If Tim Tebow wants his NFL return to be successful, the 33-year-old is running out of time and could be facing long odds based on the Jacksonville Jaguars depth chart.
Before the team’s 2021 preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns, previewed here, Jacksonville released its first depth chart. Many focused on Trevor Lawrence and Gardner Minshew both being listed as the No. 1 quarterback, but Tebow was also buried on the preliminary roster order obtained by beat writer John Shipley.
For the Jaguars’ preseason opener, Tebow is listed as the fourth-string tight end. He is behind starter Chris Manhertz, No. 2 tight end James O’Shaugnessy and backup Luke Farrell. After the trio, Tebow is in a three-person group with Tyler Davis and Ben Ellefson.
Urban Meyer is certainly willing to make changes based on who earns the opportunities to climb the depth chart. But Tebow fighting for reps as the fourth-string tight end with an undrafted tight end and a 2020 sixth-round pick isn’t promising.
Will Tim Tebow make the Jaguars’ roster?
Tebow generated buzz early this summer in Jacksonville. He made a strong impression at minicamp, demonstrating some of the strength and athleticism to handle a new position. In the early days of training camp, he even caught a touchdown from Lawrence.
But the results since the pads came on have been mixed, to say the least. With Meyer watching his former Florida star in a blocking drill, the coach witnessed Tebow get tossed to the ground without too much effort.
It’s important to remember how long it’s been since Tebow as in this environment. He last appeared in a preseason game in 2015 with the Philadelphia Eagles and he didn’t earn a spot on the 53-man roster as a quarterback. In fact, he hasn’t played a regular-season snap since the 2012 season with the New York Jets.
After years away from the NFL, it’s no surprise Tebow is struggling against younger and far more athletic players who have been doing this for years. But, to his credit, Tebow is improving in some areas.
At this point, Tebow’s chances of making the Week 1 roster are less than 50-50. But his relationship with Meyer, his close friend and neighbor, helps. If he shows remarkable improvement in the next three weeks, his ability to contribute in a variety of roles and his leadership might earn a spot.