Once again a lot of credit must go to JMPasq for his efforts in putting together the tape you see above. Fantastic effort as usual, kudos.
This turned out to be a relatively comfortable victory for Texas A&M and quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but there were two things that stood out. Firstly, SMU’s secondary played a terrible game which to a degree really helped Tannehill find open receivers regularly and make passes you would usually expect to be defended with a lot more authority. Secondly, in spite of this when he was asked to make a pass into a small window – Tannehill was able to get the job done. His accuracy at times was very impressive and although he hasn’t got the strongest arm certainly there’s a level of accuracy which is worth noting.
A performance like this makes me want to consider Tannehill as potentially the third best draft eligible QB eligible behind Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley. All he’s done since taking the job and switching from receiever last season is win games and put up good numbers. He’s mobile, he has an ability to extend plays and looks comfortable out of the pocket. He hasn’t got a great arm and he still needs polish to become a more technical passer – but you’d expect to see that simply with more time under center. The mobility and accuracy cancels out (to a certain degree) a lack of elite physical qualities and game experience.
There are several quarterback prospects – Tannehill, Landry Jones, Kirk Cousins and Austin Davis – who could easily be that #3 ranked quarterback. There are others such as Robert Griffin III who may well make a charge if they follow up impressive week one performances. I’d struggle to justify taking any in round one and maybe even two at this stage, but Tannehill could be heading the group right now. For those who are still buying the Landry Jones hype-fest, it’s worth pointing out that Tannehill defeated Jones and Oklahoma last season in only his third game as a starting quarterback. The much more experienced Jones threw 59 times for an average of just 4.9 yards per attempt on the day.
In the case of Tannehill one thing still bugs me slightly. Why wasn’t he starting previously? Jerrod Johnson had some success as the Aggies quarterback but fell apart in his senior year allowing Tannehill the opportunity to start. Yet we’re still talking about a guy in Johnson who was never truly considered a legitimate NFL prospect and ultimately went undrafted to Philadelphia before being waived on August 13th. What does it say about A&M if having persisted with Johnson (who originally beat out Tannehill for the QB gig) they had a high draft pick at the most important position out playing wide receiver instead?
It’s not a strong enough argument to mark Tannehill down, but it’s a question that will linger unless he continues what has been an unprecedented start to his quarterback career in a far from ideal situation.