Caldwell says Tebow won’t be an elite NFL passer

By Adam Silverstein
March 31, 2010

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Andre “Bubba” Cadlwell, who caught 56 passes for 761 yards and seven touchdowns from former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow in 2007, told his team’s official Web site that the Heisman Trophy winner and two-time National Champion does not have what it takes to be an elite passer on the next level.

“He needs time. He needs to sit behind one of those good quarterbacks for about three years because I know he’s going to put in the work and the effort to be a great quarterback. He’s going to learn. I don’t think he’s going to be an elite passer ever. But he’s a playmaker. He’ll get the ball there. He probably can’t make the prettiest looking passes. But he’s going to use what he has to his advantage. Running. Scrambling. Making passes. He’s got a strong arm and I think he can make the throws, but they may not be the prettiest.”

For what it’s worth, Caldwell is simply speaking his mind. He was asked a question and gave an honest reply. Seeing as he’s been catching passes from two-time Pro Bowler Carson Palmer for 21 NFL games and two full seasons of practice, Caldwell is certainly in the position to speak on the topic.

Asked to give an assessment of where he would draft Tebow if he was an NFL general manager, Caldwell was specific. “Late second round,” he said.

10:15 p.m. UPDATE: Caldwell wished to clarify his comments via Twitter this evening, and OGGOA is more than obliged to provide him with an additional forum:

“People are taking my comments about Tebow not being an elite passing QB wrong. Tebow is a college football great. What I meant is that he probably won’t throw as good as [Peyton] Manning or Carson [Palmer] – guys like that. But he can do so many other things that they don’t which make him a great QB but just in a different way. He’s a playmaker in so many ways not just only throwing the ball.”

OGGOA believes Caldwell was perfectly clear in the first place.


  1. gator347 says:


    Let’s just see him make it as a good QB. How many “Elite” QB’s are there? The talking heads were saying Drew Brees was not even “Elite” until he won the Big One.

    I love Bubba Codwell but is he an “Elite” WR?

    I just want to see Timmy make it in the NFL. I’d love to see him as a QB but I’d watch him if he were a Nose Guard.

    But I don’t think he makes his HUGE IMPACT until he is calling plays on the sidelines as COACH.

  2. Exactly. It takes a lot to be an “elite QB” and some would argue Palmer isn’t even one. And Bubba certainly isn’t an “elite WR” right now – but he doesn’t claim to be and does play with one in Ochocinco.

  3. SRQDawgs15 says:

    Uh oh! Add Bubba to that list of people banned from UF. Population now: Shane Matthews, Bubba Caldwell, and Jeremy Fowler.

  4. Joe says:

    Funny, how that word ‘elite’ is tossed around.

    Does elite mean great stats or SB victories?

    Was Marino elite even though he didn’t win a SB? Was Bradshaw not because he had arguably one of the best teams in NFL history supporting him “making it easy” to succeed?

    How quickly does Tebow go from run of the mill QB to elite QB if he manages to be on a consistent SB winning all the while winding up and throwing loose spirals?
    Is he considered elite throwing perfect spirals with a perfect passer rating and never winning a SB?

    Opinions are like … (fill in the blank)

    Facts are hard to deny. Caldwell is off but in his assumption… but I guess that’s just my opinion.

  5. npgator says:

    I think it would help any incoming QB to have the luxury of playing behind someone initially.

  6. SC Gator says:

    Do note that he never said Tebow couldn’t be an elite QB. He said Tebow wouldn’t be an elite passer. Frankly, until he proves otherwise, the evidence is that he isn’t an elite passer and has never been one. That doesn’t mean he isn’t effective with his throws. That doesn’t mean he has to be an elite passer to be a winner. All it means is that passing alone has not and will not make Tebow a winner at the next level.

  7. Joe says:

    Good point there SC.

  8. gator347 says:

    Uh oh! Add Bubba to that list of people banned from UF. Population now: Shane Matthews, Bubba Caldwell, and Jeremy Fowler. SRQDawgs15

    Dawg – What part of ONLY Gators do you not understand? Oh Yeah, your a Dawg -Education is not all that important.

    We love Bubba & Fowler is an ARSE. He misquoted Deonte for a headline.

    As for “Elit”, WTH does that mean? Who Cares if Tebow is “Elite”, “Super”, “Awesome”…

    Starter will be fine with me & if that take a few years than so be it.

    I see Tebow’s future on the Gator side lines calling plays but only time will tell.

  9. gator347- Everyone is welcome here. The title “ONLY GATORS” is based off of the sign hanging at the stadium. It is not a barrier to entry for anyone who happens not to like UF. All are welcomed here – just be respectful and keep it to sports.

  10. SRQDawgs15 says:

    gator347-sorry I didn’t know you controlled which websites I was allowed to visit. And Fowler didn’t misquote anyone as you say. He quoted Deonte fully and correctly, who was complimenting his teammate by the way, and somehow that led to Meyer’s mental breakdown. As far as the whole education thing, UGA is a damn good school, UF is too. I didn’t attend either, although I got into Florida, because I went to UCF with a bunch of friends. Where’s your degree from?

  11. TX Gator says:

    I don’t get it – why is it not possible to simultaneously to be both a Gator fan, player (current and former) or otherwise and carry the belief that Tebow simply is not a very good quarterback. What I consider as being my honest opinion, seemingly enrages other Gators, who view such ‘disloyalty’ as malicious rather than a difference of opinion nor should I have the right or given forum to express it.

    Look at Bubba for instance. To a man, when coaches and scouts passed him up in the draft Gators fans KNEW those guys and the organizations they represented were missing out on a heck of a player. But now — the poor guy answered honestly a question regarding the talents (or lack thereof) of his former quarterback and finds himself persona non grata per the thought police. We now see the trend of people’s words being deconstructed for a hint of dissent regarding Tebow’s abilities and having to always choose carefully their words (i.e. be nice) and ‘clarify’ their statements if thought to have been negative when being candid isn’t being politically correct. What a joke. If the particulars of the story were left out and only the logic regarding responding to the the criticisms were put forth an objective viewer could not blamed if he were to concede that holocaust denial was the issue at hand.

    Look at these guys dithering whether or not Caldwell is an ‘elite’ receiver because he erred to use the term in opposition to what Tebow could one day be rather than being effusive in praise. I wonder would there be any change in the commentary had he used the word ‘good’ or ‘serviceable’. What’s worse, my favorite QB of all-time is courting Tebow for the Bills…nevermind!

    Put the word out:

    If you have reservations about Timmy or just flat out, as I do, think his celebrity and legend, most unfortunately for him and the team that stakes their future on him, eclipsed his talent a loooong time ago, then your son had better be named Jesus.

  12. Great comment TX Gator. Not sure if I’ve seen you here before. Welcome.

  13. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    Tx makes some really good points…most of Gator nation is way too defensive for Timmy T but at the same time it’s really hard to understand the haters (I am not calling Bubba or Deonte haters by any means) out there…I guess it’s just jealousy but the kid is the exact opposite of what most of us don’t like in big time sports and we need more Tebows in this world that’s for sure!!

  14. Malikg says:

    The hyper-defensiveness about Tebow is certainly excessive, although I think that’s because his fans feel genuine loyalty and emotion towards him as if he were a family member.

    Personally, I think that Tebow is without question an intriguing prospect at quarterback in the NFL due to his work ethic, athleticism and amount of success in college. He showed some flaws that gives one pause, but if I had an NFL franchise I would definitely want to have him on my team and see what my coaches and trainers could do with a specimen like him.

    I wouldn’t select him in the first round unless I was picking near the end of it and were on a team that had a number of other picks and some measure of luxury in taking him (like, say, the New England Patriots). Other than that scenario, I’d want to pick him in the 2nd round and later, although it looks at least possible that his market value has risen or is rising above that…

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