The 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl has undoubtedly morphed into the Tim Tebow Show, as scouts, coaches and fans have seemingly spent the entire week debating the merits of the former Heisman Trophy winner.
The intense scrutiny is part of playing the game's most important position, but never has one player served as the lightning rod of opinion like Tebow.
As arguably the greatest player in the history of college football, Tebow's laundry list of notable accomplishments makes it hard for some to fathom the former Gator failing on the big stage. For this is a quarterback who helped guide his team to two BCS national championships and compiled an impressive résumé that includes numerous Southeastern Conference and NCAA records. Additionally, he leaves college football with a trophy case full of hardware that represents his stature as a college football legend.
With winning serving as the ultimate barometer for a quarterback's success, it's hard to dispute the notion that Tebow has the "it" factor to be a successful signal-caller on the next level.
A fiery leader with a magnetic personality, Tebow is a natural leader of men, and his ability to galvanize a team isn't lost on coaches and scouts who have crossed his path. Several personnel men I spoke to throughout the week said Tebow's intangibles are off the charts, and that is why, despite his flaws, it is so hard to completely dismiss his pro prospects.
While evaluators pick apart Tebow's unorthodox throwing mechanics and cite his inexperience playing in a conventional offense as significant challenges, it should be noted that the league has seen quarterbacks with similar warts enjoy success as pros. Just look at the careers of Bernie Kosar, Philip Rivers and Vince Young as examples of quarterbacks who have overcome glaring flaws to achieve success as pros.
Kosar, who was selected in the first round of the 1985 supplemental draft by the Cleveland Browns, enjoyed a successful 13-year career despite possessing a quirky throwing motion and limited arm strength. Although his physical tools would rank as sub-standard in today's game, Kosar's guile and superb decision-making ability allowed him to overcome his deficiencies and enjoy a career that included a Pro Bowl appearance and a Super Bowl title (as a member of the Dallas Cowboys).
While Kosar represents a dated illustration of a quarterback trouncing conventional stereotypes associated with the position, the success of Rivers and Young should cause evaluators to pause before completely dismissing Tebow's chances of developing into a legitimate starting quarterback. Both Pro Bowl players spent their collegiate days manning shotgun-heavy offenses, and they entered the league amid a host of critics questioning their unorthodox mechanics.
Rivers, who earned his first Pro Bowl berth after compiling a gaudy 104.4 passer rating, was taken to task during the run up to the draft for his sidearm delivery. Evaluators wondered if Rivers would suffer from an inordinate amount of batted balls at the line of scrimmage. However, the sixth-year pro has repeatedly found a way to deliver the ball through tight windows, and his 63.1 career completion percentage reflects his pinpoint accuracy.
Young, on the other hand, not only suffers from the unconventional throwing motion, but he spent his entire career manning a spread offense. The two-time Pro Bowl pick rarely took snaps under center at Texas, and he is still adjusting to playing the game in a conventional manner. Although Young has played at an all-star level in two of his four seasons, his struggles as a passer led to him spending most of 2008 on the bench in a backup capacity. However, Young persevered through the rough patches, and his praiseworthy intangibles allowed him to reclaim his starting job while leading the Titans on a phenomenal run to close the 2009 season.
Given those success stories, it is very likely that Tebow will not only have a chance to ply his trade at quarterback, but some team might select him to be its franchise quarterback during the early stages of the NFL draft. Of course, the team's respective offense will need to be tweaked to mesh with Tebow's strengths, but good coaches find a way to meld their systems to fit the talent of their personnel.
Ignore the endless scuttlebutt about Tebow suffering a free fall down draft boards across the league following his up-and-down Senior Bowl week. There is undoubtedly a team and creative offensive mind champing at the bit to take a chance on the decorated playmaker.