Editor’s Note: As we get ready for the 2012 NFL Draft, we’ll be “meeting” some players who just might find their way to Buffalo come April. In this series we’ll take a look at possible Bills draft picks and break down their abilities and potential.
Overview: This dual-threat QB had a strange college career, but his undeniable talent and tantalizing upside have pushed him way up draft boards. Is he worth the risk of a first-round pick?
Strengths: Really athletic – was moved to WR for his first two seasons and led the team in receptions. Showed a great attitude by his willingness to switch positions. When A&M QB Jerrod Johnson struggled in 2010, Tannehill moved back to QB and led the team to six straight wins. Good measurables – big (6’3) and fast. NFL-level arm strength with the ability to get it downfield on a tight spiral. Surprisingly accurate, especially in the short passing game. Very mobile and does well when the play brakes down. Intelligent and tough. Pretty productive in his only full season as a starter. Not even close to a finished product, so he has a ton of room to grow. Massive upside.
Weaknesses: Just a season-and-a-half as a college QB. A somewhat slight build for a QB with his height – can he stay healthy taking NFL hits?Inconsistent with his footwork – takes some unnecessary steps and throws off his back foot way more than he should. Doesn’t show a lot of comfort in the pocket. Loses his passing mechanics at times, doing goofy sidearm crap like Phillip Rivers does at times. Gets way too many passes batted down at the line for a guy with his height. Stares down receivers. Threw a lot of INTs in college.
How He’d Fit in Buffalo: Chan Gailey would like to work with Tannehill, no doubt. Tannehill’s potential is just so high, and Gailey could design an offense that would play to his strengths. The problem here is that 1) Tannehill’s not ready to start in the NFL and 2) drafting him would tick off Ryan Fitzpatrick and all the Bills players loyal to Fitz. I just don’t see the Bills pulling the trigger. They have too many other needs to waste a top-10 pick on a QB that isn’t ready to start.
The Bottom Line: Tannehill is one of the more unusual prospects to come around a while. It’s going to take a leap of faith to draft him, but he could be a HUGE reward to the team willing to take the risk. If can continue to develop, he’s a star. If not, he’ll never get off the bench. Someone will take a stab at him in the first round.