Tim Tebow gets a lot of grief by both fans and the media. The guy has been something of a sensation ever since being drafted in 2010. Although he might get talked about more than some of the league’s best quarterbacks, it’s not his talent level but his name itself that generates all this attention. That’s the main issue people have with him. The guy is a circus. Wherever he goes and whatever he does becomes a field day for the press. He’s as much of a locker room distraction as a diva, yet ironically he is one of the kindest and most modest players you’ll find in the NFL today.
Indeed it’s the media who’ve somewhat ruined a good deal of peoples patience with Tim Tebow. Just like they did with “Favre Watch,” they shoved this guy down our throats so often that we just don’t want to hear about him anymore. And we didn’t seeing as he was out of the league for a while. But now he’s back and competing for a roster spot with the Philadelphia Eagles. In fact, he actually seems to have improved since having last played in the league.
One of the most popular things to say about Tebow was that his fundamentals were bad and that he wasn’t a pro caliber quarterback. Though with his unique combination of speed and size, he might be better suited for another position in the NFL. However, watching him this preseason you could make the case that he’s improved greatly since we’ve last saw him and that he might still have a future in the league. Actually you could make the case for a number of players who are in fact worse than Tebow right now in the NFL. It might be fun to pick on the guy who doesn’t seem to throw well and miss reads until you realize that there are a number of other pro quarterbacks in the NFL who can’t do the same.
So with that here are 15 players that are worse than Tim Tebow.
15. Blaine Gabbert
Tim Tebow’s fundamentals might be flawed, but he does show a certain play-making ability that has benefited him in his short time as a starter. The same cannot be said about Blaine Gabbet. The former Jacksonville Jaguars QB was expected to help the franchise rise out of mediocrity, but Gabbert is now taking reps with the second string squad in a 49ers uniform. What went wrong? Well, he had a hard time learning a pro-style offense early on, which is often a problem with passers coming out of certain systems in college and because of his inability to adapt, Gabbert was soon out of a starting job.
14. Whitney Mercilus
Though he’s only been in the league for a few years, Whitney Mercilus has failed to make much of an impact at the professional level. The Texans linebacker has been somewhat of a disappointment since being selected in the first round a year ago. Mercilus is by no means a bad player. While his numbers aren’t jaw dropping, he does pile up sacks consistently but doesn’t get to the QB nearly as much as a top pick should. With a guy like J.J. Watt on the team, Houston isn’t exactly worrying about their ability to get to the quarterback. But Mercilus’ production isn’t that of a first round pick and one has to wonder if he’ll get himself another starting job if the Texans don’t choose to resign him once his contract’s up.
13. Bjöern Werner
Only in his third year as a pro, Bjorn Werner has already lost his starting position on the Colts depth chart. Another former first round selection, Werner has been incredibly ineffective as a pass rusher over the last two seasons. It’s no surprise that he lost his starting gig to veteran Trent Cole. Cole has been one of the most consistent pass rushers in the league since starting his career with the Eagles. As it stands, Werner is going to have to show his coaches that he can contribute as a rotational player and on special teams before he can even think about cracking the starting line up again.
12. Ziggy Hood
Here’s another pass rusher on this list that just couldn’t live up to the hype of being a first round selection. Ziggy Hood lasted five years in Pittsburgh and was slated to be yet another defensive great in the franchise’s long history, but things didn’t work out that way. Hood initially had trouble adjusting to Pittsburgh’s 3-4 defensive scheme. He couldn’t really crack the lineup early on and when he did get on the field, failed to make much of a difference. Now with Jacksonville, Hood is a solid back up but didn’t really get off to a good start in his first year with the Jags. An injury to Sen’Derrick Marks might thrust Hood into the starting line up early on this season, but Jags fans shouldn’t hold their breath.
11. Luke Joeckel
Offensive linemen often don’t get too much love in the NFL. Indeed the league is a pass happy one that needs these goliaths in the trenches. While it is an underappreciated position, those who study the game and follow it closely are fully aware of the absolute need for good offensive line play. When the Jaguars took Luke Joeckel 2nd overall in 2013, they expected him to develop into a top tier left tackle. But the Texas A&M product hasn’t lived up to expectations and played like a bust in his first two seasons. However, it’s still early in this guy’s career. He can definitely turn things around but he needs to do it fast. If he doesn’t fix his fundamentals this season, he could be sitting on the bench before December comes.
10. Brandon Weeden
A quarterback is expected to be the face of the franchise. Someone who can lead the team for years. That’s why taking a guy like Brandon Weeden in the first round was such a head scratching move. The Browns were unsurprisingly desperate to get some help at the position after years of mediocrity, but Weeden was never a long term solution. Nearing his thirties when he entered the draft, Weeden was a project, like most young athletes selected in the draft are. Albeit a highly irregular prospect due to his age. The transition to the NFL was not smooth for him and the Browns quickly realized that Weeden wouldn’t be the answer in either the short term or the long term.
9. Mike Wallace
With the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mike Wallace was regarded as a speedy playmaker on the outside, But it was his short tenure with the Miami Dolphins that exposed him as a one trick pony. As a Dolphin, Wallace could scarcely create separation between him and the defensive back. The lack of production not only angered Phins fans but Wallace himself as well. He reportedly angrily demanded both QB Ryan Tannehill and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor throw more passes his way. Of course they did and it didn’t prove to help his numbers in the least. Miami finally wised up and shipped Wallace to Minnesota for a fifth round pick where he’s likely to fail to live up to expectations once again.
8. D.J. Swearinger
Earlier this offseason, Houston released safety D.J. Swearinger after trying to trade him for weeks. The young defensive back has obvious flaws in his coverage skills. Despite starting 12 games last season, Swearinger lost his starting gig to Danieal Manning the last month of the season. For Swearinger, who then joined the Buccaneers, this move offers him a new opportunity to get his NFL career back on track. While he has struggled so far, Swearinger is still a young talent with opportunity to improve under Lovie Smith’s tutelage.
7. Larry English
It wouldn’t be too harsh to call Larry English a bust. Actually it would be pretty appropriate seeing as his career high in sacks came in 2010 with three. English is another disappointing pass rusher who failed to match up against the talent level found at the NFL level early on. His career with the San Diego Chargers consisted of nine starts in five years, as English could never really get on the field. When he did it was nothing to rave about. As a result he ended up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers once his rookie contract was up. Now a backup, English will continue his NFL career surviving solely as a special teams contributor and occasional rotational piece.
6. Josh Freeman
Another quarterback bust on this list, Josh Freeman’s career is very close to being over as he latches on to a backup role with the Miami Dolphins. A first round pick by the Buccaneers in 2009, Freeman came into prominence with a stellar sophomore season that earned him some recognition. An intriguing mix of size, speed and arm power, Freeman had all the tools to succeed in the league but not the consistency. He followed up his 2010 campaign with an awful; 2011 season. Since leaving the Bucs, he’s been with the New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings and as previously mentioned the Miami Dolphins. It’s hard to see him sticking around the league any longer if he can’t make Miami’s 53-man roster.
5. Matt Elam
Matt Elam will miss the 2015 season with a torn biceps injury that he suffered earlier this month. That’s a terrible blow to both the Ravens secondary and Elam himself who needed to have himself a big year this season. Elam has been somewhat underwhelming since being drafted by the Ravens in the first round in 2013. He entered camp competing with Will Hill for the starting strong safety spot. You never want a former first round to be competing for his job three years into his career. At this point, they should have already solidified themselves as legitimate starters. The injury really hurts Elam’s chances of starting another game in a Ravens uniform and might really damage his status in the NFL.
4. Chris Johnson
We’re long since removed from the days of CJ2K, when Chris Johnson was regarded as one of the best runners in the league. Case and point, Johnson struggled in a backup role with the Jets last season and only recently signed with another team. It’s hard to see the former speed back enter this season as anything more than a number three option in the Cardinals backfield. Luckily for him, Johnson can probably succeed as a complementary piece this year given the reduced workload that comes with being a third string option in the NFL.
3. Dee Milliner
Dee Milliner has been an utter disappointment for the New York Jets. In his two years as a pro, Milliner has failed to crack the Jets starting lineup even with the absence of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, both of whom are back in New York. As a former top ten pick, Milliner has some lofty expectations on his shoulders. Expectations that seem to be evaporating as the bust label looms prominently over his head. He won’t be playing in any preseason games due to injury and is most likely going to miss some regular season time. All in all, 2015 doesn’t look like it’s going to be his year.
2. Cyril Richardson
Last season, the Bills had a problem at guard – among other offensive positions – that they’ve tried to improve over the offseason. Rookie guard Cyril Richardson was one of the problems that needed to be addressed. While obstacles are to be expected when thrusting rookies into a starting role, Richardson was just awful ranking in the bottom of the league in pass protection. While he was average as a pass blocker, Richardson couldn’t keep his starting gig very long and was benched after just four starts. If there’s any hope it’s that he’s still young and has the potential to become a dominant run blocker in the league. He just needs to work on those pass blocking skills.
1. Trent Richardson
After initially having a promising rookie year with the Cleveland Browns, Trent Richardson’s career has spiraled out of control and is very close to being over after just a few years in the league. He was traded to the Colts after just one year in Cleveland where he failed to make any sort of difference whatsoever and is probably one of the worst decisions the franchise has had to account for in the last twenty years. Now with the Raiders, Richardson doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Why? He still can’t find the hole. A running back needs to have superb vision to consistently pick up decent chunks of yards. However, Richardson lacks the vision and awareness needed to do this on a regular basis and is essentially running unawares most of the time he’s on the field.
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