2012 NFL Draft: Ryan Tannehill and Other College Studs Who Will Become NFL Duds

Kyle RamosCorrespondent IApril 23, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  Quarterback Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Texas A&M Aggies throws against the LSU Tigers during the AT&T Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium on January 7, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

All of the focus on this year's draft has been on the two top QBs in Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III who are being projected to be bona fide superstars in the NFL.

Both of them had great college careers full of accolades and victories.  However, there are some other college stars in this year's draft class who may not make the transition into the NFL quite as smoothly as Luck and Griffin.

Let's take a look at some players who may be wishing they were still in college when they reach the NFL.


Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

Widely considered as the third-best QB in a draft with several quarterback-hungry teams, Tannehill is likely to land in a high spot in the first round.  He compiled a great season last year at Texas A&M with 3,744 yards to go with 29 touchdowns.  His big arm has brought him a lot of attention from teams looking for a QB, but he may not be their answer.

Tannehill certainly has the physical aspects needed to be a pro quarterback, but he lacks some crucial characteristics that make up a good NFL QB.

The most glaring of these issues is his lack of ability to fool defenses using his eyes.  Often times, Tannehill would stare down a single receiver instead of going through his reads and finding the open man.  This led to his 15 interceptions last year, which were a blemish on an otherwise solid season.

This could be attributed to Tannehill not playing quarterback during every season of his college career. He missed out on the starting job in his sophomore year and was moved to receiver.  This time he missed developing quarterback instincts could prove to be costly when he is drafted to play against the unforgiving defenses in the NFL.


Quinton Coples, DE, University of North Carolina

Much like Tannehill, no one is arguing against the physical attributes of Coples who has demonstrated his size and strength in his time as a Tar Heel. 

Coples has decent explosiveness for a pass-rushing defensive end, and he has torn up offensive lines in college.  However, the NFL will be a much different place for Coples who may find it hard to get through offensive lines that are pushing him back much harder than he's used to.

His flaws are limited, but could be expanded and exploited as a pro.  While he does have explosiveness to get through the line, when he gets engaged with a blocker, he isn't too apt at disengaging and pursuing the ball.  Coples tends not use his hands as much as he should to free himself up, and therefore is often late to get to a tackle or too late to sack the quarterback.

This is a crucial part of a defensive end's game, and Coples will have to develop in this area if he hopes to find success in the NFL.

STANFORD, CA - NOVEMBER 26:  Coby Fleener #82 of the Stanford Cardinal drags Robert Blanton #12 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in to the endzone to score a touchdown at Stanford Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Stanford, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images


Rueben Randle, WR, LSU

Randle's "studliness" could be questioned, but he was certainly a great receiver in college for the national champion runners-up LSU Tigers.

He gained 917 yards on 53 catches, which is still a very solid year and good enough for first-round consideration.  Being the top receiver on the top team has given him credit to be a solid receiver in the NFL.  However, his college years may distort his ability to compete on the next level.

Randle does have good size (6'4", 208 lbs), but he sometimes uses that size too much and makes catches harder than they have to be.  His hands aren't as good as they can be for a wideout, and he uses his athleticism as a crutch to make catches when his hands let him down.

He is expected to go in the first round, but buyer beware for this big wide receiver who may not live up to first-round expectations.


Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford

Fleener is touted as the best tight end in this draft class and was one of the top tight ends in college football last season.

He caught 34 passes for 667 yards and 10 touchdowns which are very impressive marks for a college tight end.  However, his numbers may be deceiving.

What his numbers don't show is his inconsistent blocking ability which is critical for a tight end in the NFL.  Additionally, his stats have the benefit of being accumulated thanks to quarterback Andrew Luck, who will almost certainly be the first pick of the draft.

Fleener could be another pass-catching-first tight end in the NFL, but his blocking inadequacies could eventually catch up with him as he faces the elite talent in the pros.