Tim Tebow is the true enigma of this year's draft. Is he a Quarterback? Is he a Fullback? Is he even a legit NFL player? After running Urban Meyer's spread option to perfection for three years, Tebow now sets his sights on the NFL. However, his post-college career hasn't been the smoothest journey so far.
After obliterating Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl and all of the pundits declaring he had proven his detractors wrong, it's been a rough ride. First came the Senior Bowl practices. His struggles were the talk of the blogs for days so I'll spare repeating anything. Now it is being reported Tebow will not be throwing at the combine and will only throw at his Pro Day. Is he that unsure of his arm at this point? Is he beginning to consider making the transition to fullback/tight end? Those questions will be answered later. However, he's still a QB prospect for the time being and will be treated like one.
You may notice the format of this Scouting Report is a bit different. That's because we had the fine folks from Mocking The Draft do this one for us.
Accuracy- Suffers in accuracy due to flawed mechanics. When his footwork is correct, he delivers the ball on time, accurately and with the proper velocity. He is inconsistent in his footwork, and his throws are often off target and force his receiver to work for the ball. Accuracy gets better the longer the pass, and he may be one of the more accurate passers in the draft class hitting receivers in stride on 9 routes.
Arm strength- Very strong arm, but doesn’t possess elite arm strength. Powers the ball through body strength despite having flawed mechanics. Doesn’t judge velocity well, and sometimes floats the ball when he need to gun it. Under throws a lot of deep balls, which is mostly the result of not transitioning his weight when throwing and a flawed follow-through. Overall core body, leg and arm strength allow him to put a great deal of torque on the football. Arm strength will improve naturally as he fixes his mechanics.
Athleticism/mobility- Atypical mobility for a quarterback. Built like a fullback and runs like it. Tremendously strong lower body and powers through tacklers. Hard to get on the ground due to great balance. Scrambles and buys time well. Difficult to sack with just one tackler. Could develop into a Ben Roethlisberger type QB with his scrambling ability, power and balance outside the pocket.
Decision making- Generally sound and takes good care of the football. Many of his interceptions come as a result of an inaccurate pass or not throwing on time. Difficult to grade since many of his decisions come running the spread option, where he makes good decisions with the football, but he’s also not reading an entire defense in the process.
Field vision- Tebow has done some work in this area and has improved from 2008. He used to take off after his first read was covered. In 2009 he showed a better effort at reading the defense and working through his progressions. He is still not great and doesn’t see open receivers, and has taken some bigger shots in the backfield while reading the defense. Has gotten better at moving defenders with head and shoulder movement, but still needs work.
Mechanics- This is Tebow’s most flawed area, and is translates to poor accuracy. He has improved, but not as much as he should have working with Scot Loeffler for a year. Terribly inconsistent. Often times doesn’t fails to point his foot in the direction that he is throwing. Doesn’t transfer his weight well to his front foot in his throwing motion. Kicks his back foot to the side on many throws, instead of following through properly. Steps too far with his lead foot when he knows that he has to fit the ball in a tight spot. Grip of the ball may need work, as his ball tends to wobble, even when he throws with velocity. Elongated throwing motion that features a dip, much like a baseball pitcher. Does not throw with a dip all the time, and accuracy doesn’t change whether he dips or doesn’t dip. Motion is not as bad as Byron Leftwich, who has a classic release point, making his windup longer. Tebow releases the ball with a ¾ release point, though he was worked to get the ball more to a 10 0’clock position.
Pocket awareness/poise- Greatly improved though still not great. Has not seen or felt rushers a few times of his career (see Kentucky game). Really improved going through progressions, though he does still get flustered occasionally when his first read is covered. Ran too soon earlier in his career, but stayed in the pocket longer this year working through his progressions.
Touch- Another area that suffers from his mechanics, but not as bad as his accuracy. Will often float the ball when he needs to power it into a tight window. Sails the ball at times when he needs to hit a receiver covered closely. Has improved on his short throws but is still just average on intermediate throws. Better touch on his deep balls.
Overall- Tebow has been asked to run a spread option offense for Urban Meyer, and has done that to perfection. Fixing his accuracy and mechanical issues were not focused on by the Florida staff until 2009 Spring Ball, where Scot Loeffler began the process of transitioning Tebow to a functional NFL quarterback. Tebow can throw a good ball with proper footwork and without the arm dip, he just doesn’t do so consistently. Has a lot of work to do, but his competitiveness and work ethic are in his favor. Philip Rivers had some significant issues with where he held the ball and his release point prior to the 2004 draft. A great Senior Bowl and draft process elevated his draft status from 2nd rounder to high first rounder. If Tebow shows similar progress as Rivers, or has a great Combine workout like Pat White did last year, combined with his top shelf leadership and character, he could begin to elevate his stock.