Essentially, there aren’t enough elite quarterbacks to go around. But that doesn’t mean a team won’t take a shot in the dark, hoping that a quarterback prospect blossoms into a Pro Bowler.
The beneficiary this April likely will be former Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who’s starting to rocket up draft boards.
Charley Casserly, a CBS Sports analyst and former general manager, recently joined The Finsiders and gave an in-depth analysis of Tannehill.
“He can fit the ball into tight spots, so you’ve got the arm strength,” Casserly said. “You’ve got the athletic ability; he can make plays outside the pocket. You see his ability to go from No. 1 to No. 2, which a lot of quarterbacks can’t do. So you see his ability to read the whole field.”
Due in part to his relative inexperience, it is hard to project how successful Tannehill will be in the NFL. Casserley sees him as a potential project because of a tendency to hold onto the ball too long and a lack of accuracy.
“I wouldn’t want to play him on opening day,” Casserly said. “There’s a learning curve, and this guy’s only got a year-and-a-half of playing time on it.”
During the evaluation process, Casserly checked in with a dozen NFL teams to gauge their interest in Tannehill. The consensus he received was that the former Aggies quarterback graded out as a second-round pick. Judging by the underwhelming records of recent second-round quarterbacks, selecting Tannehill could be quite risky.
Casserly cautions, though, that external factors–overwhelming demand for a quarterback–has affected where players have been selected recently, mentioning Chad Henne, Tavaris Jackson and a handful of others who have had moderate to little success.
“Those second rounders were third and fourth rounders that got driven up, because the second rounders got driven up to the first round,” said Casserly, who was an executive for the Washington Redskins and Houston Texans.
Since there is such a premium on quarterback, recent prospects have had their draft status inflated. Casserly sees the same thing happening to Tannehill, but that wouldn’t stop him from taking him in the first round, comparing him favorably to recent first-round picks like Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman.
“When I start putting reality into where guys get drafted, he stacks up pretty well,” Casserly said. “Basically, at eight, is he a reach? Yes. Do you do it? Yes. Because what’s your alternate?”
After the two sure things–Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III–Tannehill is considered the next best option at quarterback. Though he may not give him a first-round grade, Casserley feels like Tannehill warrants a serious look from the Dolphins because his selection could be a perception buster.
“At least, to me, you’ve got hope right now,” Casserly said. “And if I didn’t like the guy, I wouldn’t say you’ve got hope.”
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
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