2012 NFL Draft: Don't Believe Ryan Tannehill Hype at No. 3

Josh Martin@@JoshMartinNBANBA Lead WriterApril 13, 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

First the Indianapolis Colts essentially locked themselves into taking Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL draft by parting ways with Peyton Manning.

Then the Washington Redskins shipped a boatload of picks to the St. Louis Rams for the opportunity to take Robert Griffin III at No. 2.

Now the chatter around the league has turned to the Minnesota Vikings at No. 3 and whether another team (i.e. the Miami Dolphins and/or the Kansas City Chiefs) would, or even should, pursue a blockbuster trade to keep Ryan Tannehill out of the hands of the Cleveland Browns.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay (aka The Mad Tweeter) was among the most prominent football figures to stoke the discussion of the Texas A&M product moving so swiftly up the big board.

Tannehill is a hidden gem in this draft,a quiet secret who was always sneaking up to #3..you want him,you better talk to Zigi The Biggie!

— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) April 11, 2012

All three of the teams in question—the Browns, the Dolphins and the Chiefs—have made it clear that they're looking to upgrade under center. Cleveland went hard after St. Louis' pick before Washington stole the show, while Miami and KC both entered themselves into the Peyton Manning sweepstakes to no avail.

The question is, with so many other talented prospects up for grabs, is Tannehill really worth a top-four pick? Former Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick doesn't seem to think so, at least if his comments about Tannehill on ESPN's Mike & Mike in the Morning are any indication:

Wow...@CoachBillick on our show: Ryan Tannehill reminds me of JaMarcus Russell. Both shot up draft boards based on how they looked in shorts

— Mike & Mike (@MikeAndMike) April 12, 2012

The tweet, however, is somewhat misleading. Here's what Billick had to say in greater detail:

This has a classic miss on it and it has nothing to do with Ryan Tannehill. He is an intriguing prospect. He has great potential. He reminds me—and I don't mean to put this in a negative connotation—a little of JaMarcus Russell, in terms of obviously [he has] tremendous physical skills and could blossom into something. But in terms of the amount of time he's played and the numbers are very similar. The way he's rushed up the charts concerns me a great deal. Need is a terrible evaluator.

Indeed, need is no reason to overrate a prospect's value. Billick is not suggesting that Tannehill is a surefire bust like Russell turned out to be, but rather that the circumstances of their meteoric rises up the draft charts are remarkably similar. Like Russell's stock, Tannehill's has soared simply because the demand for quality quarterbacking has far outstripped the supply.

Of course, the 2007 draft was unusually bad for signal-callers, especially since Brady Quinn was the second one off the board.

In any case, all three of Tannehill's most likely suitors have too many other holes to fill to blindly put the pursuit of a quarterback above all else. If Tannehill drops into their laps at fourth (Browns), eighth (Dolphins) or 11th (Chiefs), then so be it.

But sell the farm to the Vikes for a guy who's a late first-round talent, at best? That's a bit much, particularly with the likes of Matt Barkley and Landry Jones set to enter the draft in 2013.