Ryan Tannehill Not Getting Praise He Deserves Around the NFL

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst IAugust 29, 2013

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 17:  Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins warms up during a timeout against the Houston Texans during a preseaon game at Reliant Stadium on August 17, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Ryan Tannehill was the third quarterback taken in the 2012 NFL draft, but he certainly has not gotten treated like that around the league over the past 16 months.

At the time of the draft, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were heralded (correctly) as can't-miss quarterback prospects who would be immediate NFL stars.

But then Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson came along, and together, with Luck and RGIII, they were anointed as the "big four," which was really made official by Sports Illustrated's most recent covers.

The media's fascination with those four quarterbacks is understandable, given their immediate successes and unlimited potential.

But there is another certain quarterback who was drafted eighth overall, took over the reins of his own team immediately, improved that team's record from the previous year and had somewhat favorable statistics compared to the other aforementioned QBs.

Ryan Tannehill has really not caught on in the media yet, even though there are plenty of reasons to like him and be excited for his professional future.

There are plenty of reasons to be interested in him off the field (great leader, interviews well, attractive wife), but I really want to just focus on what he does on the field.

Last season, Tannehill had more passing yards (3,294) than RGIII (3,200) and Wilson (3,118) and threw less interceptions (13) and had a better completion percentage (58.3) than Luck (18, 54.1).

In a historical context, Tannehill had a great season as well.

After his first 11 games, Tannehill had more passing yards (2,275) than former Dolphins great Dan Marino did in his rookie season (2,210), in which he played 11 games.

But that was a long time ago, so we can look at more recent comparisons, like the Manning brothers. Turns out, Tannehill posted a better completion percentage and more yards per attempt than both of the current NFL stars did as rookies. 

However, Tannehill did not have the same team success of his rookie peers, all of whom led their respective squads to the playoffs. And he is not necessarily as good as all of them, because they really are special talents.

But Wilson and Kaepernick were fortunate enough to play on already exceptional teams, and RGIII took advantage of a weak division and benefitted from the surprise of Alfred Morris.

Tannehill's top weapons were Reggie Bush, Brian Hartline and Anthony Fasano, and the depth behind them was atrocious. The offensive line was average at best, and the defense was good but not great.

Now he has a legitimate threat in Mike Wallace and an underrated possession guy in Brandon Gibson to throw to along with Hartline. The offensive line is also improved, and the defense could be one of the five or six best in the league.

In addition to all that, Tannehill has a head coach in Joe Philbin, who is learning alongside with the quarterback, something that only Luck (sort of) had to deal with. 

This upcoming season will only be Philbin's second as an NFL head coach, meaning it will be just his second training camp and preseason as well, so that should only help the development of Tannehill and the entire team around him.

There are a lot of positive things happening in Miami. The Dolphins are finally putting good pieces around a talented young quarterback and giving him a real opportunity for success.

After a great preseason, that success is looking more and more promising.

If things go well, everyone else will be forced to take notice.


All stats provided by Pro-Football-Reference