Tag:Tim Tebow
Posted on: February 22, 2010 2:13 pm
 

Tebow not throwing, huge opportunity for others

Over the past several days, we've seen Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen and Dan LeFevour announce that they'll not be throwing at the Combine. Texas' Colt McCoy hopes to throw, but left himself wiggle room in case his recovering shoulder doesn't feel 100%.

Tebow, citing the fact that he's altered his throwing mechanics since the Senior Bowl, is not going to throw now.

Should these five -- arguably the top five quarterbacks in the draft -- all elect not to throw, it opens up a world of opportunity for Tony Pike, Zac Robinson, Sean Canfield and others to make a significant leap up the board. When "on" Robinson was as impressive as any during the Senior Bowl and the individual skills competition a few weeks ago. If you're looking for a darkhorse candidate to really leap up the board during the passing drills, he might be one to focus in on.

On another note, the decision to leave out worthy throwers like former Tennessee standout Jonathan Crompton could come back to bite scouts. Crompton, I'm sure, would accept a late invite to help make sure there were enough arms for the receiver, tight end and back receiving drills.

A few years ago, I watched former BYU star John Beck move himself into the top of the second round with a strong showing at the Combine. Last year, with Matt Stafford watching from the sidelines, I watched Mark Sanchez impress scouts with his competitive fire by participating, fizzle a bit during the workout and then leap up draft boards when he showed staggering improvement at the USC Pro Day roughly a month later.





Posted on: January 30, 2010 4:19 pm
 

Surprise, surprise... Tebow starts

One of the more interesting aspects of any all-star game is which players the coaches elect to start.

Perhaps not surprising, considering his fanfare, Tim Tebow earned the start for the South. '

The Miami coaching staff seemed to have a great deal of confidence in him, electing to throw passes on the first five plays.

The five passes were relatively easy passes - a screen to Dexter McCluster starting off and ending with a poorly thrown ball down the seam to tight end Anthony McCoy. Tebow started off hot, but wasn't helped out by former teammate Riley Cooper, who short-armed a ball on a drag route across the middle.  
Posted on: January 30, 2010 12:42 pm
 

Players to watch in Senior Bowl

You've read (or heard) us say how much more important the week of practice at the Senior Bowl is than the game, itself.

And while it is true that 90% of the scouts, coaches and front office excecutives that were in Mobile this week have now left, don't think that many of them will miss tuning in to the game (4 pm EST, NFL Network).

All players have an opportunity to help themselves with a strong performance today, but quarterbacks, running backs, and linebackers have historically gained the most.

Tim Tebow , of course, will get most of the attention, but be sure to check out the other South passers. West Virginia's Jarrett Brown could put a emphatic end to the week with a strong performance today and Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson has certainly flashed.

Because I promised myself I wouldn't write two consecutive sentences about #15, here's my final one -- don't pay so much attention to his elongated release (which remains the same it has always been), but instead to his ability to take the snap from center and accuracy downfield, as these were the two elements in which Tebow made consistent strides over the week.

It will be interesting, as well, to see if any sort of consistency comes from the North passers. Due to his mobility, Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour might be able to shake free some of the rust that hindered him this week. Cincinnati's Tony Pike has the arm to dazzle, but hasn't been able to string together more than a few completions in a row. Oregon State's Sean Canfield has struggled to get passes on a line outside the hashes due to a marginal arm strength, but throws a pretty ball down the seam and deep. If he can connect on a big one, he could leave Mobile with a positive.

The most dynamic running back this week of practice has clearly been Ole Miss' Mr. Everything Dexter McCluster . I haven't written about him, however, as the week of practice -- in which defenders were clearly instructed not to wrap up -- is perfectly suited to the elusive speedster's game. Now, don't get me wrong, McCluster showed remarkable strength and balance throughout his monster season in the SEC and may have a strong game today, but it will be tougher for him to break free for the 70 yarders that he was routinely zipping through in practice.

With defenders able to actually tackle backs, it will be interesting to see how the power backs Anthony Dixon (Mississippi State) and LaGarrette Blount (Oregon) fare. Be sure to watch for Wayne State's Joique Bell , who quietly helped himself this week and I wrote about as a one of the "honorable mention " risers from the week of practices.

Attempting to make the tackle on this blend of size, speed and power and shiftiness is a solid, but unspectacular class of linebackers. I'm particularly interested to see how effectively Missouri's Sean Weatherspoon , TCU's Daryl Washington , Florida State's Dekoda Watson and Washington's Donald Butler are able to fight through blocks and make open field stops close to the line of scrimmage, rather than downfield.

One final to note -- watch out for USC safety Taylor Mays to make an impact as a hitter in this game. As the opposite of McCluster, Mays' game is in the ferocity of his hitting, not the mobility he shows in coverage. Considering that he wasn't allowed to hit much over the week of practice, it isn't the least bit surprising that some feel he's struggled. The reality, is that Mays has been the same player this week as he's always been - the preeminent intimidator over the middle of at least the past ten years.
Posted on: January 27, 2010 6:26 pm
 

Jarrett Brown, Zac Robinson step it up

Despite all of the attention heaped upon Tim Tebow, West Virginia's Jarrett Brown and Zac Robinson more than held their own Wednesday, each enjoying their strongest practices of the week.

Brown, the West Virginia passer with only one year of starting experience, has proven the most consistent South quarterback over the week's practices. For those that haven't yet seen him, Brown is far from another version of Wildcat-specialist Pat White. Brown has a quick release and a strong arm and was fearless Wednesday, attacking all levels of the field despite having already secured his status as one of the risers from this week's action. His strong performance and legitimate upside may have boosted his status into the late 2nd or early 3rd round.

Cowboys' quarterback Zac Robinson was very good throughout most of practice before throwing two interceptions to former teammate Perrish Cox to close the show. Robinson has shown above average touch all week and showed more willingness to fire passes with authority today. He was especially improved on quick outs and slant routes, threading the needle against tight coverage often. As improved as he looked Wednesday, however, scouts would like to see him hit his receivers in stride more consistently. Too often, they had to slow or adjust their bodies to make the catch, limiting their potential for yards-after-the-catch opportunities. 


Posted on: January 27, 2010 6:15 pm
 

Tebow "pretty damn impressive" Wednesday

After two days of mostly inconsistent performances, the South quarterbacks -- Tim Tebow, Jarrett Brown and Zac Robinson -- each were markedly improved Wednesday.

Tebow, of course, remains the national story and was the biggest surprise to scouts to play so well Wednesday, widely felt to be the week's most important practice.

As one longtime scout told me following practice, Tebow "was pretty damn impressive" today.

Another forecasted that Tebow's big name and brewing confidence could easily result in his enjoying a MVP-performance in Saturday's game.

His elongated throwing motion remains a concern, but there was a night and day improvement today in his accuracy. Tebow zipped slants, threw with touch down the seam and completed various deep balls, including one to down the sideline over Kentucky cornerback Trevard Lindley that was as perfectly placed as Brett Favre's touchdown pass to Sidney Rice that began the Vikings' scoring against Dallas in the NFL Divisional playoffs two weeks ago. Hitting his receiver () in full stride, with perfect trajectory and over the outside shoulder, the pass couldn't have been throw better.

The rapid improvement over the past three days will force scouts to re-think their preconceptions about how quickly Tebow could adapt to the NFL.


Posted on: January 25, 2010 11:54 pm
 

Circus-like atmosphere for Tebow

In scouting the Senior Bowl since 2000, I've seen anything quite like today's South practice.

There were more fans, media, security at this one practice than I may have seen in any two combined practices in the past.

Let me attempt to describe the scene for you.

With the exception of the walk-through Friday practices, Mondays typically offer the least amount of excitement. Players are still jumpy, they've developed very little to any rapport with oneanother, they're more often than not limited to only shells (helmets, shoulder pads and shorts) and the coaches are often more focused on teaching certain basics, rather than allowing the players to really hit.

Furthermore, with the player weigh-in Monday morning, there is only enough light in the day for one practice session. Therefore, the North team practiced at Ladd Peebles Stadium, the site of Saturday's game, and the South team traveled to Fairhope Municipal Stadium, a 30 minute drive away. Each practiced began at 2:30 pm local (central) time.

Despite the fact that scouts were split up, it was obvious which team held the most interest for them. Based on the number of Florida fans in the stands, it was just as obvious why so many chose to go watch the South -- Tim Tebow was practicing there, after all.

Years ago, the Senior Bowl wasn't the spectacle it is now. As such, NFL personnel and media were allowed onto the field, itself, to scout from the sidelines during practice. We were only asked to remain on the sidelines until practice ended. Once it ended, upon flashing our credentials, we could enter the field to speak to the players. In the post 9/11 world, however, security tightened and league personnel and media were asked to remain in the stands during practice. A uniformed police officer remained at the gate and allowed us to enter at the conclusion of practice to speak to players.

There were several police officers on and off the field Monday, as well as some yellow-coated crowd control officers. There was an impromptu gate set up just to enter the stadium with one of the yellow-coated officers brandishing a metal detecting wand and patting down visitors.

If the event was the circus, then Tebow was clearly the main attraction on center stage. There were more Florida #15 jerseys in the stands and on the sidelines than Alabama and Auburn jerseys combined. When Tebow left the field, he was serenaded with chants of his last name and the screams of girls more suited to a Jonas Brothers concert than a typical Senior Bowl practice.

And to think, tomorrow, when there will be even more NFL scouts on hand, the circus could be even bigger...
Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: January 25, 2010 2:59 pm
 

Some surprises at the Senior Bowl weigh-in

College football teams are notorious for exaggerating the heights/weights and speeds of their athletes. The official weigh-in and measurements at all-star games and the Scouting Combine provide a truer picture of each player's actual size.

Some players come in smaller or lighter than expected and could see a slip down draft boards as a result. Others pleasantly surprised by measuring in taller or clearly spending some time in the gym or weight room since the end of the season.

A few players who disappointed during the weigh-ins were:

With all of the buzz around Tim Tebow, fellow South quarterbacks Tony Pike (Cincinnati) and Zac Robinson (Oklahoma State) did themselves no favors by each measuring in smaller than expected. Pike, at nearly 6-6, weighed on 212 pounds. His skinny build won't do much to convince scouts that he'll be more durable in the NFL than he's proven while with the Bearcats. Similarly, Robinson, who was listed by Oklahoma State at 6-3, 218 pounds, instead came in just over 6'2 and 210 pounds...

Pike's teammate, Mardy Gilyard , also came in very light. While certainly elusive, scouts wonder if he'll be able to get off press coverage in the slot at only 179 pounds.

Tight end/Fullback 'tweeners Dorin Dickerson and Garrett Graham also came in smaller than expected. Dickerson, originally listed at 6-2, 230 pounds, was instead 6-1, 222 and Graham (6-3, 250), only weight 234 pounds.

A few players who helped themselves during the weigh-ins were:


Florida State outside linebacker Dekoda Watson , boasting arguably the most impressive physique of either roster, surprised by measuring in at 6-2, 232 pounds. He had been listed by the Seminoles at 226 pounds and some scouts had estimated that he'd actually weigh in under 220.

NFL teams looking for bullish backs will be certain to keep an eye on Mississippi State's Anthony Dixon and Oregon LaGarrette Blount , each of whom measured in at an eye-popping 245 pounds. Their weight certainly wasn't due to extra slices of pizza following their seasons. Trim waistlines and thick lower bodies should aid in their transition to the NFL.

Utah pass rusher Koa Misi , who played defensive end for the Utes, seems to be taking his likely conversion to outside linebacker seriously. Expected to weigh in at 6-2, 263, but instead came in nearly an inch taller and at a relatively svelt 243 pounds.

Guards Jon Asamoa (Illinois) and John Jerry (Mississippi) each weighed in lighter than expected. Asamoa had been listed by Illinois at 6-5, 315 pounds, but actually came in at 6-4 and 300 pounds. Jerry was listed by Ole Miss at 6-6, 335, but had reportedly seen his weight balloon to over 350, at times, came in at 6-5 (and a 1/2) and and 332 pounds. We'll see if the drop in weight makes him even more athletic, without sacrificing his power.

Notes --

The smallest player measured was Ole Miss all-purpose star Dexter McCluster, who measured in at a shade over 5'08 and at 165 pounds. Not surprisingly, Alabama nose guard Terrance Cody was the heaviest player, tipping the scales at 370 pounds. Cody's sloppy build will move him down some teams' boards. Notre Dame offensive tackle Sam Young, the last man measured, was the tallest player. He came in at 6'07 (and 3/4) and 305 pounds.


Posted on: January 9, 2010 2:43 pm
 

Senior Bowl Coaching Staffs -- Mia vs. Det.

In prepping for what will be my tenth Senior Bowl, I was pleased to read that the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins will be the coaching staffs in place for the Mobile all-star game classic.

For one, Jim Schwartz and Tony Sparano are innovative, high-energy coaches that will push the players throughout the week of practice. If everything I've heard about these teams' practice habits are correct, the drills and scrimmages will be run efficiently. Teaching and coaching will be a focus, but the players won't be over-worked on scheme or re-working their technique. They'll be allowed to play and, more importantly, audition for the hundreds of scouts in attendance.

Secondly, with their varied offensive and defensive schemes, we'll get an opportunity to see these prospects preparing to play in or prepare for the 4-3 and 3-4 defenses, as well as pro-style and Wildcat offenses. The variety of scheme is particularly important for judging whether 'tweener players could effectively transition to an NFL system -- as in the case of undersized pass rushers potentially making the jump to the rush OLB position in the 3-4 or "Slash" quarterback types.

Considering the coaching choices, I'll not be at at all surprised when some of the more hotly debated senior prospects that fit in these two categories -- Tim Tebow, Dan LeFevour, Sergio Kindle, Ricky Sapp, Wille Young, etc. are ultimately invited to this game.



 
 
 
 
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