Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Ryan Tannehill Extravaganza

With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching, Ben and Scott couldn't resist the urge to exchange some emails on the insanity involving Ryan Tannehill being a potential top 5 pick and the "future" of an NFL franchise... Enjoy!

Scott:  Wow, how the trends change!  Everyone got bored with the Andrew Luck party and decided that RG III was more fun to over-hype.  Now RG III's future looks to be set and stone so the NFL-loving world needs a new fad to over-analyze (because bounty talk is boring), which leads us to the ever-so-exciting (especially for Aggies) Ryan Tannehill draft extravaganza!

There is so much to dissect, so much to root for, so much to worry about... I don't even know where to begin.  Now, many people tend to forget that a Texas A&M Aggie was drafted second overall last year, but honestly, I feel like that is perfectly fine, it respresents a completely different scenario (mainly because of the media). Von Miller is a defensive star, everyone predicted he would be, and from the looks of his rookie season, he has many pro bowls in his future.  But he wasn't a polarizing media figure, he was established, understood, and appreciated.  Ryan Tannehill is a quarterback (huge difference, QB's are the face of the league and the most important player on the field), he is not truly established (only one year as a full-time starter), he is not fully understood (every single analyst has a different opinion of where he should be drafted), and he has just recently become appreciated by the masses.

I am nervous, excited, and fearful.  Jim Irsay (Colts owner) says if you want Tannehill you better trade intothe number 3 slot.  THE NUMBER 3 SLOT!!! A QB drafted that high is ALWAYS subject to insane expectations.  Do I think Tannehill should be drafted there?  I have no idea... I will say I always had confidence that he could do the job on the football field, and his athleticism and speed gave him an extra weapon to use... but that was on Saturday afternoon... Sunday afternoon is a whole different game.

Ben! Give me your thoughts, provide me some clarity... I LOVE THE TANNEHILL EXTRAVAGANZA!!!!

Ben:  When I have watched ESPN Sportscenter this week, my head has inevitably started spinning for two reasons: a) the quality of Sportscenter has decreased exponentially over the past few years (which is a conversation for another day) and b) I am seeing highlights involving Ryan Tannehill, and they don't involve him throwing an interception to OU or LSU.

At NO POINT in the last two years did I think I was watching a bona fide NFL starter-caliber quarterback at Texas A&M. Honestly, I still believe Tannehill has more value to an NFL team as a wide receiver rather than quarterback.

Tannehill is a wonderful athlete. He is smart. He says the right things. He seems to get it. Don't get me wrong, those are all great qualities to have, and every team wants their starting QB to possess these traits.

The red flag that I can't believe is being overlooked right now is the fact that A&M's complete bust in 2011 was directly related to Ryan Tannehill. He did not perform at a high enough level to win games in 2011. The ability to win games is the quality that I want most in a QB if I am an NFL General Manager, and I flat out do not believe Ryan Tannehill has the ability to win games.

I know people let him off the hook because of "inexperience" or "lack of playing time at QB" etc. But I don't buy that. Cam Newton (I will admit this is a stretch because Newton is a generational talent) had never started a game before leading the Auburn Tigers to an undefeated national championship season IN THE SEC WEST. By the same token, Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy as a true sophomore and also led his Florida Gators to a national title. So don't give me this BS about Tannehill not having enough experience to win games and perform at a high level. The Big 12 was ripe for the taking in 2011, and Tannehill (and the offense) faltered nearly every game after halftime, when the opposing defense began to make adjustments. Tannehill basically failed to adapt, and which is absolutely CRITICAL in the NFL.

I understand the NFL is a quarterback-driven league these days, which is why we see spares like Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, and whoever the heck the Vikings drafted last year get taken in the first round. Tannehill will get taken early next weekend, which is unfortunate. I don't think the hype and pressure is fair to him. If the draft was all about taking the best player available, regardless of position, I doubt Tannehill gets taken in the first two rounds.

I really hope this works out for Tannehill. Call me a doubter, hater, whatever, but I have yet to convinced he will be a successful starting QB in the NFL.

Convince me Scott. Convince me hard.

Scott:  Wow, I honestly did not expect you to be so anti-Tannehill during this extravaganza.  As far as contradicting your intense opinion... well I don't believe I will have the ammunition to do such things.  

You bring very legitimate concerns to the table.  Some could be countered with the idea that, a willing, cerebral, hard-working (pretty much everything JaMarcus Russell didn't have) QB with Tannehill's physical skill sets can be molded into a winning QB by an NFL coaching staff.  But as we find out every year, NFL coaching doesn't always work miracles, players still fall on their faces when surrounded by the right resources.

Let's go in a different direction.  Now assume Tannehill is as mediocre as you say he is... then why in the world do NFL scouts think he may go number three in the draft.  NUMBER THREE IN THE DRAFT!!!! Do the scouts (and every other source) know something we do not?  I mean we have truly watched Tannehill every step of the way.  I rooted for Jerrod's benching, watched Tannehill lead us to some improbable, exciting victories, and then endured the insane roller coaster that was last year.

We can't fully understand the extravaganza without acknowledging the overall importance of QB #1 (in a general sense) to any football team.  They are the field general and unless you plan on trotting out the Doomsday Defense, you better have yourself a pretty solid one.  Quarterbacks drafted in the top 5 are put under a microscope like nothing else. Offensive tackle Matt Kalil (a sure-fire top 5 pick this year), will be plugged into a team and likely perform at an All-Pro level for the next decade, but the common fan won't ever hear about him again.  The NFL is the most popular sport in America and therefore the quarterback is the most popular position in all of sports.  That is exactly what makes this so exciting!

I like Tannehill (unlike our previous QB's), I always have, and you can bet I will be rooting for him like no Aggie before him.

Go ahead and be negative Mr. Berryman

Ben:  Upon further review, my initial response may have been a little harsh.

Great point on the talent evaluators. They are the ones that get paid the big bucks to do this, so I trust they are better at scouting than me (although Dallas Cowboys fans may disagree - kill me). Surely, surely they know something the fans don't.

Tannehill IS talented. I'm not saying he isn't. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him bust big run after big run, efficiently get Ryan Swope the ball, and throw an occasional long jump ball to Fuller. I liked watching him play, I just never thought he was a first rounder much less top 5.

What I find hilarious in this whole process is the fact that Tannehill had a largely underwhelming career relative to UT's Colt McCoy, yet Tannehill will be a top draft pick and McCoy got taken in the third round, by Cleveland. How delicious would it be if the Browns replace McCoy with Tannehill???

Scott:  I hadn't even thought about the Tannehill replacing Colt McCoy story line. I actually thought Colt was going to have a relatively solid NFL career.  He was a winner and I thought that would carry over (see Timothy Richard Tebow, but with a better arm and less girth).  Don't feel like the world would take notice of that story line though (except for a bunch of people on Texags).

My biggest hope is that Tannehill gets in a good situation.  I want him to succeed.  Big time.  He is undoubtedly a project for whatever NFL team that drafts him and maybe that is a good thing.  While you did call into question his ability to adapt on the field (a fair question), it seems like everyone vouches for his intelligence and work ethic.  Being a QB at the NFL is just as much mental as it is physical.  Do you know the playbook inside and out, can you adapt on the field, does your coach trust you, do your teammates trust, do you inspire your teammates?  These are all important questions when determining the ultimate effectiveness of a QB.

This extravaganza is also huge for Texas A&M.  Von Miller helps our reputation, but the current media obsession with Tannehill will only give A&M some good publicity.  The common fan will see what happened early in the draft and say to themselves, "wow, I didn't know A&M had such a good QB."  Those are the subtle things that a make a big difference for a school.

Do you hope he gets picked by the Browns?  I am honestly leaning towards the Dolphins (less immediate pressure), that way he can reunite with Sherman.  So many possibilities...

Ben:  I hope Miami gets him. That would be a great situation for him (as long as he liked Sherman).

Speaking of the Draft, I am thinking about going to the Thursday night event. Should I wear Cowboys gear? Aggie gear? Maybe a little bit of both?

Will Tannehill get booed when someone in the top 10 picks him?

So many questions, and so few answers. We will know next week. I can't wait.

1 comment:

  1. Whoa whoa! Don't forget that Cam Newton won a National Championships at Blinn before transferring to Auburn. It's not like Cam was sitting on the bench for three years. He was a starting quarterback all his years of college ball.