As Tim Tebow tours the country to visit with prospective NFL employers, the public debate over his ability to play in the league and where he should be selected in the 2010 NFL Draft only intensifies.
Tebow displayed his modified, more compact throwing motion at Florida's pro day earlier this month. His elongated delivery was a source of scrutiny from draft analysts and talent evaluators after a stellar collegiate career. Now, the focus turns to individual meetings and workouts as team prepare their final draft grades.
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Opinions on Tebow's future success vary as widely as where he is projected to be picked in the draft. Many believe he'll be a second-round pick, while some believe a team will pull the trigger late in the first round. Others wouldn't take him at all.
Ignoring where he might be taken in the draft, we posed this question to several of our NFL Network crew: Where is the best fit for Tim Tebow?
Brian Baldinger: Patriots make sense
New England, New Orleans and Indianapolis are examples of good landing spots for Tebow, but the Patriots represent the best fit. But would they spend a second- or third-round pick to take him? That's the question. Most of the spread offense the Patriots run come from Urban Meyer's concepts, and Tebow would start with a firm understanding. I still don't think Tebow can play in the NFL, though. He doesn't have the mechanics to play quarterback at this level, and he doesn't project to another position. Plus, he'll enter the league as a backup. When will he be given a legitimate chance to fail for a long enough period of time to figure out if he can or can't play? His character is similar to that of Kurt Warner, and that's a good thing. But it took Warner a long time before he got his chance. That won't happen for Tebow.
Paul Burmeister: Tebow needs learning environment
I don't know what specific team would be the best fit, but the best environment includes a veteran QB as well as a good quarterback coach and offensive coordinator. Someplace where he can learn from a veteran and get coached every day. I go back to Matt Cassell's first couple of years in New England. He didn't play, but he did learn and get better. He watched Tom Brady and was coached every day by Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick. Tebow needs a couple of redshirt years, and an environment where he can develop without playing in games.
Carucci: Buffalo a fit
Charles Davis: Innovative head coach is key
I'm not sure of the best team for Tim Tebow, but it will have to be a team where the head coach has a big say in the offense and is willing to explore how Tebow's strengths could be incorporated into the scheme. Tebow will also have to do his part, and show that he can run a conventional offense, and make all the throws expected of him. The "extras" that Tebow brings to an offense should be exactly that -- extras -- not the full offense. By just playing to his perceived strengths, an NFL offense would be limited in what they could run.
Jamie Dukes: Fits could be New England, Philadelphia, Dallas
I wouldn't draft Tebow, but I can see some scenarios where he would fit. Any team that takes Tebow will require the luxury of using a high pick on a player who won't compete for a starting spot. If you're a team that has issues, and you have holes to fill, you don't need to mess with Tebow. Who has that luxury? New England would be one of those teams. So would Philadelphia, and Dallas. I'm not saying those teams will draft Tebow, but they might have the right situation to develop him.
Jason La Canfora: New England makes sense
I've been talking about Tebow to New England for months now, and it continues to make all the sense in the world. He has the size and leadership ability the Patriots demand, and few coaches are as forward-thinking and innovative as Bill Belichick. Belichick loves elements of the spread offense, and Tebow is the kind of kid he loves. He also shares a strong relationship with Tebow's college coach. Tebow will have time to develop under Tom Brady, and in the meantime Belichick will find packages to get him on the field as a TE/H-back. The Pats have the luxury of three second round picks and two first rounders in 2011, so they can afford to gamble. Tebow might be a replacement for Brady one day, or a solid backup, or a chip that is eventually parlayed into something else.
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Bob Papa: New Orleans a great spot
Tebow needs to be in a place where he is not viewed as a savior or a guy drafted to just sell tickets. I think New Orleans would be a great landing spot. He could learn at the feet of Drew Brees. Plus Sean Payton would find creative ways to use him. I also like Houston, Green Bay or Atlanta as nice fits.
Solomon Wilcots: New England would benefit Tebow
A team that has an incumbent quarterback who isn't threatened by the presence of Tebow is a qualifier. He has to have time to develop. We need to pump our breaks and allow this kid the time to grow and develop into an NFL QB. We know he's going to go work work hard, he needs to be put in the right place to be developed and learn the right way. New England is a team who comes to mind. Under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, Tebow would learn how to read defenses, learn how to study and learn the right way. I think if you afford Tebow the room to grow into being an NFL player, it will play to his best attributes.