The connections between Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins are almost too obvious.
Tannehill quarterbacked Mike Sherman's Aggies for the last two seasons, and now Sherman is back in the NFL as the Dolphins' offensive coordinator. A percentage of mock drafts have picked up on that obvious connection, placing Tannehill as the Dolphins' No. 8 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
Not so fast, says Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post. Tannehill might be the Dolphins' last resort option.
A lot of mock drafts are starting to link the Dolphins with Tannehill, the former Texas A&M quarterback, with the eighth overall pick in April’s NFL Draft. Obviously the connection makes sense—Tannehill’s head coach was Mike Sherman, now the Dolphins’ new offensive coordinator.
But in assessing the Dolphins’ goals this offseason, the only way they end up with Tannehill at the eight spot is if they take a big swing-and-a-miss in landing a franchise quarterback.
According to Volin, the Dolphins' first options would be Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn and Robert Griffin III. If or when all three somehow find ways to escape South Beach, then the Dolphins may turn to Tannehill in April.
It's pretty easy to see why the three other quarterbacks are better options than a developmental prospect in Tannehill.
Manning is almost certain to be released by March 8, the date when his $28 million roster bonus would be guaranteed. Miami has been a leading landing spot for Manning since the idea of his release first developed.
Flynn, a former seventh-round pick, blossomed under the guidance of Aaron Rodgers, Tom Clements and Mike McCarthy in Green Bay. With two fantastic starts in relief of Rodgers under his belt, Flynn is likely to warrant a big salary on the open market. Oh, and you can't forget that current Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was Flynn's only professional offensive coordinator while with the Packers.
Griffin is likely to be the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, which means the Dolphins would have to orchestrate a deal to move up from No. 8 to 2. The Heisman Trophy winner might be worth any trade up.
Somewhere after Manning, Flynn and Griffin comes Tannehill.
What about Tannehill as a developmental quarterback behind Manning or Flynn? Again, unlikely, according to Volin.
...the Dolphins need that eighth pick to draft an immediate starter—a pass-rusher, cornerback or right tackle. Signing Manning/Flynn and drafting Tannehill with the eighth pick would not be a wise use of the Dolphins’ resources, as they would be neglecting other important areas of the team.
When the dust has settled, it's possible Tannehill will be the Dolphins' last remaining option—but don't count on it. Manning-to-Miami is very much in play, and Flynn's connections with Philbin are undeniable. A trade up to get Griffin seems about as likely as the Dolphins drafting Tannehill at No. 8 overall.
2012 NFL Mock Draft
1. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
3. Minnesota Vikings – Matt Kalil, OT, USC
4. St. Louis Rams – Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State (via trade with Cleveland Browns)
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
6. Washington Redskins – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
8. Miami Dolphins – Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
9. Carolina Panthers – Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
10. Buffalo Bills – Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
11. Kansas City Chiefs – Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
12. Seattle Seahawks – Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
13. Arizona Cardinals – Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
14. Dallas Cowboys – Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
15. Philadelphia Eagles – Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
16. New York Jets – Nick Perry, OLB, USC
17. Cincinnati Bengals – David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
18. San Diego Chargers – Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
19. Chicago Bears – Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
20. Tennessee Titans – Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
22. St. Louis Rams – Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
23. Detroit Lions – Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
25. Denver Broncos – Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
26. Houston Texans – Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
27. New England Patriots – Mark Barron, S, Alabama
28. Green Bay Packers – Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois
29. Baltimore Ravens – Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
30. San Francisco 49ers – Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
31. New England Patriots – Devon Still, DT, Penn State
32. New York Giants – Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama