|Could the 2012 NFL Draft see three QBs taken with the first four picks? (Getty Images)|
In the weeks leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft, the pool of possible first-round quarterbacks -- which already included Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert -- grew to include names like Jake Locker and Christian Ponder. Incidentally, Andy Dalton, the second-best rookie quarterback, wasn't taken until Round 2.
But the draft is more art than science and for teams desperate for a franchise QB, waiting around isn't an option. Which is why it could happen again this year. The Redskins sent the Rams three first-rounders, a second-rounder and additional considerations for the right to take Robert Griffin III with the No. 2 pick in April. And the Colts, Suck for Luck champions, will replace Peyton Manning with Andrew Luck when they draft him first overall.
Which brings us to Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Thought to be a possible late first-round pick heading into the combine, the scuttlebutt is that he could now go much earlier, perhaps has high as fourth overall. Here's Sports Illustrated's Peter King on Thursday:
Miami may not get OC Mike Sherman's college QB, Tannehill, staying at 8. How incredible that you might have to trade into top 4 to get him.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) March 15, 2012
I said "may'' about Tannehill, because you never know what Cleveland's going to do at 4, and don't know exactly how they feel about Colt.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) March 15, 2012
The Browns currently hold the No. 4 pick and they were trying to trade for RG3 before the Redskins pulled off the deal. (FYI: CBSSports.com's six draft experts have Tannehill going to one of three teams: eighth to Miami, 12th to Seattle, or 22nd to Cleveland.)
According to the Florida Times-Union's Tania Ganugli, Jaguars general manager Gene Smith would gladly entertain offers for their seventh-overall selection. "I know there's a lot of interest in Tannehill," he said.
(When we first read Ganugli's tweet, we interpreted it as Smith saying that he'd be willing to give up a seventh-rounder in reference to Tim Tebow, who seems destined for Jacksonville if the Broncos land Peyton Manning. At least if owner Shahid Khan has anything to do with it; Smith apparently has no interest in Tebow as evidenced by the recent Chad Henne signing.)
The draft is in six weeks. Will Smith get an opportunity to listen to offers? Almost certainly. The demand for franchise quarterbacks still outstrips supply, especially for teams that convince themselves that a certain player will solve all their problems (like, say, Blaine Gabbert).
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our NFL newsletter.