NFL Draft Scouting Report: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

Ryan Tannehill“Ryan Tannehill is an extraordinarily gifted athlete, physical specimen, and has impressive character qualities to boot. Will likely blow up the combine and do very well in interviews. Really excels in the classroom as noted in the Background/Character section, and has the leadership qualities needed at the quarterback position. Has size/mobility combination to create 2nd lives for himself, buy time, and make big plays for the offense, while also showing the confidence and presence to manipulate the pocket. Runs very well for his size, timed in the low 4.6’s back in 2006 as a high school recruit.

He is largely inexperienced as a starting quarterback and under-developed in terms of reading coverage, which means next level coaching and tutorship is of utmost importance to his immediate success. With his aptitude for learning, understanding of the game, and ability to learn on the job, I personally believe that Tannehill’s intellect and football acumen will allow him to quickly learn the nuances to become a solid franchise signal caller. The fact that he has no bad habits makes him the most “moldable” quarterbacks in the draft, and as stated before, coaching will be the determining factor for his success or failure.”

   

PLAYER COMPARISON
Jake Locker
PROJ. DRAFT POSITION
Late 1st to Early 2nd Round
INJURY HISTORY
Ankle sprain suffered September 6, 2008   
Torn right labrum suffered in spring ball of 2009   

CAREER ACOLADES
2009, 2010, 2011 Academic All Big 12 1st team   
2010 All Big 12 Honorable Mention   
2011 William V. Campbell Trophy finalist

KEY STATS
Career Pass: 62 completion %, 5,121 yds, 41 TD   
Career Rec: 112 rec, 1596 yds, 14.3 avg, 10 TD
2010: 152-234, 65%, 1638 yds, 13 TDs – 6 INTs   
2011: 300-491, 61%, 3415 yds, 28 TDs – 14 INTs

Background/Character
Graduated cum laude with a degree in biology, is a 3-time first team Academic All-Big 12 scholar, and plans to study medicine after his football career. Named Texas A&M Athletics scholar four times and is a four time member of the Big 12 honor roll. The only player in FBS history to put up 5,000 yards passing and 1,500 yards receiving in his career, as well as the only player to record 400 yards passing and 200 yards receiving in a single game. Recruited as a quarterback, Tannehill worked very hard to win the starting job his redshirt freshman season but ended up switching to wide receiver.

Accepting his role on the team, Tannehill went on to lead his team in receptions and receiving yards as a freshman, setting freshman records in each category. Still, Tannehill sought out the quarterback position, serving as the primary backup his redshirt sophomore season. Tannehill earned the starting quarterback job midway into last season (2010) and hasn’t looked back since. Is 11-7 as the starter dating back to his first career start in 2010 vs. Texas Tech, losing 5 games this season by a 3 points or less. Shows great onfield composure and leadership qualities.

Athleticism
A tremendously gifted athlete, Tannehill, though recruited to A&M as a quarterback, set multiple receiving records as a freshman and went on to lead the team at the position for his first two and a half seasons.   Even contributing on special teams as a punter at times, Tannehill is uniquely talented and coordinated. Possesses ideal height, just over 6’4, and is big bodied. Maintains a healthy frame with good muscle mass and a well built lower half. Has impressive movement skills for his size, displaying the ability to make defenders miss in space or subtly slide away from pressure within the pocket.

Able to retreat and break contain against interior pass rushGood ballcarrier vision and can create yardage with his feet. Though he runs well (4.6 range), Tannehill tends to run with high pad level and is not able to string multiple moves or cuts together without losing balance. Stands tall in the pocket, doesn’t flex his knees much, but hitches well at the end of his 3 and 5 step drop backs; slides in and out the pocket with ease, showing the foot speed and balance to quickly reset when pressured. As a whole, Ryan Tannehill possesses all physical tools NFL teams look for in a big-time franchise, signal caller; big bodied, strong, athletic, and mobile.
Ryan TannehillPassing-Ability
Impressive arm talent and zip to all throws across the field. Tannehill’s timing in the quick passing game is fun to watch; he really moves and operates like a west coast offense quarterback, releasing the ball just at or before the route break, and throwing with great ball placement in the short to intermediate passing game. Very comfortable and extremely accurate when throwing outside the numbers, along the sidelines, on out breaking pass patterns -most notably the deep out and comeback.

Having played receiver, he understands that each wideout runs each route differemtly, cuts differently, etc; with that, Tannehill also shows an understanding of where the ball needs to be thrown in order to give his man the best opportunity to bring down the catch. Trusts his receivers almost to a fault, in their ability to create separation and win one-on-one matchups. Lacks consistency to his deep ball throws, not showing the touch and placement necessary to completion. Will work to perfect this area of his passing game, leading up to the NFL combine and Senior Bowl. Doesn’t throw the ball naturally with touch and attempts to guide the football on bucket throws.

Passing-Technique
Puts on a three step pass drop clinic from both under center and from the gun, getting good depth and maintaining balance on first step, not wasting any movement on crossover, gathering with the third and releasing the ball with perfect timing. Sports a very quick windup, holding the ball just above his numbers; a compact throwing motion and delivery, everything is tightly wound, quick, and smooth flowing. Windup is so short and compact, Tannehill almost short arms or pushes the football. His throwing slot is usually dependant on how the pocket develops, but for the most part Tannehill’s arm slot sits somewhere between a ¾’s position to a full, over the top delivery.

Doesn’t consistently get his back hip into throws and will sometimes guide the football to the target. Always on his toes during his drop back, Tannehill is able to sidestep rushers, reset to the developing pocket, and is not  phased by blitz pressure. Undeveloped in reading coverages, zone blitzes and mixed coverages lead to most of Tannehill’s mistakes. Consistently steps into his throws, rarely falling away or throwing off his back foot. On rollouts, Tannehill always gets his shoulders aligned to the throw and is very comfortable making throws rolling to his right or left.

Passing-Instincts
Though he is relatively inexperienced as a college quarterback, Tannehill’s has an exceptional understanding of the game of football. Shows impeccable timing with all his receivers, and knows when and where the ball must be placed. At times, Tannehill is very good about recognizing coverages and blitz pressures, locating uncovered targets or attacking the open area of the field; other times, he misreads the coverage and isn’t wary to any possible blitz pressure. Inconsistent in presnap and decision making areas of his game, due to the lack of game time experience and coaching at the quarterback position.

Most of Tannehill’s interceptions come off of improper deciphering of defenses, something which is correctable with proper coaching; will make throws blind across the field when primary and secondary options are covered. Making blind throws when pressured is the only bad habit of Tannehill’s. Pocket presence and poise under pressure is elite; feels pressure, manipulates the pocket, and resets his feet fluidy. Poised enough to stand tall in the pocket and deliver the football while taking a big hit. Instinctive playmaker that lacks ideal game experience.

Summary
Ryan Tannehill is an extraordinarily gifted athlete, physical specimen, and has impressive character qualities to boot. Will likely blow up the combine and do very well in interviews. Really excels in the classroom as noted in the Background/Character section, and has the leadership qualities needed at the quarterback position. Has size/mobility combination to create 2nd lives for himself, buy time, and make big plays for the offense, while also showing the confidence and presence to manipulate the pocket. Runs very well for his size, timed in the low 4.6’s back in 2006 as a high school recruit. Maintains a live arm with the ability to drive the ball into tight windows with authority; displays incredible feel and timing in the 3 step passing game, as well as pinpoint accuracy outside the numbers and along the sidelines. Is willing to do whatever it takes in order to best support the team, even playing wide receiver for the first 2.5 years of his collegiate career having lost the starting QB gig. Just a testament to his athletic prowess, Tannehill can also punt extremely well (posted a 40+ yard per punt average). While he does maintain all the major qualities necessary to become a more than successful NFL quarterback, there are a few red flags that must be considered. First of which is time.

In a “what have you done for me lately” type of league, head coaches are given 2 years or sometimes less to bring in a winning tradition and mentality; it’s all about the wins. With that in mind, Tannehill is a 1-2 year project quarterback that needs to be groomed into the starter role. Having only started for a season and a half at the collegiate level, he hasn’t seen as many coverages as one would like, nor been truly coached at the position for longer than a full 2 seasons. Early on at A&M, Tannehill took at most, 50% of practice reps at quarterback. He is largely inexperienced as a starting quarterback and under-developed in terms of reading coverage, which means next level coaching and tutorship is of utmost importance to his immediate success. With his aptitude for learning, understanding of the game, and ability to learn on the job, I personally believe that Tannehill’s intellect and football acumen will allow him to quickly learn the nuances to become a solid franchise signal caller. The fact that he has no bad habits makes him the most “moldable” quarterbacks in the draft, and as stated before, coaching will be the determining factor for his success or failure.

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