Our guy Kevin Seifert had a blog post after the NFL Scouting Combine suggesting that Florida quarterback Tim Tebow could well wind up in the NFC North, and ESPN.com said the Packers were among the five or six most likely suitors for the former Heisman winner.
And I’ve got to say, I think Tebow could be worth a look.
Here’s what you’d be getting: A big, physical quarterback with mechanics issues, but one whose work ethic and character has never been questioned for a second and who won sooner, more and bigger than just about any player in college football history. Oh, and he jumped 38 1/2 inches and ran a 4.72 40-yard dash.
No one is suggesting Tebow is a perfect NFL prospect — his ball carriage needs some serious work, and Florida has never produced a successful NFL quarterback. But many executives will say they’d rather start with what Tebow does have — a thirst to be the best, a rock-solid foundation and a knack for leadership — than what he doesn’t have.
And look at what the Packers got in Aaron Rodgers in 2005: A quarterback with surprising foot speed and an impressive arm, but one whose mechanics scared off plenty of teams. Mike McCarthy and quarterbacks coach Tom Clements made the necessary tweaks, and as Seifert points out, Rodgers now has one of the best deliveries in the game.
Then there were these comments from McCarthy at the Scouting Combine:
“I think the guy’s a winner, just the way he plays the game. I know a lot’s being said about his mechanics. Just the way he approaches the game of football, I think he’ll do everything he needs to do to improve. But you look for football players. And his record in college, I think, speaks for itself. But I’d love the opportunity to work with a Tim Tebow.”
General manager Ted Thompson also had a glowing review of Tebow, saying, “Based on his history, I think that would be a little bit premature to start criticizing him and doubting his ability to play. He’s been playing at a pretty high level for quite some time. Has to go down as one of the great college football players of all time, so let’s don’t sell him short just yet.”
Those could be nothing more than a pair of highly complementary smoke screens. But if Tebow is available in, say, the third or fourth round, isn’t it worth a look? The Packers’ backup situation is less than settled, but Matt Flynn has been in their program for two years now. They’d have time to work with Tebow, iron out the flaws in his game and turn him into a capable backup, or possibly a trade chip. Or maybe they’d harness his other skills in some kind of wacky spread offense, though that seems less likely with this administration.
If all that’s at stake, though, is a mid-round pick, Tebow should get a look. The upside is well worth the risk.
Plus, you know how the Packers love those guys with matching initials.