Tag:Kyle Orton
Posted on: October 18, 2011 9:06 am
 

Veterans worth more than late round draft picks

Today is the NFL's trade deadline. All deals must be reported to the league offices by 4 pm Eastern.

Some believe there will be a small flurry of trades. Most likely, this  year there will be few, if any, last minute deals.

It isn't difficult to understand why.

Besides the complexities of today's salaries and contracts, teams simply are unwilling to package draft picks for veteran players -- even for those with a proven track record in the league.

Yesterday's deal between the St. Louis Rams and the Denver Broncos is a prime example. The Rams, desperately in need of a reliable set of hands to help young quarterback Sam Bradford, sent a conditional late round pick (officially a sixth, which can be escalated to a fifth) for the rights to wide receiver Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd, 30, led the league last year with 1,448 receiving yards in a Pro Bowl effort. He had the same quarterback this season (at least early on) in Kyle Orton (another veteran rumored to be on the move), but clearly wasn't the same wideout in Denver's current run-oriented offense. Last season, the veteran journeyman receiver enjoyed career highs in receptions, yardage and touchdowns. In St. Louis, he'll get Bradford and, more importantly, be reunited with former head coach and aggressive pass-caller Josh McDaniels.

For a late round pick, the Rams would appear to have found a player that can provide immediate dividends.

Now I ask you, what are the odds that St. Louis' 2012 sixth (or fifth, for that matter) would do the same?

Certainly I have to concede that at 30 years old Lloyd may not have as many years in the league left in him as whatever rookie the Rams would have selected. However, given that the average NFL career spans only three seasons that may not be true.

Also, what makes Lloyd an effective receiver -- his savviness as a route-runner, body control and sticky hands -- aren't the characteristics likely to suddenly be lost due to age, like speed or explosiveness.

The deal makes sense for both clubs. The Rams needed help. The Broncos are clearly moving in a different direction and would love to acquire the draft picks needed to aid them in doing so.

But a late round pick for a Pro Bowl receiver who, not surprisingly, is "excited for the move," should prove once again the NFL continues to overvalue its draft picks in relation to proven veterans.
Posted on: October 11, 2011 7:17 pm
 

Don't underestimate spark Tebow provides


About two months ago, as news broke that 2010 first round pick Tim Tebow had slipped to No. 3 on the Denver Broncos' depth chart, a national writer who I respect very much essentially asked me to explain what went wrong.

I argued that nothing had gone wrong, which was counter to what virtually everyone else was saying -- and probably why my comments weren't part of his article.

Now that Tebow has given an opportunity to start for Denver again, I fully expect critics to again rise up and bash the move. And again, I will preach patience.

I have never considered myself to be a Tim Tebow apologist. If I were running an NFL franchise I would not have selected him in the first round. That said, he does possess some extraordinary skills that can, if complimented correctly, lead to success as a quarterback in the NFL. I believed it then. And I stand behind my 2nd round grade for Tebow now.

Anyone who watched any of the second half of Denver's game Sunday against the Chargers saw the immediate spark Tebow provided. The fans were more excited. Teammates were more excited. Had Brandon Lloyd not dropped what was a very accurate pass from Tebow for the tying two-point conversion in the closing minutes, the Broncos' coaching staff would have no choice but to be excited.

Instead, today feels as though the Broncos' staff are throwing their collective hands up in the air and saying, "Ah, what the hell, let's give this Tebow guy a try."

Tebow serves as a classic example of how the high expectations of a spectacular collegiate career can quickly turn to disappointment when similar success isn't immediately gained in the NFL.

Tebow started three games as a rookie, leading the Broncos to one of their four victories (Houston) last year. He threw for 651 yards in those three contests, including passing for four touchdowns against three interceptions. He also ran in a touchdown in each of the three games. Were his name not Tim Tebow, one might argue that a rookie quarterback scoring seven touchdowns against four turnovers (he fumbled against Houston) and leading his team to 25% of his team's victories despite only starting 5% of the season might have done enough to earn more playing time.

Instead, because of the fact that he'll never be the prototypical spread passer so en vogue in today's NFL, he's already being characterized by some as failure whose only chance at NFL success is at a different position.

In reality, Tebow's size, ability to throw on the run and intangibles continue to make him a fit in an offense geared around the running game -- which is precisely what Denver is attempting to do with John Fox.

Fox, and team president John Elway, clearly would not have picked Tebow had they been with the Broncos in April of 2010. The fact that they are giving him an opportunity, however, is acknowledgment that he did bring a spark to this team on Sunday.

My job as a talent evaluator asks me to grade the measureables. Heights, weights, 40-times, completion percentages, they are all part of the gig. Tebow, perhaps more than any other quarterback I've scouted (though Jake Locker is close) has a toughness and competitive spirit about him that defies a numerical grade.

I've watched too many quarterback with marginal accuracy, arm strength and mobility have success in the NFL when an offense is tailored around their individual skill-set. Under Fox, the Carolina Panthers did precisely this for Jake Delhomme, recognizing that his ability to lead his teammates could result in wins, despite his lack of ideal tools.

Thus far this season, Denver's starter, Kyle Orton, has completed 58.7% of his passes 979 yards, eight touchdowns, seven interceptions and two fumbles lost.

Orton's numbers aren't impressive. Even less so is Denver's record (1-4) during that time. I am not claiming that Tebow's touchdowns or completion percentage will be better.

But give Tebow five games. Don't be surprised when the team "miraculously" has a higher winning percentage with him at quarterback -- just like it did last year.

Posted on: December 20, 2010 11:19 am
Edited on: December 20, 2010 11:21 am
 

Young NFL QBs Tebow, Flynn, etc impress

As you've no doubt heard or read before, the NFL is a results business. For all of the hype that Tim Tebow received coming out of college (and the little that Matt Flynn had), they were among a group of young passers forced to prove themselves Sunday.

Tim Tebow's starting debut, of course, was the player most focused on. Tebow was unable to lead the Broncos to a victory in Oakland, but played better than his statistics might lead you to believe. The Broncos protected their rookie quarterback with a run-heavy attack. Tebow completed 8 of 16 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown. He would have thrown for another TD had RB Lance Ball not dropped a short pass in the endzone. Tebow also led the team with 78 rushing yards, including a 40 yard touchdown run that showcased the Heisman form that helped him overtake Herschel Walker as the SEC's career leader in touchdowns. Tebow wasn't spectacular, but considering that Denver had lost 59-14 at home to the Raiders in October and were tied at 20-20 in the 3rd quarter before Oakland was able to pull away late to win 39-20), Tebow showed plenty of upside.

Perhaps the most surprising performance of the day -- at least to some -- came from Green Bay Packers' backup Matt Flynn . Flynn, a three year veteran making his first career start, out-shined MVP candidate Tom Brady for much of the night, completing 24 of 37 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw an interception. Flynn played poorly a week earlier after Packers' starter Aaron Rodgers went down with a concussion against Detroit. Flynn's improvement in this game wasn't a surprise to Packers' brass. They are very high on Flynn, as evidenced by the fact that they kept him over 2008 second round choice Brian Brohm. In fact, as I noted in this space in September of 2009, some of the reason why Packers' GM Ted Thompson forced Brett Favre to either retire or accept a trade to a team other than the Vikings was the belief in the former LSU standout, Flynn.
Flynn's performance will hardly unseat Aaron Rodgers, but it does provide the Packers with the assurance that they have a reliable backup and trade commodity.

Tebow and Flynn's efforts in losses weren't the only highlights from young quarterbacks, however.

The Carolina Panthers got their first win under rookie Jimmy Clausen . Clausen was far from spectacular in the Panthers' 19-12 victory over Arizona, but he was more efficient than fellow rookie John Skelton, completing 13 of 19 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. He did not commit a turnover - only the second time in eight starts this season that's he thrown for a TD and not had a turnover. Clausen wasn't so good that the Panthers should consider anyone other than Andrew Luck with the first overall pick, should the Stanford redshirt sophomore come out early and Carolina end the season with the worst record. He was good enough, however, to allow the team to look at another position (rather than reach for another developmental QB) should Luck remain at Stanford. 

In terms of efficiency, Cleveland's Colt McCoy (19-25 for 243 yards and two TDs) was actually the most impressive rookie quarterback of the day. The Browns struggled to maintain drives against the Bengals, however, and lost to Cincinnati, breaking Marvin Lewis' squad's 10-game losing streak. McCoy's two touchdowns came on a trick play in the first quarter and a defensive breakdown in the 4th.

The Broncos, Packers, Panthers and Browns have plenty of decisions to make before the April draft. Some of those decisions, however, may have been made easier with the performances of their young QBs yesterday.

Remember that for complete draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com or simply click here.


Posted on: December 6, 2010 7:33 pm
 

McDaniels' firing could be catastrophic for Tebow

In firing head coach Josh McDaniels Monday, Denver Broncos' owner may also be endangering the career of the Broncos' 2010 first round pick, quarterback Tim Tebow.

In aggressively trading up to select him, McDaniels was obviously a believer that the former Heisman Trophy winner could be a successful starting quarterback in the NFL. As you may recall, there were many others who did not believe that to be true, citing Tebow's elongated delivery and significant adaptation from the spread offense as primary reasons why he'd never enjoy the same kind of success in the pros as he did in college.

Kyle Orton's emergence this season had pushed Tebow's development onto the back burner in Denver. Whomever owner Pat Bowlen elects to bring in as McDaniels' replacement will almost surely want to go with the proven commodity in Orton over Tebow, pushing the former SEC star's development back further.

Quarterback development is perhaps one of the least understood aspects of the NFL for many football fans. Many fans tout the idea of drafting a young quarterback and developing them behind a veteran. They may not realize that the second and third string quarterbacks rarely receive the number of snaps in a given practice week to develop, making training camp and OTAs the best opportunity for young signal-callers to make any real headway.

With presumably a new head coach and his chosen staff coming in after the season ends, the Broncos will be busy implementing their new scheme, meaning that Orton will be getting more practice time than he would if playing under McDaniels and in the system he clearly understands well.

Tebow's passion and the work ethic he showed at Florida is one of the reasons why coaches fell in love with him in interviews. However, with limited opportunity to improve and playing under a head coach who has nothing personally invested in him, Tebow's pro career could be on the verge of floundering before it ever really had a chance to float.
Posted on: April 19, 2010 7:15 pm
 

Denver emerging as new candidate for No. 1 pick?

Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert publicly announced that his team had held conversations with the St. Louis Rams about obtaining the No. 1 overall pick.

It will be interesting to see if the Denver Broncos are as forthcoming with their internal conversations.

I am told that some of the reason that Denver has been asking for picks rather than veteran players in return for Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler is that the club is considering making a significant proposal to the Rams for the first overall pick.

The Broncos feature Kyle Orton as their starting quarterback and recently acquired Brady Quinn, but head coach Josh McDaniels is thought to be very high on Sam Bradford and could see Orton as a stopgap starter until Bradford is ready to take over.

The Broncos own four picks within the draft's top 80 selections, including the 11th overall. Josh McDaniiels has shown a willingness to trade future picks in the past. He traded Denver's 2010 first round pick to Seattle last year for the right to move up in the second round and select Wake Forest cornerback Alphonso Smith.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com