It's official: Ryan Tannehill is the first rookie in Miami Dolphins history to be named as the team's starting quarterback.
After the Dolphins took Tannehill with the eighth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, it was inevitable that the former Texas A&M star would be starting behind center in Miami, but it was far from certain that he'd supplant Matt Moore as a rookie.
Now that he has done just that, the question is what can we expect from the first-ever rookie starting quarterback in franchise history?
If recent history is any indication, he may be in for a bumpy ride in the early going.
In the past three seasons, there have been a total of nine rookies who have been handed the keys to an NFL offense. And as one might assume, in many cases, the results weren't pretty.
Of the nine rookies who've been tabbed as starters since 2009, only Mark Sanchez and Andy Dalton have lead their respective teams to postseason berths.
In addition, among those nine quarterbacks, only Dalton, Cam Newton and Sam Bradford have thrown for more than 3,000 yards (a mark Tannehill reached just once during his college career) in their rookie seasons—indicating that the learning curve for rookie play-callers can be quite steep.
With that being said, Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin must see something special in Tannehill, as the decision to replace Moore as the team's starter couldn't have been easy—especially after Moore's 16-touchdown, nine-interception performance in 2011.
For their part, the Dolphins (per the Washington Post) sound supportive of Philbin's decision, and they expect Tannehill to do well.
Regardless of what his teammates say, Tannehill will likely be fighting an uphill battle during the 2012 season, and we shouldn't expect a 24-year-old rookie to end Miami's three-year postseason drought.
Tannehill has the tools to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but the Hard Knocks star will likely have to endure through a difficult first season before he even begins to reach his potential with the Dolphins.
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