Tebow aiming to convert nonbelievers

February 26, 2010 

INDIANAPOLIS — Tim Tebow was the first big-name quarterback to take the NFL's stage Friday.

He's hoping the draft goes down the same way.

The man with one Heisman Trophy amd two national titles — and maybe the most intriguing pro prospect since Michael Vick — came to the league's annual scouting combine with a new look he hopes will improve his draft stock.

"It's not necessarily changing the whole (throwing) motion, it's where I'm holding the ball," Tebow said. "I'm holding it higher and not having that loop in there. My release point isn't different at all."

The combine seems like old hat for Tebow, too.

He walked to the podium with that charismatic smile and trademark personality, then was introduced as "Some guy named Tebow is at podium C." A few moments later, a reporter asked Tebow to autograph a notebook.

But this week is not about impressing the media or his loyal fans.

Nope, Tebow needs to wow the scouts who think it could take up to two years for him to make the transition from combination college quarterback to prototypical pocket passer. Others argue his success in college, his passion for the game and his work ethic will make the transition easier than it now appears.

"I talked to a lot of different quarterbacks coaches and a lot of people who said, 'Wait till after the draft (to change the motion),' " Tebow said. "But I'm not afraid of what anybody thinks. If I need to change it, then I'm going to do it now."

NFL executives will then have two months to make a decision about where Tebow fits into this year's draft.

In the meantime, those people will scramble to answer questions about the other high-profile quarterbacks presumably ahead of Tebow on the draft boards.

Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen still is recovering from toe surgery. Oklahoma's Sam Bradford, the 2008 Heisman winner, missed all but three games last season with a shoulder injury. Texas' Colt McCoy couldn't finish the national championship game because of an injury to his throwing arm.

All three missed their scheduled media interviews Friday, which in past years has been an indication that players are undergoing additional medical checks. NFL officials could not confirm that happened Friday, saying only that the quarterbacks had "other obligations."

None of the big four, including Tebow, are expected to throw until their pro days next month. Tebow is the only one who has indicated he'll do any drills.

"You'd love to see them work out here, but for a quarterback this is not the greatest environment," said St. Louis general manager Billy Devaney, whose Rams have the No. 1 pick in April. "They're out there throwing to receivers they've never thrown to before, they're throwing routes they maybe haven't thrown in college. It's hard to get into a groove when you throw three balls and go to the end of the line and then throw three more."

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