The former Washington Redskin standout made his feelings known Monday while receiving the Davey O'Brien Legends Award at the Fort Worth Club, saying Tebow "is going to struggle" as an NFL player unless he sharpens some more conventional skills during his senior season.
Theismann's advice to Tebow? "Go to a camp where you learn how to work under the center. You’re going to be a professional football player. Learn to be one."
Theismann was critical of spread offenses, including the one that Urban Meyer runs at Florida. Spread offenses require a quarterback to operate out of the shotgun formation.
"To have any kind of success at the professional level, I think it’s important for the young, college kids to work under center," Theismann said. "To hand off [from] under center. To run play-action."
Theismann predicted that Sam Bradford would be more attractive to NFL teams than Tebow if both players are available in the 2010 draft. The reason? Oklahoma's offense requires a quarterback to often work under center.
"Tim Tebow can be a professional quarterback. But he’s going to have to fundamentally be more accurate, which is something Sam is," Theismann said. "He’s going to have to work from under center, which Sam does ... Sam’s got all the credentials."
Theismann said there is a reason quarterbacks Joe Flacco (Delaware) and Matt Ryan (Boston College) were successfully as rookies. Each directed a pro-style offense in college. He compared Flacco and Ryan to former No. 1 pick Alex Smith, who ran Meyer's spread at Utah.
"[Smith] had never really worked under center," Theismann said. "It became a whole new world for him to learn and you can’t learn that at the professional level. Things are too fast. The foundation wasn’t there and I believe that’s the reason why he’s struggled, so far, as a pro."
Graham Harrell of Texas Tech might not hear his name called on the first day of the draft because he played in the spread.
"He’ll probably wind up with Chase Daniel," Theismann said, referring to the Missouri quarterback who ran the spread. "They’ll wind up down a little bit [in the draft] because they don’t have the background."