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Posted Feb. 11, 2010
Prospect Case Study: Tim Tebow
In the 2007 NFL Draft, there was a quarterback with the greatest physical tools of any prospect in the history of the NFL Draft, but the problem was he had late-round intangibles.
His name was JaMarcus Russell out of Lousiana State. He went to the combine weighing in at over 280 pounds and didn't show much interest in getting into good condition for the biggest job interview of his life. He had a rumored lazy work ethic and didn't put much work in the film room. He lacked leadership qualities.
Despite this, scouts and general managers were enthralled. He was the consensus top quarterback prospect in the 2007 NFL Draft, and years later, I don't blame the Raiders for taking him that high only because every other team would have as well. I had Brady Quinn as my top quarterback in that draft, and while he hasn't panned out like I expected, he certainly has more of a future in this league than Russell.
Russell was the case study of the quarterback with all tangibles and no intangibles.
This year, we have the antithesis to Russell in Florida's Tim Tebow.
People say he has an elite work ethic and leadership qualities. He is mentally tough and clean off the field.
However, he has absolutely no passing skills, and like I have been saying for the past three years (which experts are recently catching up to) - he likely won't pan out at quarterback in the NFL (and I doubt he will).
Regardless of my opinion, there is still a (very small) chance Tebow pans out because this dynamic hasn't happened yet.
If Tebow can develop into a consistent starting quarterback in the NFL, then we have to change the way we evaluate the position. Intangibles will go up in stock in terms of the evaluation at the quarterback position.
However, if Tebow doesn't pan out, then we also have to change our thinking a little bit in terms of saying that no matter how great a quarterback's intangibles are, if he has too many weaknesses it ultimately doesn't matter.
When I do radio interviews (or answer e-mails) I am OFTEN asked what specific things I look for on tape.
My answer? I look for everything. Everything is important. The only position where I single out certain, must-have attributes is receiver. To give a solid first-round grade, he must have good hands and run polished routes. But I digress.
The Tim Tebow Hypothesis: As when I evaluate prospects, I am simply looking at how well-rounded a prospect is. No matter how great a player is in one area, he must be capable of doing several things well as well as having adequate intangibles. Therefore, my hypothesis is despite Tebow's great intangibles, there isn't enough substance there for me to believe he can actually be a playmaking quarterback in the league.