2012 NFL Draft: Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Tannehill: Same Story, Different Names

Zak RussoContributor IApril 19, 2012

HOUSTON - DECEMBER 31:  Quarterback Ryan Tannehill #17 of Texas A&M Aggies rolls out looking for a receiver against Northwestern Wildcats at Reliant Stadium on December 31, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Let me tell you a story. This is the tale of a quarterback. This quarterback played for a Big 12 team that is moving to the SEC. This quarterback's team had high expectations going into the season but failed to meet those expectations. The team turned in an above-average season that was nothing to write home about, and they played in a minor bowl.

The regular season ended, and the quarterback declared for the draft. Not too many people noticed when he first declared, as there were much more dynamic prospects out there, including a black QB who tore up the NCAA in a single-season carpet-bombing that culminated in a Heisman trophy. However, NFL teams were desperate for a quarterback after years of underwhelming performances, and so this quarterback's stock went up and up.

Scouts raved about potential and intangibles, and this quarterback's stock climbed higher. When draft day finally came, the quarterback was taken in the top of the first round by a team from Florida that was desperate for a change under center. The quarterback started for most of the season but was clearly not ready and struggled mightily, and the team turned in another underwhelming season.

The Big 12 school going to the SEC was Missouri, the black Heisman trophy-winning QB was Cam Newton, the NFL team from Florida was the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the prospect was Blaine Gabbert.

Fast forward one year, and the Big 12 school going to the SEC is Texas A&M, the black Heisman trophy-winning QB is Robert Griffin III, the desperate team from Florida is the Miami Dolphins, and the most overrated prospect in the draft is Ryan Tannehill.

Like Gabbert before him, Tannehill is talented but not NFL-ready. Also like Gabbert, his stock has been artificially inflated by NFL demand for quarterbacks.

The NFL has entered a new age of spread offenses and 4,000 passing yard seasons. In this new world, the franchise quarterback has turned from an important piece of a bigger machine into the centerpiece of the entire team. As a result, more quarterbacks are being taken earlier in the draft, and more talented—but not NFL-ready—QBs are having their stocks inflated by a combination of need and the Kipers/McShays of the world.

Miami is in a bad situation. Peyton Manning spurned them, despite owning property in the area. Matt Flynn, who many—including this author—saw as a lock to join his offensive coordinator in South Beach, is now a Seattle Seahawk. David Garrard probably has nothing left in the tank, and Kyle Orton is...Kyle Orton.

Matt Moore has potential and NFL experience, and Miami should try instead to put pieces around him in the draft. If Miami—or Cleveland for that matter—draft Tannehill in the first round, then they mean to start him on day one. Andrew Luck is going to do better than the Colts' Cavalcade of Crappy Quarterbacks, and RG3 is most certainly a step up from Rex Grossman.

But is Ryan Tannehill really going to do better than Moore or Colt McCoy, especially when he has the same weapons or lack thereof? That is doubtful, at best.

Same story, same problems, but different names. Some teams never learn.