One of the fastest rising prospects in this year's draft class is Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was not on many people's first-round list not too long ago.
However, since the end of the college football and NFL season, many have been watching film on the prospect and have come away impressed. Now, many believe he can be a franchise quarterback and top-10 material.
Is Tannehill truly worthy of a top-10 pick?
Tannehill did not take part in drills at the NFL Combine, but he did get measured and weigh in. The measurements came out to be roughly 6'4" and 221 pounds, both of which are quality for the position.
A quarterback's mechanics are very important because they have a significant impact on the delivery of the pass. But mechanics, namely delivery, come in many different ways. Examples include over the top release as well as a side-arm release.
In Tannehill's case, he tends to drop his elbow below his shoulder when throwing the ball and does not completely follow through with his arm on passes. He will sometimes come up short on his follow through with his arm because he hooks it, which leads to deep passes coming up short despite him having the velocity to throw them.
Footwork and Accuracy
In last week's scouting report on Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler, I tied in footwork and accuracy, and that's the case here again with A&M's Tannehill.
While Osweiler had issues with locking his front leg, Tannehill's issue is with hip rotation, an easier thing to fix with coaching. He doesn't rotate his hips when delivering the ball consistently. Consequently, his passes are not always accurate. This is noticeable on his intermediate and deep passes when he's not taking a three-step drop and quickly getting rid of it.
Tannehill's strength is his pocket presence. He has shown on numerous occasions that he can maneuver in the pocket and avoid pressure by taking simple side-steps as well as getting up in the interior of the pocket.
Moreover, touch is a requisite in quarterbacking at the professional level. Tannehill has showed on occasions that he can throw a touch pass but, I'd like to see more of him doing it.
An instance of Tannehill showing touch on his pass came against SMU, when he threw a pass in between several defenders to his receiver in the seam. This pass came in the middle of the field, where you often will see these types of passes.
Arm strength is sometimes said to be an overrated aspect of a quarterback's game—and it is, in comparison to the other aspects—but it's still important because it gives the offense more schematic flexibility and changes the way defenses play the offense.
Tannehill has the arm strength—and most importantly, velocity—to deliver all passes that are required at the NFL level. These passes include but are not limited to post, deep comeback, deep out, dig and go route.
Mobility and Throwing On the Run
With the way defenses are playing quarterbacks in today's NFL, mobility in a quarterback is very important because of the chaotic blitzes that defenses are coming up with, as well as because of how much man coverage is being played. It enables the quarterback to escape the pocket and pick up yards on his own.
Tannehill has the mobility to move the pocket and pick up yards with his feet. At Texas A&M, he ran the ball off of a zone read option that featured him sticking the ball in the ball carrier's belly, reading the back-side defensive end and deciding whether he was going to hand the ball off or pluck it back out and run.
Furthermore, Tannehill exhibits the ability to throw while on the move. He does it well and shows that he can go through his reads while doing so, but he needs to clean up this aspect of his game too. He needs to square his hips when throwing and has a tendency to throw off the wrong foot, which is a bit odd.
Texas A&M's offensive scheme was led by head coach Mike Sherman, and it had a lot of West Coast Offense principles. The offense had a significant amount of three- and five-step drops that required passes on timing and full-fledged reads.
Tannehill operated it well, even though at times he had issues with it in decision making and going through his reads too fast that led him to finding the check-down option more often than he should have.
Many have called Tannehill a first-round pick since the conclusion of the college football and NFL seasons, but there are questions in his game that do not shout first-round value to me. I believe he should sit and learn the game while improving his fundamentals.
His value, to me, is second round as I am not comfortable with him as a top-10 pick, nor am I comfortable in labeling him a potential franchise quarterback.