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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Tannehill drawing all kinds of draft attention

    BY JIM THOMAS
    Saturday, April 14, 2012

    Ryan Tannehill probably is a better wide receiver than some prospects in this year's draft. After all, he did lead Texas A&M in receiving in both 2008 and '09, and was the Aggies' offensive MVP as a pass-catcher in '08.

    Of course, most draftniks and Big 12 fans know what happened next. Tannehill switched back to quarterback midway through the 2010 season and promptly set a school record with 449 yards passing against Texas Tech in his first college start at that position. He led the Aggies to five straight victories to close the regular season, and in the process is believed to be the only quarterback in college football history to beat Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas in the same season.

    The Aggies weren't nearly as good in a disappointing 7-6 campaign in 2011, although Tannehill did set single-season school records for attempts, completions and yards passing. His draft status seemingly took a jolt in January when he suffered a broken foot while training. That caused him to miss the Senior Bowl as well as the workout portion of the NFL scouting combine.

    None of which has affected Tannehill's draft status. Actually, the exact opposite has happened. Not only has Tannehill apparently solidified his status as the draft's third quarterback behind Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, he has skyrocketed up draft boards as a potential top-10 pick.

    Some mock drafts have him going as high as No. 4 overall to Cleveland. Others have him not getting past Miami at No. 8 overall, where former A&M head coach Mike Sherman is now the Dolphins' offensive coordinator.

    "I've been touting Tannehill since last June," said Gil Brandt, the longtime Dallas Cowboys personnel executive and current NFL.com draft analyst. "I feel about this guy like I did about (Sam) Bradford. I just think he's not as ready as Bradford was when he came out of Oklahoma. That's the only reservation I have. And I think with coaching, he can catch up in a hurry because he's so smart."

    On the other side of the argument is Dave Razzano, a longtime NFL scout now working in sports radio in San Francisco.

    "He flashes on tape, but the consistency throwing it down the field I just don't see the consistency," Razzano said. "His football instincts, his quarterback instincts, he looks like a kid that hasn't been playing the position long. I don't think he's a high first-round pick."

    That's the crux of the Tannehill debate, and everyone seems to have an opinion.

    Russ Lande, a former NFL scout and now a draft analyst for The Sporting News, says Tannehill has the strongest arm of any quarterback in the 2012 draft. Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay tweeted that any team desiring Tannehhill needs to move up to the No. 3 overall spot currently held by Minnesota.

    On the other hand, former NFL head coach Brian Billick said earlier this week on the "Mike & Mike" ESPN radio show: "This has classic miss on it."

    In terms of intriguing talent combined with a relative lack of college playing experience, Billick said Tannehill reminds him of JaMarcus Russell. Billick wasn't predicting a similar NFL fate for Tannehill, because Russell was one of the biggest draft busts in recent memory. But no matter the context, the last place any draft-eligible quarterback wants to be is in the same sentence with Russell.

    "The way (Tannehill's) rushed up the charts concerns me a great deal," Billick said. "Need is a terrible evaluator."

    Razzano agrees. "To me, he's a potentially solid starter, but to take a guy in the top 10 that's potentially solid, I don't know," he said.

    It may be simply a sign of the times in the NFL, which becomes more of a quarterback-driven league with each, uh, passing season.

    "They get pushed up the boards because people are so desperate for them," Razzano said. "Teams 'manufacture' these guys. By the time the draft rolls around just like Blaine Gabbert they make these guys top-10 picks. Because if you don't have a quarterback, you have no chance.

    "I'm sure Tannehill worked out well. But J.P. Losman, Kyle Boller, those guys worked out real well. You can't go by that. You've got to really grind the tape and look for faults and strengths and weaknesses because so many of these guys can get out on the field (in shorts) and throw the ball around, and make all the throws. Shoot, a high school kid can make all the throws."

    Brandt used to say he preferred a quarterback entering the NFL to have 30 college starts. But he says the game has changed. Even at the high school level, teams are throwing the ball all over the field. So quarterbacks learn to throw the ball and read defenses at an early age. Because of that, those who reach the NFL level are often ready to play earlier.

    In Tannehill, Brandt sees a hard working, highly intelligent, athletic, mobile quarterback with very good arm strength. He points out that A&M receivers had more drops last season than any other team in college football. He said Tannehill was blitzed 140 times last season, but was sacked only twice on those plays.

    So what's not to like?

    "He has all the tools necessary to be a successful NFL quarterback," Brandt said.

    Hopefully there is some fire amidst all the smoke .. If Tannehill goes before the #6 pick, (or on the sixth pick) we'll either have a better choice of perceived elite players, or more picks if a team trades with us for him. IMO a trade with us will likely not happen .. Could be that a lot of teams are blowing smoke prior to the draft in the hope Ryan goes early, so that another player they covet will drop down and thus be available.


  2. #2
    SLSG's Avatar
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    Re: Tannehill drawing all kinds of draft attention

    If Tannehill goes before the Rams pick, that means a great player fell another spot. If Tannehill doesn't go before the Rams pick, that means somebody might want to trade up with the Rams, like the Chiefs. Let the Chiefs and Dolphins bid on Tannehill.

  3. #3
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    Re: Tannehill drawing all kinds of draft attention

    Tannehill may not be ready for prime time right from the start, but there seems to be more & more of these NFL QB guru coaches who think they can coach him there soon. I think the way Carolina QB Cam Newton did surprisingly better his first season than many thought has more teams willing to take a chance & draft a 'project' at a high pick. If he does get picked before #6, then we are better positioned and I wouldn't expect us to trade at all.

  4. #4
    Shan the Ram Man's Avatar
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    Re: Tannehill drawing all kinds of draft attention

    Well
    If WR Blackmon is gone before the sixth pick. I hope Rams trade down for a bunch of picks. Let some other team draft QB Tanahill.
    I wouldn't mind another 2nd round and 5th this year and a 3rd in 2013. To move to the 11th pick.

  5. #5
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    Re: Tannehill drawing all kinds of draft attention

    I hope someone buys into all this and he's gone before the Rams pick. Just means a better chance of a great prospect dropping to us. And if not then I hope Snead can con someone into trading up for him. If I was Tannehil I think I'd give Billick a call and ask him to lay off the Jamarcus comparisons.

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