QB Ryan Tannehill Draft Profile
6’4″ – 221 lbs
Strengths – Tannehill is a very athletic and talented prospect. He was recruited by the Aggies to play quarterback, but switched over to wide receiver when he lost the starting job. Even with the switch, Tannehill was the Aggies leading receiver when he was starting there for his first two seasons. He played more of an emergency quarterback role during the 2010 season and was the full-time starter in 2011. His willingness to switch positions demonstrates two things. He is a team-first player and he has the athleticism to play both positions at a high level. He is 6’4″, which is ideal for a NFL quarterback and, with that, he possesses a NFL arm. He can make all the throws and throws with accuracy especially with short to intermediate throws. He throws very well on the run and shows ability to dissect and read defenses. He is an intelligent player who has shown tremendous growth as his role has changed from receiver to emergency quarterback to starting quarterback.
Weaknesses – The biggest weakness for Tannehill is that he is raw. He has one year as a starter in college, but not only that, he was playing an entirely different position 3 years ago. As I said above, he is intelligent and capable in terms of reading a defense, but he still needs to improve for the pro game. He struggles “feeling” pressure, whether it’s him leaving the pocket before it’s there, or not realizing that a defender is coming up from his blindside. On top of that, he is rather slim. At 221 lbs, he will need to bulk up to ensure that he doesn’t spend most of his time on the injury report, especially considering the biggest contribution he can make early on in his career may come from running the ball. Even then, his speed will be neutralized by NFL defenders, at least to some extent. The biggest problem with Tannehill’s game right now though, is his footwork and throwing motion. Simply put, they are wildly inconsistent. We aren’t talking about Tim Tebow mechanics, but Tannehill does release the ball too low at times, resulting in passes getting knocked down at the line of scrimmage and throws with poor footwork (off back foot, extra steps in drop back…etc.), which result in the ball sailing deep among other things.
Thoughts – I think, as do many others, that Tannehill has the potential to become something very special. He has all the physical and mental tools that people have come to expect from a NFL quarterback. He can throw. There is no doubt about his arm strength and his accuracy (particularly short to intermediate), but the inconsistent/faulty footwork and inconsistent throwing motion make him a developmental prospect. He needs some work reading defenses, especially the complex ones of the NFL, and needs work with some of the “feel” things about being a quarterback like sensing pressure and knowing when to step up into the pocket. He can certainly play and has the tools to be great, but he needs to receive proper coaching to really maximize his talents.
Comparison – I would compare Tannehill to Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. I’m sure there are many who would disagree with this, but hear me out. Jackson is a similar build as Tannehill (Jackson – 6’2″ 225 lbs) and has similar positive qualities. Jackson has a strong arm, displays good accuracy in the short to intermediate throws and is a formidable runner. Out of college, Jackson had similar knocks by scouts. He was considered raw due to his inconsistent throwing motion and footwork. While Tannehill could develop into something special and Jackson may have hit his ceiling in terms of potential, at this point in the process, Tannehill shows comparisons to the “project” that Jackson was out of college. With the right environment and right coaching, Tannehill could easily become a star, but if he is expected to start early and doesn’t get to opportunity to develop with those conditions, he could struggle to realize his potential.
Ryan Tannehill Scouting Reports