More thoughts on the shot of Tim Tebow being a Viking

After a small flurry of activity, I think this week will go back to being just as boring as the last one when it comes to Vikings news.  The highlight of the week could possibly be finding out that the Vikings will be heading to New Orleans for the season opener, as expected.

So, I thought I’d take this chance to make a few more points about my anti-trend stance on Tim Tebow.  As I said last week, I think the guy is a first rounder.  However, after reading comments around the web, I think my reasons might be a bit different than most.

ATHLETICISM

I have read a lot of people talking about Tebow’s athleticism and ability to run the football as a major reason he should be regarded as a top prospect.  I think people do not understand how much more difficult it will be for him to run wild against pro defenses like he did in college.

In fact, even though I consider him a first round talent, I do not even consider him a running quarterback at the next level.  I highly doubt that will be a big part of his game.

Rather, I think his athleticism will help him be a more effective passer.  His ability to withstand hits, move around inside and outside the pocket, and keep his eyes downfield are where his athleticism really pay off.  On passing plays, Tebow was almost always keeping his eyes downfield as he ran around looking for the passing option and using the run as a last resort.  His decision making in the respect will need some improvement, but he does a lot better in this area than a guy like Colt McCoy who is a run first quarterback, even on passing plays.

His ability to avoid the pass rush is where his athleticism is a plus, not his ability to consistently run the football which just will not happen in the NFL.

CHARACTER/RELIGION

I see a lot of comments around the web saying that Tebow being a “religious zealot” would divide a locker room and alienate him from certain teammates.

That seems like a logical assumption to make given the terrible careers that Reggie White, Kurt Warner, and Tony Dungy (not to mention hundreds more) have endured because of their willingness to preach about their faith.

Hogwash, I say.

Tebow is fair game to be criticized for his faith just like others are fair game to be criticized for their lack of it, but to suggest he will be hated or alienated because of it is nonsense.  Last time I went to a Vikings game, a majority of the roster took part in the “prayer circle” after the game ended… which appeared to be led by Ryan Longwell.

If anything, Tebow should garner more respect because of his willingness to actually do as he preaches.  He has registered over 500 hours of community service per year, despite being a full time student and the quarterback of one of the best college football teams in the nation.

Poor character doesn’t always equal failure on the football field (i.e. Big Ben, Plaxico Burress) but I think having good character at least allows you to get started off on the right track.

GIMMICK OFFENSE

Obviously having experience in a pro-style offense can help a quarterback’s draft stock, like Jimmy Clausen.  However, those who think Tebow absolutely cannot succeed in the NFL because he comes from a “gimmick offense” are taking the easy way out of evaluation… just like when they said that about Percy Harvin last year.

When evaluating talent from a school like Florida, it is important to keep their offensive scheme in mind when looking at a player’s college production and to understand how they affect one another.

However, in the end you are going to be evaluating the human not the system.  Things like throwing motion, ability to learn a playbook, mobility, arm strength, intangibles, leadership, measurables, versatility, technique, footwork and so on will all override any doubts about the player’s system if said player is good enough.  These attributes should all be measured using the same stick no matter which players come from which system.

The question should be how the player will fit into your team.  If trying to judge how “overrated” a player might be because of the previous system, it is important not to simply completely disregard their potential because they played in a gimmick scheme.

The Vikings scouts know this, or else they probably would have passed on Percy Harvin last year just like 19 other teams did.


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