The man, the myth, the legend. The heisman star turned NFL bust at QB returns to the league in dramatic fashion, joining Urban Meyer’s first year roster as a tight end, officially making the position switch. It seems obvious that he’ll also be unofficially on the quarterback depth chart, but officially he’s a tight end. He joins James O’Shaughnessy, Chris Manhertz, Ben Ellefson, Luke Farrell and Tyler Davis on the current roster. Less than stellar. If anything, that lackluster group should guarantee Tebow at least the opportunity at playing time. The question then becomes how he’ll take advantage of it. The problem with Tebow is less about ability and more about age at this point. Way back in time, when he was still at Florida, Tebow was actually a decently talented H-back as well as being the Gators signal-caller. Now, he’s a 33 year old man that hasn’t played competitive football in 6 years. It is impossible to say what his speed, agility, endurance, and overall athletic abilities are like.
Another question Tebow has to answer is just how well he’ll mesh with a jaguars team in quite the state of disarray. They have a new head coach who has no experience in the NFL, a rookie quarterback, a nearly empty roster, and lots of management questions. There’s also the question of what Urban Meyer’s offense will look like at the NFL level. One could assume that many of his staple plays will remain, but it is unclear how exactly he intends to use his personnel. As evidenced by his drafting of Travis Etienne in the 1st round and later statement that he was there as a 3rd down back, Meyer clearly has no reservations about ignoring traditional player usage philosophies. This leaves Tebow in a bit of an awkward position. He may get passes, he may not. He may get consistent quarterback play, or Lawrence may struggle with rookie-itis. All of these things are things outside of Tebow’s control that have a very real impact on his performance this year. However, all of this is speaking statistically.
Between his likely drop in athletic ability, his lack of surrounding talent/consistency, and the Jaguars offense not being likely to succeed this year, Tebow does not seem primed for a Travis Kelce type season. However, that’s only the first, most superficial layer of what success as a player looks like. In my opinion, Tebow could still work out for the Jaguars even if he doesn’t start a single game. As referenced earlier, a large part of the Jaguars problem is lack of experience. Tebow has that in spades. He’s already played the majority of an NFL journeyman career. He struggled against NFL defenses in much the same way that Trevor assuredly will at some point. If he can act as a sort of extra coach and help them develop Trevor Lawrence into the QB everybody knows he can be, that’s far more valuable than any limited production he might have at tight end.
The Worst Case Scenario:
Should Jaguars fans have less ideal luck, Tebow will turn out to be entirely the meme people have made him out to be. He’ll provide no upside on the field, and no help to a developing Lawrence. He will have simply been a courtesy signing from his old buddy Urban. This honestly wouldn’t be a terrible outcome for the Jags, but it is less than ideal. Tebow is on a cheap, easy deal that wouldn’t impact the franchise’s future all that much. At that point, he’d just be another player in and out of the offseason carousel.