Prospect Preview Series: Ryan Tannehill

Updated: April 13, 2012
ryan tannehill

Baseball has started, the Green Jacket has been awarded, the NFL schedule is coming out next week, and Florio’s get chirpier, and that can only mean one thing. The NFL draft is coming soon!

To help get you ready, along with the podcasts and mocks that you’ve seen here already, we’re going to start doing some player breakdowns and see how they might fit into the Bills draft plans. Since he was reportedly in town today, who better to start with than Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill?

By now you likely know Tannehill has been steadily climbing the boards of draftniks (although maybe not the teams themselves) to the point where Tannehill may not even be an option for Buffalo at 10. If @JimIrsay knows what he’s talking about/is sober, you may even have to trade up to 3. Apparently not content to land his second once in a generation QB in 12 years, he also feels the need to set the market for Ryan Tannehill. I don’t know either.

Anyway, the one thing we do know about Tannehill and Buffalo is that Nix was interested enough in him to use one of his limited pre draft visits on him, so the Bills are taking a somewhat serious look, so we should too.

As far as the national media goes, the opinion seems to be decidedly undecided. McShay thinks he has “better tools” than Matt Barkley, and some guy called Lande thinks he’s got the best arm in the draft; on the other side of the coin, Brian Billick isn’t a fan, Kiper thinks he’s overvalued, and Bruce Feldman doesn’t either. Feldman’s opinion in particular I respect, or at least more so than McShay, so that initially gave me pause, but there’s opinions both ways.

Tannehill played in a spread offense at Texas A&M after being converted from a WR. He amassed 41 TDs against 20 interceptions in 20 starts, and had a nice low 60s completion percentage. That’s decent production for a former receiver, but nothing to get excited about for a potential top 5 pick.

When I watch the tape, I see a lot of Blaine Gabbert. Big guy who moves well, looks the part, but wasn’t asked to make many throws down the middle of the field and ran mainly out of the spread. In Gabbert’s case, that lead to not just a bad season, but a historically bad season. If you buy the comparison between Tannehill and Gabbert, that should make you a leeedle uneasy.

On the other hand, the jury’s still out on Gabbert and he was pretty much thrown into the fire. If Buffalo were to take Tannehill, this probably wouldn’t happen if Fitz were to be able to stay on the field, and that’s got to be your plan if you take Tannehill. He’s pretty solid NFL talent that is in no way ready to lead a NFL team. HOWEVAH, Buffalo is in a unique situation as they wouldn’t necessarily put Tannehill on the field for 2-3 years, and which point he would be hopefully get some of the Aaron Rodgers sit-behind-a-veteran effect.

So, will the Bills take a flier on Tannehill? It’s possible. It’s tough to be consistently successful in the NFL without a top QB, and it’s even tougher to find a top QB outside the top half of the first round. While Fitz is adequate to go into next season with, he’s not been good enough to prevent us from trying to draft a top QB. That said, just because you draft a guy in the top 15 doesn’t mean a guy is a top prospect, and that’s what I’m afraid of with Tannehill. But the best thing about Buddy Nix is he will only draft Tannehill if he thinks the guy is the best player on the board (not because of QB need). Considering the lack of experience and production, I don’t think the Bills will draft him, but you never know with Buddy Nix.