The Texas A&M senior is an intriguing big armed QB with mobility but he recently sustained a broken foot while training and the uncertainty has his draft stock in limbo. However with Matt Barkley (USC) and Landry Jones (Oklahoma) deciding to return to school – this QB draft class got considerably weaker which might force a QB needy team to reach for Tannehill a bit early in the first round.
Tannehill could hear his name called among the top 10 picks as a consolation prize if Washington (picks at #6) or Miami (#8) miss out on Peyton Manning and are unwilling to meet the Rams asking price in the RG3 sweepstakes.
Tannehill has ideal size at 6-foot-4 and 222 pounds and above average athleticism (former wide receiver) which allows him to extend plays when the pocket collapses. His familiarity in the West Coast system (Mike Sherman was his college coach – recently hired to be the Miami Dolphins OC) is also an added bonus. He only played in 20 college games which might be a cause for concern but Tannehill appears to possess the physical skills that evaluators look for in an NFL signal caller.
Despite missing the Senior Bowl and the combine workouts with the broken foot – all indications are that Tannehill will be ready to roll for his Pro Day on March 29th. His performance on the Texas A&M campus could go a long way in determining whether he’s a first rounder.
Peter King (Sports Illustrated) believes that Tannehill could be selected in the first half of round 1 but he sees Miami (#8 pick) as the earliest possible destination.
ESPN’s Todd McShay stated that he thinks Tannehill might be the most underrated prospect in the 2012 draft based on his smooth delivery and accuracy.
NFL.com reports that multiple teams have higher grades on Tannehill than they had on Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder - each went among the top 12 picks in 2011.
Tony Pauline (SI) predicts Tannehill as a top 15 pick provided he proves to be healthy at his March 29th pro day.
SportsdeckBlog.com has Tannehill coming off the board when Seattle selects at pick #12. Tarvaris Jackson isn’t the long-term answer.
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Tannehill’s potential as a first rounder could depend on his ability to prove that his broken foot has healed. He has ideal size and mobility to excel at the next level but the inexperience and inconsistent performances in college could cause him to drop out of the top 10 picks.
After playing WR in 2008 and 2009 (led the team in receptions both seasons), Tannehill became the starting quarterback during the 2nd half of the 2010 season (7 starts). He closed his college career with 5,450 passing yards , 42 touchdown passes, and 21 INTs.
He could prove to be an asset in a Wildcat package in his rookie season if the team that drafts him decides that he needs more experience before taking the starting job. Tannehill’s ability to read defenses could take some time but his combo of ideal size, arm strength, mobility and intelligence will likely have him flying up draft boards as April 26th approaches.
The lack of depth at the QB position in the 2012 draft class likely catapults Tannehill into the first round despite the fact that we view him more as a 2nd round value. He’ll have a steep learning curve and would benefit from sitting a year based on his limited number of collegiate starts.
Here are a few teams that we can see calling Tannehill’s name on draft day.
WASHINGTON (Picks #6, #39): If they stay at #6 this would be a bit of a reach but Mike Shanahan is rumored to be intrigued by Tannehill’s athleticism and ability to pass on the run. He would likely be an upgrade from the Rex Grossman/ John Beck duo that led Washington to a mediocre passing season while tossing 19 TDs and 24 INTs.
MIAMI (Picks #8, #41): This might be the most likely destination for Tannehill considering that his former college coach (Mike Sherman) was recently hired to be the Dolphins offensive coordinator. The Miami aerial attack finished a lackluster 23rd in the league this past season as they averaged just 193 YPG. Miami’s hiring of Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin to be their next head coach could signal a change in offensive philosophy going forward. If they don’t land Packer free agent Matt Flynn – a QB upgrade will be likely via the draft. Matt Moore took over in week 4 from an ineffective Chad Henne and struggled out of the gates. However, the 27-year-old Oregon State alum heated up in the 2nd half of the season while tossing 15 TDs with only 5 INTs over the final nine games. Despite the strong finish, Moore lacks significant upside and the Dolphins are expected to explore an upgrade. Due $2.5 million in the final year of his contract in 2012, Moore hopes to sign a long-term extension (we don’t see it happening).
SEATTLE (Picks #12, #44): Seattle’s first year with former Vikings 2nd round pick Tarvaris Jackson (one of many Brad Childress mistakes) was mediocre to say the least (ranked 22nd in passing offense). TJAX averaged 206 YPG with just 14 TDs and 13 INTs over 15 games. He’s entering the final year of a 2-year contract and will need to show dramatic improvement in order to remain in the Pacific Northwest.
CLEVELAND (Picks #4, #39): Another team that will be in the RG3 derby but with so many offensive holes to fill – they might opt to go RB (Trent Richardson) or WR (Justin Blackmon) in round 1. Former 3rd round pick Colt McCoy battled concussions in his 2nd NFL season and has a less than impressive 20 TD: 20 INT ratio over his first 21 NFL games. Browns President Mike Holmgren has hinted that an upgrade under center is a priority (should be after Browns averaged just 14 PPG) in order to compete in an AFC North that boasted 3 playoff teams in 2011. If Tannehill’s injury causes a draft day slide – the Browns would have to give serious thought to using their early 2nd round pick on the potential franchise QB.
You can see our other Offensive Skill Position Player Profiles below: