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Recent posts by Matt Feminis
It’s hard to believe the focus at a pro day at a football factory like Florida could be so intensely fixated on one player, but that was the case yesterday in Gainesville where QB Tim Tebow was put through the paces for the final time publicly before his draft fate is decided. The combination of Tebow’s historic on-field exploits, celebrity status and polarizing scouting opinions has created hype the likes of which are rarely seen surrounding a prospect entering the league. Not surprisingly, fans and NFL decision makers alike, including a full Browns contingent, Steelers Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert and a handful of head coaches such as Mike Tomlin, Tom Coughlin and John Fox, were out in full force to witness the UF pro day.
Under grey skies, Tebow showed improved mechanics, including a more compact delivery, but the quarterback’s alterations since season’s end do more to illustrate his work habits rather than give evaluators comfort that he is on track to become a starter-caliber pocket passer. The reality is months of technical refinement could fall by the wayside the first time Tebow is staring down the rush in a game situation, a time when natural motion and muscle memory developed over years and years as an athlete (including high school baseball) could take over.
Ultimately, it’s not likely a team will invest a first-round selection on Tebow, but early second round is not unrealistic, as teams do covet his rare intangibles. And after impressing in agility drills at the Combine, teams believe, at worst, he could develop into a very capable H-back.
Also notable on Wednesday were the 40 times of CB Joe Haden and ILB Brandon Spikes. A back injury affected Haden’s speed at the Combine, but he rebounded to run in the high 4.3s/low 4.4s, solidifying his standing as the top cover man available and a solid top-20 selection. Spikes, however, could not bust 5.0. That will keep him out of the first round, but he plays faster than he times and shows very well on tape.