Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tebow Evokes Strong Opinions; Critics Doubt His QB Potential, but Dungy Believes in His Ability

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tebow Evokes Strong Opinions; Critics Doubt His QB Potential, but Dungy Believes in His Ability

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

The debate among NFL talent evaluators isn't if Tim Tebow has a future in the NFL.

It's whether he should be throwing passes or catching them.

When talking about Tebow, NFL personnel seem to have only two opinions: Tebow will be a good NFL quarterback, or he has to move to H-back. One extreme or the other. There is no middle-of-the-road opinion on the former Florida quarterback.

"He has to accept one of two things," said Todd McShay, ESPN Scouts Inc.'s director of college football scouting. "He either needs to ... completely start over as a quarterback and a passer and that's going to take a lot of hard work or may not work, or he's going to need to play another position in the NFL."

There have been few, if any, players who have generated that kind of dichotomy among NFL talent evaluators. Former Florida State quarterback Charlie Ward and former Texas quarterback Vince Young faced the same kind of division, but not to the extreme that Tebow will in the months before the April 22-24 NFL Draft.

Each camp has its vocal members, too.

McShay and fellow ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. head the list of doubters, and there are plenty who believe that Tebow's footwork, long delivery, accuracy and ability to read defenses are not good enough to allow him to make it as an NFL quarterback.

In an informal poll of 12 NFL scouts attending Senior Bowl week, nine said Tebow's NFL future is at tight end or H-back.

"I think that's what he'd be," said an AFC scout, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "Fixing the release, that'll take time, but golly you don't know when, how long that's going to take, and how much fixing is it going to be. The release, the windup. I was a defensive back. I loved that long windup. That'd give me a chance to zero in and break on the ball."

Other high-profile doubters have emerged. Former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann told Jacksonville radio station WJXL during Super Bowl week that Tebow should have given up football after graduating from Florida instead of trying to play in the NFL.

Jaguars offensive lineman Uche Nwaneri posted on a Jaguars message board the reasons why he doesn't want the Jaguars drafting Tebow. Among his reasons: Tebow can't read defenses, can't throw and isn't comfortable taking a snap from center.

The only concession some of the critics will make is that Tebow could find playing time as a wildcat quarterback, much like Michael Vick did in Philadelphia and Pat White - a former spread offense quarterback at West Virginia - did in Miami. At least one AFC scout at the Senior Bowl says he can see Tebow having a lot of success in the wildcat - but as a tight end, not a quarterback.

"Everybody's got the wildcat now," said the scout, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. …

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