Tannehill stock soars as NFL draft nears
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07
Just one day before the draft, pundits are as confused about senior quarterback Ryan Tannehill as ever.
The man will go down in Aggie lore not only for his passing prowess, but also for the speed and precision with which he ran his routes back during his days as a wide receiver. After being converted from a pass catcher, Tannehill registered 19 starts behind center, and this versatility has become a polarizing topic among NFL circles.
Can a player with less than 20 college starts under his belt handle the rigors of the NFL? If he couldn’t even win his own starting quarterback job until his junior year, is he really worth building a franchise around as a top-10 pick?
Pat Dye, the gunslinger’s agent, said that what Tannehill lacks in film footage is made up for by his “prototypical measurables.”
“His height, weight, speed, arm strength, is tops,” Dye said. “Then … you throw in the intangibles that are off the charts: the character, the work ethic, the intelligence, his ability to talk football and translate it on the boards.”
Tannehill’s ride up the draft charts has been an unorthodox one. After throwing for 3,744 yards and 29 touchdowns in his final season in Aggieland, he was considered a late first-round selection. He then sustained a foot injury, which kept him out of the Senior Bowl and other showcases, but wowed teams enough with his tape and interviewing skills that he continued inching toward the top of the board. Now, he’s considered one of this year’s premier talents and will most likely be selected among the top-10 picks.
“To come back from having surgery and having a screw inserted in his foot, to come back and work out the way he has at his pro day and his private workouts, I think is really remarkable,” Dye said. “He’s held up physically and mentally. Now I think he’s just probably ready, like everybody else is, to find out where he’s going to be.”
Tannehill has drawn significant interest from the Cleveland Browns, who pick in the No. 4 slot, and the Miami Dolphins, who will make the No. 8 selection with the help of new offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, Tannehill’s coach while at Texas A&M.
“If it’s Cleveland, he’ll be thrilled to go there,” Dye said. “If it’s Miami, he’ll be thrilled to go there. If it’s Kansas City at 11, he’ll be thrilled to go there, and likewise with Seattle at 12. I think he’s thrilled to be discussed in the top half of the first round. It’s an exciting time, yet it’s a stressful time, because you just don’t know, and anything you hear from a team right now you’ve just got to take with a grain of salt.”
Senior receiver Ryan Swope said he’s excited for his former quarterback and knows that, more than anything else, he wants the process to finalize so he can begin preparing to become the face of the franchise that selects him.
“I actually talked to him today and I think he’s very ready to get this going, and I can’t wait for him,” Swope said. “He did some great things while he was here. I have a great connection with Ryan and hope for the best for him.”
Junior political science major Ryan Funderberg said he thinks Tannehill will pull a page from LeBron James’ book and take his talents to South Beach.
“Miami just makes the most sense,” Funderberg said. “The offense he ran with Sherman here at A&M was a pro-style scheme, and it’d be much easier to transition there than in Cleveland or anywhere else.”
Rarely has there been such contentious national debate on an NFL prospect, but that may be because there’s never been a prospect quite like Ryan Tannehill.
“For a guy that only has 19 starts to be discussed in the top-10 picks when you’ve got two guys as talented as Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III already in the draft, and presumably being taken one and two off the board, it’s rare to have a talent like either one of those guys, much less two of them, much less three of them with Ryan thrown in the mix,” Dye said. “It’s a unique situation and we’re all anxious to see where it’s going to work out.”