Ryan Tannehill: Hop on the Hype Train
By: Ian Kenyon
April 14, 2012
The 2012 NFL Draft is littered with polarizing prospects who are debated on a daily basis, but none have gotten more recognition than Texas A&M; quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Six months ago, Tannehill was widely considered a mid-to-late first round prospect, but recent media hype has placed him within the top ten picks and perhaps even the top five in the 2012 NFL Draft.
The shift in thought around Tannehill is fascinating, but should have been expected. Once the Washington Redskins traded into the number two slot in the NFL Draft it became a foregone conclusion that Robert Griffin would be taken with the second selection. This left teams and media alike searching for a third quarterback for the stagnant offenses left at the top of the first round. The top prospect on most draft boards was Ryan Tannehill; and thus began the extensive film study.
When breaking down Tannehill, two things become abundantly clear. First, he has every tool that teams look for in a franchise quarterback. Tannehill has a strong arm, mobility within the pocket and comes from a pro style offense. But what also becomes clear is that Tannehill is still a work in progress. His ability to read and diagnose defenses is below average for a quarterback being considered a potential top ten pick, and he's been a bit of a risk taker -- a dangerous combination for a quarterback coming into the NFL. Tannehill's ascent to the top ten of many draft boards is a statement of his potential. When a team drafts Tannehill it will be for what he may become, not for what he currently is.
Whether or not Tannehill is worthy of being a top ten selection has become a hot debate amongst draft pundits. If a team believes that a specific quarterback can change their franchise and be an impact player, then that player certainly is worthy of a top ten pick. There are three teams slotted between picks #4 and #10 who may be targeting a quarterback: the Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills. Tannehill's fate lies in whether or not those teams believe he can be a franchise quarterback. But as the old adage goes: It only takes one team to become enamored with you.
Ryan Tannehill Scouting Report:
Positives -- Ideal height for an NFL quarterback... Throws well on the run, does a good job of resetting his feet to make a strong, accurate throw... Quick release, mechanics look fine... Good scrambling ability, has great top end speed for a quarterback... A converted wide receiver, so he has some elusiveness and natural running ability... Is comfortable and has extensive experience working under center... Played under former NFL head coach Mike Sherman... Has a strong arm, gets great zip on his deep out... Very high upside, has all the athletic ability and tools that teams covet... Will rise in post-season workouts due to his athleticism, arm strength, and overall physical tools... Intelligent and a good leader, a high intangibles guy who will impress in interviews... Gets great rotation on his throws, throws a very nice, tight spiral.
Negatives -- Has some accuracy issues, makes his receivers adjust to the ball too frequently... A bit on the skinny side, could benefit bulking up 10-15 pounds... Has serious fumbling problems, fumbled 10 times in his career at Texas A&M;, had the smallest hands of any quarterback at the combine at nine inches... Doesn't have a ton of experience, has only a year and a half of quarterback experience... Will try to force throws that he shouldn't, trusts his arm too much... Struggled towards the end of 2011, threw nine interceptions in his final six games, and Texas A&M; ended the year losing four of their last five... Some of his interceptions came at crucial moments in games... Will need time to develop, is not ready to step in and start at the NFL level, will take a year or two of coaching to be ready... More of a good prospect with great potential at this point than finished product... Inconsistent production, had some huge games and some very bad ones.
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