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Road to the Draft: Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
6-foot-3, 221 pounds
Draft projection: First round

Lowdown: Tannehill is forcing NFL scouts to look deep, deep into their crystal balls. He has the physical tools and athleticism the NFL covets in an elite quarterback. However, he made only 19 starts as a college quarterback after spending his first 2 1-2 seasons at Texas A&M as a receiver. There is speculation he could be drafted as high as No. 4 to Cleveland or toward the later end of the first round. He will be a gamble wherever he is taken in the first round.

Tannehill was recruited to College Station, Texas, as a dual-threat passer with great running ability. He competed for the QB job as a red-shirt freshman under new coach Miek Sherman in 2008. He lost out in the fall behind Stephen McGee, who had previously run the option for Texas A&M, and Jerrod Johnson, a big, pocket passer. Tannehill agreed to switch to receiver and had success, catching 55 passes in 2008 and 46 in 2009. He stayed at receiver the first six games of the 2010 season, but with Johnson in struggling, Sherman handed the reins to Tannehill. In his first start, he passed for 449 yards in a 45-27 win over Texas Tech. He won his first five starts before losing in the Aggies’ bowl game to Louisiana State. As a senior in 2011, he passed for 3,744 yards with 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He ran a version of the West Coast offense under Sherman, who was fired from Texas A&M in December. Sherman now is offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins, who hold the No. 8 overall pick in the draft.

Smarts: Tannehill carried a 3.6 grade-point average in biology. He plans to be an orthopedic surgeon when he’s done with football. Tannheill’s career arc was the opposite of that of his father’s. His father, Tim, played for Texas Tech, and played his first two years at receiver before switching to quarterback his final season.

Mike Mayock of the NFL Network on Tannehill: “I can see all the attributes of a (Jake) Locker in Tannehill. He's a big, strong kid that can push the ball down the field. He's athletic. I like everything about him except for the fact that on tape, I think he stares his receivers down and waits for them to come up before he rips it. That's typical of a young quarterback without a lot of starts. I look at him and say, kind of like Jake Locker, he's going to take a little it of time. It's going to take a year or so. Nineteen starts is not a lot of starts for a college quarterback. I think he's as good or better than a (Christian) Ponder or a Locker a year ago.”

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper: “Tannehill is locked into the middle of the first round. There’s some questions about him in terms of how quickly he’ll be ready to play. … With Tannehill, it’s a lack of experience. The fact against Oklahoma, 50 percent completion percentage. Kansas State, 58.7. Texas 40.8, with three picks. Three picks against Oklahoma. Three picks against Oklahoma State. Against those four teams, those better teams, he struggled. Great in the red zone. Spectacular in the red zone, (completing) 64.5 percent, (with) 18 touchdowns and just one int. You like the potential, you like the talent. I’ve been doing this since ’79 and I don’t think there’s been anybody who has gone from another position to quarterback and been a first-round pick.”

---Mark Gaughan

 

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