down to his hip while throwing is part of everybody’s focus. Can that be fixed? Byron Leftwich never did change that part of his game and he’s on the bench in Tampa after being a first round pick for the Jaguars.

The anticipation of what’s going to happen downfield is another part of the game that is different than what Tebow experienced in college. Can he change the things that aren’t up to par right now? Who knows? Tebow is a supremely coachable athlete and will do what he can to get it right.

Not that he’s guaranteed to be a success, but he’ll try as hard as anybody.

So do you draft him?

Only if you think he can play in the NFL. You only draft him in the first round if you think he’s a starter. You don’t draft him because he’s a great guy or because you think he can sell tickets. You draft him if you think he can start for your team.

So where does that leave the Jaguars?

Drafting in the tenth spot is a dicey situation anyway, especially this year. The top five or six guys you could call “can’t miss” players, but after that, you’d just as soon have the 20th pick than the tenth in order to save some money. You’d get better value.

I do know Gene Smith is high on Tebow in every regard, so much so that he said, “I wish my daughters were a little older.” But that doesn’t mean he’s a lock to be drafted by the Jaguars. I think if they have a chance to move down in the first round and a defensive lineman who they covet is already gone, taking Tebow might be a possibility.

Without a second round pick (they traded it last year for Derek Cox) it’s a little dicey but somewhere along the line they’re going to have to decide, “Do we pick him or not?”

And that’s when it’ll get interesting.