2012 NFL Draft: Ryan Tannehill and High-Risk Prospects Who Will Be Top-10 Picks

Bryant KnoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2012

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 24:  Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Texas A&M Aggies throws a pass against the Texas Longhorns in the second half of a game at Kyle Field on November 24, 2011 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)
Darren Carroll/Getty Images

Every NFL Draft features high-risk prospects who are selected in the top 10 based on talent alone.

This year should prove to be no different.

While having talent is a must at the NFL level, there is far more that goes into becoming a great NFL player. Work ethic, a diverse skill set, and the intangibles to help lead a team are highly coveted traits when looking into the future of the NFL Draft's highest picks year after year.

The players on this list are not guaranteed busts by any means. They are, however, high-risk prospects who will be under the radar come next year during their debut NFL seasons.


Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

Ryan Tannehill's draft stock was helped considerably, almost by default, when USC's Matt Barkley and a couple of other players decided to spend another year in college and not leave for the NFL this upcoming season.

Tannehill played well within the system at Texas A&M, but at the next level, a better throwing motion and a more accurate deep-ball are going to become necessary if he wants to find success early in his career.

While the 6'4", 240-pound quarterback has a decent pocket presence already, if a team can get Tannehill a little later in the draft, he could be a player with whom you work regularly to improve his mechanics.

The money he'll receive, though, should he be a top-10 pick, should really be enough to question whether or not he should be taken over some other top-notch prospects so early in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Tannehill, a former wide receiver, often relies on his athleticism too heavily to make plays at the quarterback position. Having played less than two full seasons at quarterback for the Aggies, his transition to a drop-back player could prove to be a rough one at the NFL level.

Ultimately, Tannehill could be Tim Tebow 2.0, minus the hype, pandemonium and jersey sales to justify the selection.


Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

Pass-rushers are highly sought after at the NFL level, and should continue to be considering how pass-happy the league was just a season ago.

Quinton Coples may not be the answer, though, if you have a top-10 draft pick.

The guy certainly has the size and speed you look for in the position but, while he did record 7.5 sacks last season, his best games proved to be against far lesser competition, which should lead some to question whether or not he played to his full potential at North Carolina.

The questionable effort has to be the biggest concern with Coples.

BLACKSBURG, VIRGINIA - NOVEMBER 17:  Quarterback Logan Thomas #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies is tackled by defensive end Quinton Coples #90 of the North Carolina Tar Heels at Lane Stadium on November 17, 2011 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Geoff Burke
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

Having taken downs off throughout his college career, Coples is a player whose reliability has to be questioned on whichever pro squad he ends up playing for next season.

Melvin Ingram, the South Carolina defensive end, will likely be selected soon after Coples because of his small frame.

While size is important—especially on the line—effort is something to look out for as well. Scouts should look carefully at these two players and weigh which flaw is less of a risk on the line.

Talent can surely go to waste in the NFL, and Albert Haynesworth is a perfect example of what can happen when you stop trying.

Maybe it's unfair to make the comparison right now but, if he's not careful, Coples could find himself following in the footsteps of the once touted lineman, instead of his fellow UNC alum, Julius Peppers.


Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Fair or not, Robert Griffin III makes this list because of factors that are completely out of his control.

Andrew Luck may be the quarterback replacing Peyton Manning in Indianapolis, but don't forget that the Washington Redskins were seeking Manning's services this offseason.

After missing out on the 35-year-old quarterback, Griffin now gets to be the player to come in and fill the role that would have been the future Hall of Famer's.

Don't forget, either, that the Redskins practically sold their souls to get the Baylor quarterback. Giving up multiple first-round draft picks, as well as an additional second rounder, the expectations set upon the rookie will be even higher than most No. 2 picks would receive any other year.

How he adapts to a pro-style offense will be interesting to watch, and while his skill set doesn't necessarily warrant too much concern, the expectations placed upon him from day one will make trading for him either highly celebrated or highly scrutinized in Washington.

Remember, this isn't a list of surefire busts in the NFL; it's about high-risk draft picks, and the Redskins are hoping that high risk truly does equal high reward this time around.