GAINESVILLE - ESPN NFL draft expert Todd McShay, who has never been high on the pro prospects of former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, said during a teleconference with media on Thursday that Tebow's decision to play in the Senior Bowl hasn't worked out.
"I honestly, I hate to say it because he's battled and he's done everything that has been asked of him, and I know he hasn't felt great, he went to the hospital Monday night, is the report, with strep throat," McShay said. "And he hasn't shown a sign of it. He's practiced, he's gone through every drill, he's shown improvement in terms of getting snaps under center and he's working at it.
"But he's just not there. I thought coming in that maybe all the intangibles and all the little things he did, showing signs of improvement could help his stock. But I would say unfortunately that it hurt his stock. Just looking at him and comparing him to other mid-level quarterbacks, I mean it's not (Sam) Bradford (of Oklahoma) and (Jimmy) Clausen (of Notre Dame) here, it's (Cincinnati's) Tony Pike who's the best of the group and he's a third-round pick.
"And I think you could make an argument that Tebow as a passer, just in terms of evaluating his potential as a pocket passer in the NFL, that he was no better than the fourth-best here."
McShay added that Tebow has "such a long way to go."
"I think he has to accept one of two things," added McShay. "Either, A, he needed to strip down and completely start over as a quarterback and a passer, and that's going to take a lot of hard work and may not work. Or B, he's going to have to play another position in the NFL."
While much has been made of Tebow playing his entire career in the shotgun rather than behind center, McShay called that "the least of my concerns."
"First of all, he's got to learn how to read coverages. It's not just a pre-snap read and a high-low read and either you go here or you go there and vice versa," McShay said. "It's reading from left to right, up and down, and the defenders are so much faster and able to get from one spot to the next without overstriding as he does, and having your feet all over the place so you can't make an accurate throw when you do find an open receiver. Those are the main things.
"And that's not even including the elongated delivery. I've never seen a quarterback at an all-star game like this with such an obvious delivery issue, if you will. And I can remember Andre Woodson (of Kentucky) a couple of years ago - that cost him a couple of rounds. Tebow's is much worse. It's far worse. And just overall, his accuracy and timing."
McShay said Tebow played "a different position" in college than what an NFL quarterback does.
"He has so much work to do. I'm not saying that it's impossible for him to do that," McShay said. "It's just that there are so few examples of guys that have been able to make that transition. And not that he would ever do it, but there's no developmental league, there's nowhere for him to go. And basically he's going to have to learn while maybe taking five to seven snaps a game as a Wildcat quarterback while serving as the No. 3 quarterback.
"So it's going to be a huge, huge transition for him. And it's hard for me to imagine one day we're going to be talking about Tim Tebow as a good, starting quarterback full-time for an NFL team."
McShay said it is unfair to blame Florida for Tebow not being NFL ready.
"You know what? It's not Urban Meyer's job, it really isn't," McShay said. "And I keep going back to that. Urban Meyer's job is to win games, and the job of that staff is to win games at Florida. And they won a lot of games during his four years there. They got him to win a Heisman Trophy and they put him a position to make a run at a career in the NFL. And they also, with everything that's come around with all the fame he has, I think he's in a position to do a lot of things off the field that maybe he wouldn't be able to do if he didn't play at Florida.
"Certainly, they tried at times. They brought in (quarterbacks coach) Scot Loeffler, but I just don't know that anything ever stuck. Instead of tinkering with the guys' motion and worrying about his footwork and all those different things, if he's having success it's hard to change all of that.
"And unless Urban Meyer sat in his living room one day and said in four years I'm going to do this, this, this and this, and one of those things was develop you as best I can with the NFL, I don't have a problem with it (what Meyer did or didn't do). I'm assuming he didn't because at no point in time has Tim Tebow's and Urban Meyer's relationship waned, it seems."
HIGH ON COOPER: McShay said he was "very impressed" with former UF receiver Riley Cooper, also at the Senior Bowl, and called him one of the 6-7 players who helped themselves the most in Mobile.
"I think the fact he held up as well as he did, caught the ball with the consistency he did, I think speaks for the type of player (he is)," McShay said.
He said Cooper would be taken in the first three rounds. McShay said Cooper was probably a sixth- or seventh-round pick before the 2009 season started.
"If he works out well he's got a chance to fit in the top three rounds," McShay said.