2012 NFL Draft: Grading the Miami Dolphins' First Round

Thomas GaliciaFeatured Columnist IVApril 26, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26:  Ryan Tannehill from Texas A&M holds up a jersey as he stands on stage after he was selected #8 overall by the Miami Dolphins in the first round of during the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins surprised absolutely no one on Thursday evening by choosing Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill with the eighth pick.

Tannehill was widely considered to be the third best quarterback in this year's draft class behind Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. He at times has shown very good accuracy in the short passing game, which is essential to the West Coast Offense being instilled by new head coach Joe Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman—who coached Tannehill at Texas A&M.

Tannehill started 13 games last season at Texas A&M where he threw for 3,774 yards, 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions with a completion percentage of 61.6 percent.

For his career, Tannehill threw for 5,450 yards along with 42 touchdowns and 21 interceptions with a completion percentage of 62.5 percent. His career passer rating in college was 134.2.

However, when you adjust that to the NFL passer rating, it clocks in at 90.3. He finished his Texas A&M career with a record of 13-7, which includes key wins against Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska in 2010 followed by a convincing 55-28 victory against Baylor in 2011.

Tannehill has the tools to become a successful West Coast quarterback and has shown improvement in his last two years at Texas A&M under Sherman. However, I can't give this pick a high draft grade because Miami reached too high by staying at eight and choosing him. 

On the board when Miami chose Tannehill was wide receiver Michael Floyd (who wound up being drafted by Arizona). Floyd could have been the receiver Miami needed to replace Brandon Marshall, who was traded to Chicago in March.

Compounding this reach is the fact that there's really not too big of a drop off between Tannehill and Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden or Michigan State's Kirk Cousins—two quarterbacks that would've been available in the second and third rounds. Tannehill will likely sit on the bench for his first year in Miami, meaning he won't provide an immediate impact. For first round picks, it is imperative that they do just that.

Echoing this sentiment is former Chicago Bears scout Greg Gabriel, who said this about Tannehill while comparing him to one of his fourth-round picks while with the Bears, Kyle Orton:

Based on the way they've taken quarterbacks in the last couple years, Kyle Orton would've been a first-round pick. Guys like Orton and Tannehill, they're more developmental players, and I don't agree with taking a developmental quarterback in the first round.

I don't see these guys having the production, the winning production, to justify being first-round picks.

It was the Dolphins' perceived need at quarterback that forced them to reach for this pick. Had USC's Matt Barkley and Oklahoma's Landry Jones entered into this year's draft, Tannehill would have likely gone in the second round or even later, well behind Matt Barkley at the very least.

This would have been a fine pick for Miami had they been able to trade down later into the first round (while picking up an additional third rounder) or had he slipped all the way down to round two. At number eight, Tannehill is a reach.