Originally posted on The Herd's Word  |  Last updated 4/13/12

Get used to hearing these statements over the next few weeks:

Ryan Tannehill started his college career as a wide receiver.

Ryan Tannehill has only started 19 college football games as a quarterback.

Ryan Tannehill’s upside is superior to every quarterback in this year’s NFL Draft not named Luck or RG3.

But also prepare yourself to hear this: “With the (enter numbers 5-10th) pick in the NFL Draft the (enter franchise desperate for a QB) select Ryan Tannehill, quarterback, Texas A&M.”

Regardless of where Tannehill ranks among the best players in the 2012 NFL Draft class, there is an immeasurable amount of importance placed upon the quarterback position in the NFL, and because of that, names like Gabbert, Ponder and Locker flew off the Draft Board much earlier than expected last year. That trend won’t end this year.

If you told Ryan Tannehill that NFL teams would be comparing him to Ed McCaffery at this point in 2010 he probably would have blushed. Fast forward two years and Tannehill is drawing comparisons to the elite passers in the NFL. His rise isn’t unprecedented but it’s not something a team drafting in the top-10 should be completely comfortable with either.

Joe Flacco entered his senior year at Delaware as a “player to watch” for the 2008 Draft. After leading his team to the 2007 D1-AA National Championship game, Flacco gained momentum toward the end of the season and solidified his status as the second best QB in his class behind USC’s Mark Sanchez. The difference between Flacco and Tannehill is experience.

Flacco realized he wasn’t going to be given an opportunity to compete for the starting spot at Pittsburgh because coach Dave Wannstedt was enamored with incumbent Tyler Palko. He transferred to Delaware and almost instantly became an NFL prospect due to his size, arm strength and ability to make quick reads. The number of defenses Flacco had broken down before reaching the NFL wasn’t an issue when Draft Day rolled around.

Back to Tannehill. His physical attributes are obvious. He has the ideal size GMs are looking for with athletic ability to spare. He can “make every throw” necessary, one of the most overrated statements Draft pundits consistently make this time of year. (Show me an NFL quarterback that can’t make every throw. Imagine an offensive coordinator calling a play, only to have the QB wave his arms up at the booth, screaming “No, no, no!!! I can’t make that throw. Remember?”) He played his college ball in a major conference but not necessarilly against the best defensive competition in the country. The best Big 12 defense in 2011 was arguably Oklahoma, who was nowhere near the top-25 nationally. Nebraska, who consistently paced the conference on the defensive side of the ball over the past five years, moved onto the Big Ten, leaving a physically noticable void within the Big 12. Tannehill’s biggest win last season came against RG3 and Baylor, when he threw 6 TDs against 1 INT. That performance alone probably gave a few GMs enough confidence to select him with their first pick this April but what followed should give them reason for concern.

Losses in four of his last five regular season college games should put doubt in the minds of any team in the mix for a QB in this year’s Draft. His basic lack of experience against non-Swiss cheese defenses, along with relatively poor performances against Oklahoma State, Texas and Oklahoma, should also give any team looking to make Tannehill their franchise QB reason to second guess him.

Generally only one -sometimes two- quarterbacks from a given Draft class prevail at the NFL level. Given the fact that Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III have been labeled “can’t-miss prospects” why would any NFL general manager basically put their job on the line and draft Ryan Tannehill, a 19-game starting project from a Texas A&M squad that had everything in place to win at least ten games during his final season?

Your guess is as good as mine.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Astros' Jon Singleton receives 100-game suspension

Bills LB Lorenzo Alexander critical of NCAA rules concerning his brother

Jalen Rose: ‘Kawhi Leonard wants out of San Antonio’

WWE fires Enzo Amore in wake of rape accusation

Tyronn Lue says it’s ‘crazy’ to scapegoat Kevin Love for Thunder loss

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: NFL wants Raiders to sign Kaepernick after Rooney ruling

Jay Feely: Gisele tried to get me to convince Tom Brady to retire

Raiders to make a run at Le’Veon Bell if he becomes free agent?

Law enforcement to keep close eye on Tom Brady’s jersey, other items at Super Bowl

Joe Thomas shades Big Ben while talking up Todd Haley

LaVar Ball to serve as assistant coach on sons' Euro team

The 'OK, so it's not always good to be The King' quiz

How to stop a Pats comeback: Never think you're ahead

How the Philadelphia Eagles arrived at Super Bowl LII

How the New England Patriots arrived at Super Bowl LII

Close calls: 20 MLB greats who came closest to Cooperstown but never made it

Nine reasons why the Eagles will beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LII

The surprising failure of Jason Kidd

How things have changed since last Eagles-Pats Super Bowl

The Chicago Bulls' future is on the clock

Position-by-position breakdown of Super Bowl LII teams

The 'More things change...' quiz

Greatest surprise Super Bowl stars

Aggies News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Close calls: 20 MLB greats who came closest to Cooperstown but never made it

The 'OK, so it's not always good to be The King' quiz

How to stop a Pats comeback: Never think you're ahead

How the Philadelphia Eagles arrived at Super Bowl LII

Greatest surprise Super Bowl stars

Position-by-position breakdown of Super Bowl LII teams

Oldest players to ever be on Super Bowl rosters

The 'More things change...' quiz

How the New England Patriots arrived at Super Bowl LII

Players with the most Super Bowl appearances

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker