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Give Tebow credit for playing in Senior Bowl

He’s competing in the showcase game and displaying his toughness. Matt Bowen

Print This January 29, 2010, 02:00 PM EST

I understand that Tim Tebow struggled this week down at the Senior Bowl. In fact, you can’t get through the day without reading — from everyone with a computer — that Tebow struggled with his mechanics, his drops, his feet and his throwing motion.

But give him credit for showing up. Because by doing so, he showed scouts, GMs, head coaches and others that he has nothing to hide. Yes, his game in far from NFL-ready, but he isn’t hiding behind the spread offense anymore.

Talking to our guys from the NFP who have been in Mobile, Ala., this week, we all came to the same conclusion about Tebow — because he could have bailed. He could have said, “Come watch me at my pro day,” or he could have said, “Just turn on the tape.”

The NFL Network’s Mike Mayock had the same feeling, telling the NFP’s Aaron Wilson, “I just give the kid credit for being here because he hasn’t had the chance to change any of his mechanics that need to be changed. I give him a ton of credit for embracing the opportunity as opposed to kind of hiding from everybody and saying, ‘Give me two months to change everything and I’ll show you at my pro day.’ So to me, he’s going to show the intangibles of leadership and toughness and all those things that coaches especially love. I think you’re going to see mechanical issues.”

Mayock is spot on. This process is hard, and although I played in Maui at the now-extinct Hula Bowl before the NFL Combine in 2000, the process is still the same.

Once you’re eligible for the draft, the NFL owns you.

What I mean by that is simple: You do what you’re told until you make a team and until you actually show the NFL brass that you can produce on Sundays.

Until then, what you did in college is just a part of the long process that will test these hopefuls each and every day through the draft and into their first training camp — where they will be, well, just rookies.

That’s just how it is, and Tebow’s decision to show up in Mobile and put his body, his game and his mental capacity of an NFL playbook on the line, he’s doing what he’s being asked to do.

He had a rough week? Does that mean we sacrifice him already? No, not even close.

Unfortunately, we tend to do that with rookie quarterbacks and try to judge their “readiness” for their first season in January. But no rookie is ready for what they’re going through right now, and that includes the 2010 season — quarterback or not. One of the best football players I’ve ever seen was Sean Taylor is Washington, and as great as Sean was, he wasn’t ready for the NFL on opening day.

It’s a huge adjustment for these guys, one that I can’t stress enough and will talk about a lot this offseason as we head to Indy for the combine and into the draft weekend, OTAs, mini-camps, training camps and finally — real Sunday action.

As for Tebow, someone is going to draft him and someone is going to find a spot for him on their club. A poor week of practice isn’t going to change that.

Let’s see how he progresses. Let’s see how he does in Indy and in Gainesville, Fla., at his pro day before we throw him on the scrap heap.

Because the process is just beginning for Tebow and for all of the other 300-plus draft hopefuls who think they belong in the NFL.

Follow me on Twitter: MattBowen41

For a look at some of the impact senior prospects who may not be drafted in the first round, check out this article from Bleacher Report.

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