2012 NFL Mock Draft: Ryan Tannehill and the Riskiest Quarterbacks
It's obvious that the NFL draft is an inexact science. That being said, investing in a player, especially a quarterback, who's either underachieved, dealt with injuries and/or maybe just isn't ready for the pros, some are more of a risk than others.
To that end, in a year dominated by quarterbacks there are surely going to be risky prospects. So, here are some to be aware of as we progress through the offseason.
Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
With only one season as the full-time starter under center at Texas A&M, Aggies QB Ryan Tannehill is still expected to be a late first-, early second-round pick.
In 2010, where he started the second half of the season after spending much time as a receiver in prior years, Tannehill completed 65 percent of his throws for over 1,600 yards and 13 TDs to six picks. This past season he compiled over 3,700 passing yards, ran for another 306 and totaled 33 TDs (29 passing).
Although he has the size to be a solid NFL quarterback, he's not an early second-round pick since the intermediate accuracy needs to improve as well as patience in the pocket.
Not doing so restricts him from maintaining fluid mechanics and the ability to read blitzes quicker pre-snap. Perhaps though, the best aspect of Tannehill is his ability to buy time which also translated into a solid year running the ball.
However, that may also be in danger. According to Joe Schad of ESPN, Tannehill has a concerning injury:
Former Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill broke a foot in training recently and will miss the Senior Bowl, according to his agent, Pat Dye.
Tannehill broke a fifth metatarsal in a passing drill, an injury that might require surgery.
That being said, Tannehill's status is likely to fall quite a bit and any injury is concerning to NFL franchises.
Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden is a risk not only because he can be interception prone at times, but also because he's eerily similar to Chris Weinke, the former Florida State quarterback.
Weeden is 28 years old, so whoever drafts him will see age 30 by the 2013 season. With only so much time to develop, it would not be surprising to see him slip into the fifth or sixth round. Currently, Weeden is expected to go late in Round 3 or early in Round 4 but his decision-making skills must quickly improve.
Although Weeden completed 67 percent of his throws in 2010 and 72.3 percent in 2011, he still threw 13 picks each season and had much success thanks to receiver Justin Blackmon outside.
There's no doubt that Weeden has the potential to be a solid NFL quarterback. He has great arm strength, solid accuracy and sits tall in the pocket.
However, despite displaying the ability to read coverages he lacks in reading blitzes and consistently making audibles. In turn, that has affected his production (as evidence by the interceptions) and when Weeden is cold, he's really cold.
Fortunately for NFL teams considering Weeden, when in rhythm he's as good as it gets. But any team who can effectively blitz will prevent him from spreading the ball around.
Brock Osweiler, Arizona State
Only a junior and with just one full season starting under center, Arizona State's Brock Osweiler may arguably be the riskiest prospect this draft.
Now yes, he has a strong arm, is decently accurate and has the ideal size to flourish in the NFL. The concern is that he is prone to turning the ball over and doesn't know when to throw it away.
2011 was his first real opportunity to showcase his skills and Osweiler did do well. In throwing for over 4,000 yards and for 26 TDs, Brock completed 63.2 percent of his passes.
Unfortunately, he also threw 13 interceptions and was sacked 28 times. And in his final three games of the season, Brock threw five picks, completed only 59.2 percent of his throws and the Sun Devils finished 6-7.
The interesting thing about Osweiler, however, is that despite not fully starting until 2011 he was able to put up some good numbers. The concern is that he's just not ready for the pros yet. Standing at 6'8" he undoubtedly will be able to read defenses clearly and take a lot of hits, but that alone doesn't make you ready for the NFL.
Had Osweiler elected to finish out his collegiate career, he would not only be more NFL-ready but a potential early second-rounder instead of a mid-to-late fourth-rounder.
Ryan Lindley, San Diego State
San Diego State's Ryan Lindley is slated to be a late fourth- or early fifth-round draft pick but it wouldn't be surprising to see him drop into the sixth round.
Since the 2009 season his interceptions have dropped from 16 to 14 and then eight in 2011. The problem, however, is that his completion percentage has not been impressive by any means. In 2008 Lindley completed 56.7 percent of his throws which isn't too bad for a redshirt freshman.
But he then dropped to 54.7 percent in 2009, up to 57.7 percent in 2010 and back down to 53 percent in 2011. That kind of low consistency will not impress NFL scouts, so he must vastly improve between now and late April.
And although Lindley can provide the ability to read defenses, his pocket awareness lacks as he's vulnerable to pressure. In addition, Lindley must learn to get rid of the ball quicker and on time. The reason for his inconsistency in completions is because he lacks the ability to thread the needle.
So in short, simply just stepping into a throw with confidence as opposed to hoping the protection holds up and a receiver will be wide open. His size isn't the problem nor the arm strength, accuracy first and foremost.
2012 First-Round NFL Mock Draft
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford)
17. Cincinnati (From OAK): Riley Reiff, OT (Iowa)
2. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR (Oklahoma State)
18. San Diego Chargers: Courtney Upshaw, LB (Alabama)
3. Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT (USC)
19. Chicago Bears: Alshon Jeffery, WR (South Carolina)
4. Cleveland Browns: Morris Claiborne, CB (LSU)
20. Tennessee Titans: Mohamed Sanu, WR (Rutgers)
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trent Richardson, RB (Alabama)
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Cordy Glenn, OG (Georgia)
6. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin, QB (Baylor)
22. Cleveland (From ATL): Vontaze Burfict, LB (ASU)
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Michael Floyd, WR (Notre Dame)
23. Detroit Lions: Zach Brown, LB (UNC)
8. Miami Dolphins: Kendall Wright, WR (Baylor)
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Zebrie Sanders, OT (Florida State)
9. Carolina Panthers: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB (Alabama)
25. Denver Broncos: Chase Minnifield, CB (UVA)
10. Buffalo Bills: Alfonzo Dennard, CB (Nebraska)
26. New York Giants: Devon Still, DT (Penn State)
11. Kansas City Chiefs: David DeCastro, G (Stanford)
27. Houston Texans: Jerel Worthy, DT (Michigan State)
12. Seattle Seahawks: Quinton Coples, DE (UNC)
28. San Francisco 49ers: Mark Barron, S (Alabama)
13. Arizona Cardinals: Jonathan Martin, OT (Stanford)
29. Baltimore Ravens: Dont'a Hightower, LB (Alabama)
14. Dallas Cowboys: Janoris Jenkins, CB (North Alabama)
30. New England Patriots (From NO): Stephon Gilmore, CB (South Carolina)
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Kuechly, LB (Boston College)
31. New England Patriots: Sam Montgomery, DE (LSU)
16. New York Jets: Brandon Thompson, DE (Clemson)
32. Green Bay Packers: Melvin Ingram, DE (South Carolina)
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