Opinions mixed on QB Ryan Tannehill; viewed as late 1st-rounder by some

No one questions Tannehill's athleticism, it's his experience that has some concerned.  (Getty Images)

The first round of the 2012 NFL Draft is in 21 days. Quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Ryan Tannehill will all hear their names called on Thursday, April 26, and while no one disputes that Luck and RG3 are the draft's two best players, opinions are mixed on whether Tannehill is worth a top-10 pick.

There was speculation last month that Tannehill could sneak into the top-5, and NFL Network's Mike Mayock has said that he thinks the Browns, who hold the No. 4 pick, make a lot of sense.

“Franchise quarterback trumps all,” he said on March 26. “We talk about that all the time, and I don't believe Colt McCoy is the answer. And I do believe Ryan Tannehill could become the answer. So I believe at No. 4 [Cleveland] ought to pull the trigger on Tannehill."

During an appearance Wednesday on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft," former NFL general manager Charley Casserly spoke about Tannehill. "I interviewed a dozen teams on this guy at the end of the season and they all pretty much told me late (first round) to early (second round)," he said. "The most accurate grades I ever get are the ones when I ask people in December and January."

On the same show, draft analyst Charles Davis also sounded cautious about Tannehill's value. "When this whole process started, I'm not sure many of us had him top 10, let alone maybe No. 4 to the Cleveland Browns. I like his abilities, I like his athleticism, but remember, just 19 starts at the quarterback position in college, had played wide receiver before that. … Not a lot of production down the stretch last year. … To me, he's a little bit of a risk going that high."

And it's that inexperience that troubles former Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist, who thinks the Dolphins should pass on Tannehill with the No. 8 pick. "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," Sundquist said Wednesday. "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."

It's an interesting theory. The Dolphins have the 42nd selection in the second round. NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang has Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden as the 42nd-ranked player on his big board followed by Kirk Cousins (72nd) and Brock Osweiler (81st), who was mentioned as a possible first-rounder last week. Rang also lists Tannehill 11th.

But here's the thing: some personnel people may think of Tannehill as a late first-rounder right now, but if a team is convinced that he's a franchise quarterback then they should draft him. Aaron Rodgers was taken at the end of the first round in 2005 and Drew Brees went at the beginning of the second round in 2002. Now they're two of the best players in the league.

The lesson: the draft isn't a science. There's some luck involved too.  

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.
CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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