Tim Tebow was not invited to the exclusive "Tight End University" last month, but one of the attendees has nonetheless offered his services to the Jaguars' new tight end.
Darren Waller, fresh off of his first Pro Bowl season as a member of the Las Vegas Raiders, said he would gladly offer some advice to Tebow, a former quarterback who's trying to make a 53-man roster for the first time in nine years. Like Tebow, Waller changed positions before becoming one of the league's premier tight ends. Waller began his career as a wide receiver.
"It's definitely not going to be easy," Waller said of Tebow's transition, via TMZ Sports. "Changing positions at any level, not to mention the professional level, is going to be difficult. Football's in his blood, so I feel like he'll find a way. He's physical. He's athletic. I wish him nothing but the best going forward. It's a tough transition. I was getting my butt kicked when I first moved to tight end. You just stick with it and grind through the process and things get better."
Waller didn't hesitate when asked if he would be open to helping Tebow, who never played tight end prior to signing with Jacksonville.
"If he thinks he can learn from me, then I would love to help him and help make his transition smoother," Waller said. "I tried to find any information I could from watching guys play or asking people when I moved [positions], so I'd love to continue to pass on [information] and help him become a better player."
Waller acknowledged that moving from receiver to tight end is easier than going from quarterback to tight end. That being said, Waller said that there is one unique aspect of playing tight end that would be an adjustment for anyone regardless of what position they previously played.
"You're used to catching passes and getting open, but the blocking transition, we're probably facing the same mountain as when I started to where he's started," Waller said. "It's a whole different game, but he should buy into the technique and have a want to do it."
Waller's advice can do nothing but help Tebow as he looks to crack the Jaguars' 53-man roster. CBS Sports NFL senior writer Pete Prisco did not paint the rosiest picture of Tebow's chances during the team's minicamp.
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"He's the smallest tight end on the field, by far," Prisco said of Tebow on CBS Sports HQ. "He looks like one of the kids who didn't grow in his seventh grade year and everybody else grew. That's what he looks like on the field.
"He did catch a pass, [but] he's got a lot of work to do. He's a project. He's a kid that's trying to transition to a new position. That's hard to do. It's even tougher when you're 33 years old. I don't expect him to make the team. I'd be shocked if he made the team. And some people will say, 'Well, use him as a gimmick. Maybe use him as a backup quarterback.' Well, he's not a good passer, and if you're taking Trevor Lawrence off the field, that's a mistake. So I think he has to make the team as a tight end. I don't think he will make the team."
The 6-foot-2 Tebow's competition at tight end includes rookie Luke Farrell, Chris Manhertz, James O'Shaughnessy, Tyler Davis and Ben Ellefson. And while his size, age and lack of experience at the position are obstacles that he will have to overcome, Tebow will get the same opportunity as everyone else as it relates to making the roster.
"So to me, he's one of 90 [players]," Jaguars coach Urban Meyer recently told USA Today. "He's a guy that's, you know, what's the difference between him and the other 40 guys trying to make the team?
"To me, it's all the same. This is their livelihood, this is a job, this is a way to make a living. And the reality is that a good percentage of your roster's gonna get cut or transition out of here which, to me, that's completely new. In college, you've got your 85, 95 guys and you fit them in and you put the puzzle together. It's much different here."