Ryan Tannehill (QB, Texas A&M) vs SMU game tape

September 9th, 2011 | Written by Rob Staton

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.

3 Responses to “Ryan Tannehill (QB, Texas A&M) vs SMU game tape”

  1. Hawksfan33 says:

    I think Tannehill is an intriguing prospect. Especially for Seahawk fans, he is intriguing because of his mobility that Pete seems to love in his QB’s. Though I think the A&M coaches have made the gameplan easy for Tannehill, he still has come up with some throws that flash. It will be interesting to watch him develop this year. While I’m not ready to jump on the bandwagon and say he is a top QB in the draft, I will say that he has that potential with a good year and a good Senior Bowl/Combine to vault up draft boards.

    Right now he looks to be a guy that would do really well to develop under a QB in the NFL for a couple years. I don’t think that he is a finished product is what i’m trying to say, but he is definitely someone to follow on a week by week basis this year.

  2. Kip Earlywine says:

    If Ponder can be a 1st rounder, and Dalton/Kaepernick flirt with first round status, I can see Tannehill working his way into the mid-late 1st. There is a lot to like about the kid. My only major issue with him is that his passes don’t have much zip, and that could be an issue at the next level.

    However, that concern is mitigated somewhat by the fact that he just converted from WR, where having strong arms isn’t a big deal. Its possible that an aggressive offseason workout program could yield some results there.

  3. Steve on Cow Bayou says:

    You can’t use the “why wasn’t he starting” question against Tannehill like you would against regular backup QB’s. They usually sit on the bench. Tannehill was a starting Big XII WR. Sherman probably felt that Jerrod Johnson at QB and Tannehill as a 2nd-3rd team all conference WR gave him a better chance to win. Coaches aren’t always right, but Tannehill is a special situation because of his athleticism.