At first, I was stared at like a dog who had just been shown a card trick. I kept referencing the 2011 NFL Draft that had seen guys like Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder go in the top fifteen. Yet whenever I said that Ryan Tannehill would be a top ten pick in this year’s draft back in January, everyone shook their head at me.
But now? Well, now just about every single skeptic has mocked him to the Miami Dolphins at number eight overall in the 2012 Draft. Is it because he is a top ten talent? Not even close. But in a quarterback light draft, combined with a team that has been hunting for a quarterback since Dan Marino retired. And it hasn’t been for the lack of trying, either.
Let’s go over the Dolphins draft history of quarterbacks since Marino.
Josh Heupel, Oklahoma, in 2001, John Beck, BYU in 2007, Chad Henne, Michigan, in 2008 and Pat White, West Virginia, in 2009. Tannehill is projected to be better than pretty much all of these guys, and after striking out on Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn this offseason, it’s going to happen.
With another disastrous offseason that saw the team court the aforementioned Manning, Flynn and even Alex Smith, they ended up with David Garrard at the helm for 2012. The same David Garrard that didn’t even play a snap in 2011, by the way. After receiving the blessing and endorsement of Dolphins legend Dan Marino the other day, it certainly seems like the stars have aligned for Tannehill to be the next quarterback project for Miami. He WILL be the pic at number eight tonight.
As far as Tannehill’s potential, it’s pretty high. He has all the tools to become a pretty good NFL quarterback, but he’s as raw as they come. He had some huge games for the Aggies in 2011, but he also had some catastrophic collapses in the second half of numerous games. He tries to force too many throws and ends up getting intercepted quite a bit. But if the plan is to bring him in, let him sit and learn for a couple of years, then his potential is actually pretty high. A lot higher than Henne or Beck ever had.
If Miami ever wants to get out of this curse they’ve apparently bottled at the quarterback position, they have to avoid the temptation of throwing Tannehill into the starting role this season. Look at what Jacksonville did to Blaine Gabbert. Is that the kind of shell-shocked quarterback you want to be paying millions to over the next few years? Is that what you want to happen to your future franchise guy? No, Philbin and the Dolphins need to bring Tannehill along slowly and he needs to be a sponge and soak up all the information he can get.
In the end, do I believe this is the right pick for Miami? Absolutely not. I don’t think you take a quarterback that early in the draft unless you’re sure he is the guy you want to hitch your wagon to for the next decade plus. And nothing that Tannehill has done up to this point shows me that. But Jeff Ireland’s failures in free agency this year have led the team to this and locked them in on this pick. For his sake, he better hope this works out.