Can Tim Tebow be an NFL quarterback?

Last year, Florida QB Tim Tebow became the first underclassmen to ever win the Heisman Trophy. His blend of size and athleticism make him one of the best football players in college football.

But is he an NFL quarterback? Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports doesn’t think so.

Meyer isn’t screwing up Tim Tebow. While it’s true that Meyer’s spread offense isn’t conducive to producing an NFL quarterback — how has 2005 No. 1 pick Alex Smith panned out? — it’s also true that Tebow doesn’t have what it takes to play that position in the NFL. Not if his coach was Urban Meyer. Not if his coach was Pete Carroll. Not if his coach was David Cutcliffe, Norm Chow or Grantland Freaking Rice.

Now then, a slight digression. If the NFL continues its meandering toward the single wing, with direct snaps to versatile backs, Tebow could have a future. So could Vince Young, for that matter. Because Tebow can take a shotgun snap and make a decision and then run or pass or hand the ball to someone else. He can do that.

What he can’t do is drop back five or seven steps and throw a 30-yard laser with pinpoint accuracy. He can’t, and it’s not because Urban Meyer won’t let him do it. It’s because his genetics won’t.

Again, don’t misunderstand this column. Larry Bird couldn’t jump. Manny Ramirez can’t catch. Deion Sanders couldn’t tackle. Those are still great players, great talents.

Same with Tebow. Great player. Possibly even a great NFL player. I can see him at tight end or fullback. Maybe linebacker. And I can see him being some team’s third-string quarterback, good enough to run the scout team and provide behind-the-scenes leadership and mentoring. But start at quarterback in the NFL? Sorry. I can’t see that.

What I see is a great college quarterback who can complete a high percentage of the (mostly easy) passes Meyer asks him to throw. I see a quarterback who can run for tough yardage. I see an inspirational leader whose quotes after the loss to Ole Miss had me fired up to hit somebody.

But I don’t see an NFL quarterback. Never have, never will, and it has nothing to do with Urban Meyer and everything to do with the fabulous athlete with the average arm named Vince Young Tim Tebow.

I’m not an NFL scout, but I agree with Doyel on his assessment. Tebow is going to have a future in the NFL because he’s a tremendous athlete. But he’s not a true NFL quarterback in the sense that he’s going to be able to dissect a defense and run a traditional pro-style offense. Some team will probably draft him a round or two higher than he should go, but he should still have an impact at the next level because simply put, the kid can play football. If I were Tebow, I’d stay at Florida as long as possible and give pro teams plenty of time to evaluate his skill set and figure out how it translates into the NFL.


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