by Michael Lombardi
January 27, 02010
QUOTE: “True originality consists not in a new manner but in a new vision.” -- Edith Wharton
Which teams could pick Tim Tebow?
Tim Tebow generates more discussion and opinion than any player I can remember scouting in my career. The most asked question of 2010: “Which round will Tebow get drafted?” He’s a popular water-cooler discussion, and everyone seems to have an opinion based on watching him play at Florida. Tebow can’t do anything on the field this week without someone deciding that he’s either helped or hurt his draft stock. Never has a player been under a larger microscope, but all this attention never seems to rattle him. He is a media darling -- in fact, I was told Tuesday that even club scouts were asking for his autograph. Amazing, right?
In the NFL, at least as it relates to quarterbacks, it’s not hard to determine who might have an interest. And if you understand how the NFL works, forming a list of potential suitors for Tebow is not that difficult. Tebow will only appeal to certain teams in the early rounds, although if he slips (which I don’t expect), there may be more teams involved. But for the sake of this discussion, I’ll put together a profile of teams that would have an interest.
Tebow will be most appealing to teams whose leadership base is run by an offensive coach with the power to make the final decision. He will not be appealing (or successful, in my opinion) if he’s drafted by the personnel department and forced on the coaches. Someone has to believe in him, but that someone must be the play caller, the play designer and the person directly coaching Tebow. For example, could the Jacksonville Jaguars draft Tebow? Yes, they could because Gene Smith, their personnel man, might admire his play, but he would have to convince head coach Jack Del Rio and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter that Tebow can be successful. This would require Del Rio and Koetter believing in the pick, believing it can work and not folding if the pick starts to struggle. Tebow is not a middle management pick, he’s a CEO pick. He can’t be just a personnel department pick, he must be the leader of the organization’s pick, and that leader must be an offensive coach. So that narrows the field of potential teams.
It will take a team like the Washington Redskins, who are run by Mike Shanahan, an offensive coach who has the authority to make the pick and needs a quarterback. Does this mean the ‘Skins like Tebow? There’s no way of telling right now as the process is just beginning, but they fit the profile. So does Denver, and the fact that head coach Josh McDaniels made Matt Cassel successful in his scheme makes them a team of possible interest — but once again, it’s too early to say for sure.
What about Buffalo? I’d say the Bills fit the profile based on what new head coach Chan Gailey likes in a quarterback, but it might not be appealing to the front office. As a result, they don’t fit the profile completely. When considering where Tebow might go, think offensive decision maker and a team that needs a quarterback.
This is my last Tebow column until I can watch him play in a game and study his games at Florida more closely. We all need to let the kid play.
Why are the Bears struggling to find an offensive coordinator?
Coaches in the NFL are always about feeling secure, and the situation in Chicago is not secure. The perception is that head coach Lovie Smith will need a good year in order to keep his job, and that perception has become a reality. Not many coaches want to walk into a one-year deal; not many are as secure in their ability as Steve Spagnuolo was when he left a secure job in Philadelphia to take the defensive coordinator position with the Giants in what appeared to be Tom Coughlin’s last season. They went on to win the Super Bowl, and Spagnuolo became a legitimate head coaching candidate. As Albert Einstein once said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Clearly, there’s a great opportunity in Chicago, but it will require a secure coach who’s confident in his ability.
If a coach believes in himself as new Raider offensive coordinator Hue Jackson does, he will look at the Bears position as a way to make a statement. Jackson is taking a huge career risk working with JaMarcus Russell, but Jackson is strong and confident in his own talents. He’ll be missed in Baltimore as he was the perfect buffer between quarterback Joe Flacco and coordinator Cam Cameron. If he makes Russell a player -- and that’s a big if -- then Jackson will be a head coach, either at the Raiders or some other NFL team soon. Where there’s a risk, there’s always a reward, and the Bears job has huge rewards.
Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi
For more on Tim Tebow, the Senior Bowl and his draft stock, check out this article from Bleacher Report.