Last night, the Miami Dolphins took a step we’ve been waiting 29 years for. Last night, the Dolphins selected a quarterback in the first round of the draft for the first time since 1983 when they drafted Dan Marino. The Dolphins clearly believe that Ryan Tannehill has all of the tools to be a franchise quarterback. I’ve never seen Jeff Ireland as giddy as he was last night after drafting Tannehill, whom Ireland said is rated as one of the top 5 QBs to come out of the draft in the last 5 years.
Ireland made no promises on when Tannehill will play. However, he did say that he didn’t use the #8 pick on Tannehill to be a backup quarterback. For Ireland’s full comments on Tannehill last night, check out the Miami Herald’s article here. Ireland said that he and the Dolphins scouts have had their eye on Tannehill for some time. In fact, they even had a first round grade on Tannehill during his junior season of 2010. So, in the Dolphins minds, picking Tannehill at #8 was certainly not a reach.
Even though I’ve made no secret that Brandon Weeden was my preferred choice at QB, I like the Tannehill pick quite a bit. Tannehill fits the west coast offense because he is accurate with the football, can throw on the run, is athletic, and has an above average arm. The Dolphins knew more about Tannehill than any other NFL team, thanks to Mike Sherman, Tannehill’s head coach at Texas A&M. The fact that the Dolphins’ offense will be very similar to the one that Tannehill ran in college will help accelerate his learning curve. For Tannehill, he could not come into a better situation than he is coming to in Miami.
The key will be for all of us to have patience. When the Dolphins drafted John Beck a few years ago, we all screamed for him to start over Cleo Lemon. How’d that work out? Whenever a young, promising QB is drafted, he is immediately thought to be the savior of the franchise. But, Tannehill only played 19 games at QB in college. He is still growing and learning the position. Now he’s moving into the NFL where everything moves faster and defenses are more complicated. The Dolphins must be patient with him and allow him to develop before throwing him to the wolves. The Dolphins currently have David Garrard and Matt Moore to go along with Tannehill at the QB position. I expect Tannehill to battle with Garrard and Moore in training camp, but can see the Dolphins going with Moore as their starter, Garrard as the backup, and Tannehill as the 3rd QB….at least for the early part of the season. If he can play at some point in 2012, great, as long as he’s ready. If not, patience will be vital to ensuring he develops and realizes the potential the Dolphins see in him.
If you would like to get to know Tannehill a little bit more, check out the Jon Gruden’s QB camp on him: