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Tannehill a top-10 draft pick? Only when the annual madness sets in

by | CBSSports.com National NFL Insider

Ryan Tannehill's rightful place to be drafted? Maybe the late second or third round. (US Presswire)  
Ryan Tannehill's rightful place to be drafted? Maybe the late second or third round. (US Presswire)  

So here we are again, the annual NFL Draft, where smart men suddenly become incredibly dumb. Example No. 7 trillion: Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill is suddenly a first-round pick.

If Tannehill moved any faster up the NFL's draft boards, he'd be Deion Sanders. Starships don't travel this quickly. Still trying to figure out why. Was it his 1-5 record against ranked teams? Was it his completion percentage that fell last year? Was it his quarterback rating that was lower than Brock Osweiler's?

Or the 19 starts? Or that not too long ago he was a wide receiver.

Maybe it's the remarkable pedigree of Big 12 quarterbacks in the NFL, like Chris Simms, Brad Smith, Colt McCoy or Vince Young. They've been just swell.

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In January 2011, Tannehill went against LSU and its NFL-caliber defensive backs. It was his sixth start, and he tossed three picks. This was a Tannehill pattern for much of his college career at quarterback. The more athletic the defense, the worst he performed, and as we all know, there are no athletes roaming NFL secondaries. None at all.

Tannehill has the greatest bust potential of any possible first-round pick. This is nothing personal against Tannehill. He seems like a fine young man and a smart dude. This is about the people doing the evaluating. This is the great follywang of the draft, and we see this every year.

Common sense is replaced by hope. Words like "potential" become fruitful and multiply. It was in this environment players like Blaine Gabbert and JaMarcus Russell floated to places they should have never gone. We've all suffered from draft dementia at some point, but this seems to happen to significant segments of the NFL every year.

In speaking with several team personnel executives, there is a distinct possibility the Dolphins will take Tannehill with the No. 8 pick. This could be the Dolphins using their Enigma machine to send out counter-intelligence (another draft staple), but the Tannehill-Miami speculation seems legitimate.

Thus, if you Google the phrase "setting up to fail," there's a picture of Tannehill right alongside Ty Tryon, Bode Miller and Ricky Williams. Tannehill is a third-rounder or maybe -- maybe -- a late second-round pick. I've seen him play. Good athleticism, nice arm, but there's nothing that should elevate him into the top eight in the draft. He wasn't even among the eight best players in his conference.

The big issue with Tannehill is throwing accuracy. That's an important quality for an NFL quarterback. Allegedly.

"I feel like he's being pushed up the board not necessarily on his ability to play the position at the next level but on his athleticism and people predicting his potential," former Denver general manager Ted Sundquist said on the NFL Network recently. "I think the Dolphins, if they take [Michael] Floyd, have an opportunity to find a quarterback with that second (round) pick ... much like Cincinnati did last year when they took A.J. Green and found Andy Dalton waiting for them. I would take Michael Floyd with the Miami Dolphins' pick at No. 8."

That man makes sense. Maybe because he has been out of the NFL for a few years. The more distance you get from football, the less you are affected by draft silliness. It's like escaping a radioactive plume.

NFL personnel types never learn their lesson. Ever. A combine performance changes everything, overshadowing what they witnessed with their own eyes when a player was on the field.

Tannehill vaulting upward like Carl Lewis is more a sign of teams desperate for a quarterback and wishful thinking. There are two great throwers in this draft: Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. After that, it's more of a hodgepodge. After that, for the most part, it's a cluster of second-tier guys, and you're fooling yourself if you believe Tannehill's drastically superior than some of the other quarterbacks.

Or you're also suffering from draft dementia.


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