Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

2012 NFL Draft: The Buffalo Bills Should Avoid Ryan Tannehill Like the Plague

Suddenly, I’m very concerned.

Bills GM Buddy Nix is having the offseason of a lifetime thanks to some dynamite free agent signings and excellent personnel decisions. If he adds a solid draft in two weeks, he could have set the Bills up for a long-awaited playoff run.

But with one move in this draft, Nix can undo a lot of the good he’s done this offseason.

That move? Taking Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill with Buffalo’s first pick. That would be a complete disaster on multiple levels.Scarily, the Bills are going to bring Tannehill in for a pre-draft visit shortly. And I’m now officially nervous.

Why am I so scared?

1) Tannehill is NOT worth a top-10 pick

Look, I get why Tannehill is flying up draft boards. He’s got good size, great athleticism, a pretty nice arm, and he’s going to work hard. He’s got all the physical tools. And Tannehill does some other nice things too – he can throw on the move and he’s tough as hell. There’s a lot to like about the guy. He’s certainly worth a second-round pick – for a different team (more on that later).

But as a top-10 pick? You’ve got to be kidding me. He’s got a ton of drawbacks for me. For one thing, he’s AT LEAST a year from really being even close to ready to play. He spent the first half of his college career as a wide receiver, and to say he’s a bit rough around the edges is an understatement.

My biggest concern with Tannehill? He’s a turnover machine. Tannehill ran a very simple mostly-shotgun offense at Texas A&M and played against the defensively-challenged Big 12, and he still couldn’t hold onto the ball. Take away performances where he lit up the terrible defenses of Baylor and Kansas and Tannehill’s totals in 2011 were 20 touchdowns against a whopping 14 interceptions.

Tannehill’s decision-making is pretty brutal at this point. He forces throws down the middle and doesn’t do a good job looking off safeties. If you put him out in an NFL game right now he’d throw four picks a game. He also has very small hands (I’m impressed he was such a good WR with those). He’s going to fumble a lot. You can not turn the ball over in the NFL and succeed, and he’s a disaster waiting to happen at this point.

Also concerning is that against defenses with any talent at all in college he absolutely shrank from the occasion. The only decent defenses in the Big 12 were Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Texas. Tannehill threw three interceptions against each. He was especially dreadful against Texas in their big Thanksgiving matchup. I’m not sure how anyone who watched that game came away wanting to draft Tannehill in the first round. Texas was NOT a great team, and Tannehill laid a complete egg in the biggest game of the year. That scares the hell out of me.

2) The Bills need a contributor with the #10 pick

Believe it or not, the Bills are on the cusp on being playoff contenders. But this still isn’t exactly a roster brimming with elite talent. A team like the Bills have so few chances to add elite talent – they either have to way overpay for it (Mario Williams) or draft it.

Talent wins in the NFL. If you have the best players, you’re probably going to win. The Bills simply can’t afford to waste a top-10 pick on a project player. And Tannehill is at best a project at this point.

3) The Bills don’t need a quarterback

Is Ryan Fitzpatrick an elite QB? No. Is he good enough to make a playoff run? Absolutely. Put enough good players around him, and I’m convinced you can go to a Super Bowl with Fitz. He deserves another year as the unquestioned man in Buffalo. If he crashes and burns this year, there will be more QB prospect next year. Why tick off your team leader (and probably most of the locker room) by creating an unnecessary QB project?

So yeah, I want no part of Tannehill. If he’s leading the Dolphins to wins over the Bills in a few years, I’ll eat crow, but I just don’t see the appeal as a top-10 pick.



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