As expected, Tim Tebow has experienced ups and downs in his transition from quarterback to tight end. Early in training camp, he made a positive impact but he’s failed to stand out in recent practices. Although things won’t get any easier from now on, the former Gator has a chance to be on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ roster when they take on the Houston Texans in Week 1of the 2021 NFL season.
Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report recently made the case for Tebow surviving the final roster cuts on August 31. He acknowledges the 2010 first-round pick needs to work on his blocking skills. He also cites Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer, who says the two-time SEC Player of the Year needs to catch the ball with his hand, not his body. On the other hand, Moton breaks down the reasons why the tight end has a legitimate shot to make the team and goes on to highlight his strengths.
Moton says the Jaguars “don’t have a reliable pass-catching tight end”. If Tebow can do a better job of catching the ball, he could make a case for a roster spot. He points out that Chris Manhertz and James O’Shaughnessy have never hauled in more than 30 receptions in a single season while sophomores Ben Ellefson and Tyler Davis combined for one catch in 2020. Moton also notes that rookie Luke Farrell never had more than 20 receptions in any year at Ohio State.
How could the Jacksonville Jaguars use Tim Tebow?
Another thing that could help Tebow make the roster is his background as a quarterback. Moton cites Dianna Russini of ESPN, who reported that some people around the league believe the Jaguars will use Tebow in a “Tyaysom Hill-like role”. He “could throw, run the ball in short-yardage situations and catch some passes”. Moton thinks that Tebow could also get the ball inside the 10-yard line.
"If Meyer and Schottenheimer want to turn Tebow into Taysom Hill 2.0, the Jaguars can hand him the ball inside the 10-yard line. In two seasons with the Denver Broncos, he rushed for 887 yards and 12 touchdowns. At 6’3″, 255 pounds, Tebow would look like a fullback, mowing over defenders near the goal line or on 3rd-and-short."
Moton also thinks Tebow’s experience as a quarterback could pay dividends. He stresses that he doesn’t possess the best accuracy but believes the coaching staff could find him favorable matchups.
"A well-designed play call can draw defenders in the box to stop the run and leave wide-open passing lanes for easy completions."
Tim Tebow still has time to make his case for a roster spot.
The Jaguars need to trim their roster from 90 players to 85 players on August 17. It’s unlikely that Tim Tebow will be part of that group. The coaching staff will most likely give him as many opportunities to show he deserves to make the team. It won’t be easy though Ellefson is having an outstanding training camp and it’s unlikely (but not impossible) that the Jaguars will stash Farrell in the practice squad.
On the other hand, Tebow’s experience as a quarterback could indeed help them earn a roster spot. Moton and Russini aren’t the only ones who have suggested the Jags design special plays for the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner. A few months ago, Skip Bayless of FS1 suggested the coaching staff could use him in red-zone or short-yardage situations. Instead of using him as a traditional tight end, they could deploy him in an H-back kind of role, their designated scoring machine.
You probably don’t agree with most of the things Bayless says but he’s right. Instead of having Tebow fully learn the tight end position, Jacksonville could play to his strengths and put him in situations that enhance his strengths.
Tim Tebow’s road to the roster won’t be easy. After starting strong, he’s hit a few speed bumps in training camp. Nevertheless, that won’t deter him from competing until the last minute. He knows this might be his last chance to play in the NFL and he’s making the most of it.