04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Dolphins' picks: Round 1/8 - Ryan Tannehill, QB, 6-4, 221, Texas A&M...The Dolphins felt his athleticism, footwork and accuracy made him the ideal fit for the west coast offense. BEST PICK: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill: According to coach Joe Philbin it only took the team's first-round pick three hours to grasp the Dolphins playbook. There's a good reason for that considering Tannehill used it the past two seasons playing for Mike Sherman as the Aggies starting quarterback. Sherman is now the Dolphins offensive coordinator. - The Sports Xchange
Tannehill arrived in College Station as one of the top dual-threat quarterback prospects in the nation, but showed an exceptional team-first attitude by switching to receiver. When Jerrod Johnson struggled early in the 2010 season due to injury, however, Tannehill stepped in and led the team to six straight wins.
Tannehill was a productive receiver who led the team in receptions for his first two seasons. But he saw action at quarterback in 2009 and took over as the starter in 2010. That?s when he started to really catch the eye of NFL scouts. He closed his career with 5,450 passing yards and 42 touchdowns.
He is still raw and needs to continue to improve at reading defenses and completing passes to keep the chains moving. But Tannehill possesses a tantalizing combination of size, intelligence, arm strength and mobile. With Southern Cal?s Matt Barkley and Oklahoma?s Landry Jones returning to school, Tannehill is a likely first-round pick.
Accuracy: Very good accuracy in the short passing game, puts ball on the numbers or in a place where receiver can make a play after the catch, even when throwing off his back foot. Quite accurate making plays on the run, squares his shoulders throwing in either direction, has deft touch but also puts some zip on shorter to intermediate throws and places the ball to the outside. Hits open receivers in stride downfield. Generally throws a nice fade to the outside, will underthrow when trying to put too much air under the pass. Makes intermediate throws to the short side of the field, but too often sails throws over the middle or to the sideline from the pocket.
Arm Strength: Possesses an NFL arm. Gets the ball from one hash to the opposite sideline in a hurry. Has the zip to hit tight windows on short and intermediate throws. Tight spiral aids velocity. Flips the ball 20-30 yards downfield on the run.
Setup/Release: Inconsistent release, at times flipping the ball out quickly like Philip Rivers and winding up on other throws. Height and tall, balanced posture in pocket makes it easy to survey the field. Splits time between shotgun and coming out from under center. Takes extra steps in his drop at times. Feels interior pressure too quickly, throws off back foot when unnecessary (though it's still accurate). Pats ball to keep rhythm. Delivery gets a bit sidearm, allows linemen to knock down throws. Not practiced stepping up into the pocket to find room to throw.
Reading Defenses: Sees the field very well when the play breaks down and occasionally changes plays at the line, but needs work recognizing coverages. Will throw his man into a defender, resulting in big hits. Also needs to be cognizant of blitzes and outside pressure, puts himself (and the ball) in danger too often by failing to see late comers and secondary rush. Sells play fake and is patient enough to look to one side of the field before going to primary option on misdirection plays. Stares down receivers too often, NFL-caliber defenders close on his passes to create turnovers.
On the Move: Excellent mobility for his size, not surprising given his success at receiver. Regularly used on bootlegs (with good urgency on play fake) to either side of the formation take advantage of his athleticism. Presses the line running to his left, puts himself into the arms of defenders. Good touch on underneath throws when plays break down. Won't get the corner as easily against NFL defenders, but has the quickness to get chunks of yardage on naked bootlegs and when lanes open in man coverage. Watches the pressure and flushes a bit early, but once in the open he looks for downfield targets. Tough player, but takes too many hits downfield on zone-read plays and scrambles, must learn to slide. Height and slight build bring durability concerns.
Intangibles: Intelligent prospect who is very good student, a regular on first-team Academic All-Big 12 squad who hopes to one day become an orthopedic surgeon. Team player who reveled in the chance to compete on the field at receiver instead of transferring once losing the quarterback battle. Father played quarterback at Texas Tech. Occasional pooch punter.