The Jacksonville Jaguars' signing of Tim Tebow as a tight end has brought on many significant reactions on all sides of the move. One of the loudest voices against the signing at ESPN is a bit of a surprise: NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.
Plenty welcome Tebow's attempt at an NFL comeback at a new position. The Jaguars need tight ends, and if Tebow can make the switch and be one of the best guys at the position for the team, so be it.
At the same time, it is hard to deny that the signing smacks of nepotism. If Urban Meyer was not an NFL coach for the first time, would Tebow be given this opportunity? Almost definitely not. It may work out, but there are plenty of other aspirant tight ends out there that would love a chance to try out for the Jaguars.
Kiper's main issue is that Tebow had this option coming out of Florida. Few believed that he would succeed as a quarterback in the NFL, even after all of his success under Meyer at Florida, and ultimately they were proven right. The playoff run he had with the Denver Broncos, capped by a dramatic win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, was a great moment, but he never stuck after that. Tebow hasn't played in an NFL game since 2012, and hasn't been with a team since 2015. Coming out of the NFL Draft, Kiper says that he told Tebow should look to move to an H-Back/hybrid tight end role, and the Heisman winner had no interest then.
"I was serious back in the day when Tim came out of Florida, that he should be an H-Back, a move tight end," Kiper said on Get Up this morning. "I watched him catch passes, the ball skills were there. But he had to pay attention to detail, he had to put his heart and soul into being that, and he didn't want any part of it.
"I brought it up to Tim... 'I want to touch the ball every play, Mel. I'm not an accent piece, I'm not what you say I'm gonna be. I'm a quarterback.' So at age 22, 23, 24, he wanted no part of it. Now at age 34, which he will be when he comes into the NFL this year, a desperation move. You can't treat the NFL as a hobby. It's a full time job."
Kiper thinks a lot of the responsibility here falls on Jacksonville Jaguars GM Trent Baalke. A stronger GM, he says, would have told Meyer that he could not sign his protege. Instead, Meyer is getting his way here.
"A strong GM would've said to Urban Meyer, 'No.' But it's a yes because he loves Tim Tebow. I would love him too. He won a national title and a Heisman. But this is the NFL, and as they say, it's not a hobby, it's a full-time job. His full-time job should be the great work he was doing on SEC Network as a broadcaster."
Those are pretty strong words from Mel Kiper Jr. about his now-former ESPN colleague, but they're ones that many others believe about this situation. [
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) May 20, 2021