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Tebow eventually must pass the NFL test

Change of mechanics will give him time, but teams still want results. Matt Bowen

Print This February 24, 2010, 07:04 AM EST

Recently, Tim Tebow has made an effort to change his throwing mechanics. We all know he took a beating from scouts and the media after his performance at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., but is this the solution?

Tebow will forgo putting his new skills on display in Indianapolis this week at the NFL Scouting Combine. And just like QB Dan LeFevour of Central Michigan, he should take some heat for bailing on the biggest job interview he will ever have. But we know better, and we also know that he’s going to get a “free pass” from the league due to his desire to work on his skills — and eventually throw on campus.

Don’t like it? I’m with you, but when a player who has already been criticized from every angle for a week of practice says he’s going to change the way he delivers the football, then the league is going to listen.

And this is a prospect everyone wants to know about.

The NFL brass will give Tebow time, but they’ll expect big results down in Gainesville when the former Florida QB is back under the microscope.

I don’t know if Tebow can be an NFL starting QB, and it’s unfair to say that now because we don’t know enough. In reality, the same could be said for Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen — the top two QB prospects of the 2010 draft. They aren’t ready for Sundays yet, either.

But we envision that they will be because of their skill sets, their college performances and what they look like when they hit that fifth step on their pass drop and deliver the ball down the field. They’re what we like to call NFL-ready, but even that’s just a shot in the dark.

With Tebow, it’s easier. We could see him struggle in Mobile. The reasons started to fly in from every angle, and we pointed the finer in ridiculous places — such as Urban Meyer, the Florida head coach. It isn’t Meyer’s job to coach his players to be ready for the combine and the NFL. His job is to win games on Saturdays.

Instead, it’s Tebow's job to prepare his arm to look and act like an NFL arm in front of scouts.

No different than any WR or DB who lines up to run the 3-Cone drill this week in Indy — because that’s all they’ve done for the last two months. Rep after rep, they are preparing to “wow” scouts in the generic, stale environment of the combine.

What Tebow is doing now by bailing out on throwing in front of the entire NFL at the combine is preparing for his test on his own campus. If he can look the part and show scouts he can throw the football with the classic NFL over the top and quick release, he’ll pass their test and see his draft stock start to climb.

It will help him get drafted higher — and that’s the main goal of this whole situation that’s drawing media headlines and the main goal of very prospect. Sure, we’ll single out Tebow because of his resume and his star power from the SEC, but don’t view what he’s doing as a QB with his personnel coaches as a guideline for how he’ll play on Sundays.

That will change once he’s drafted and starts to work with the position coach of the Jaguars, Patriots or whoever calls his name in April. Don’t be shocked if Tebow goes higher than you would want to believe, and don’t be surprised if scouts walk away from his personal workout thinking differently about the rookie prospect.

Because that’s why he won’t throw this weekend in Indianapolis. He needs time to pass the NFL QB test.

Follow me on Twitter: MattBowen41

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