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The Career Arc of Ryan Tannehill From Receiver at Texas A&M to Potential Top 5 Draft Pick

Ryan Tannehill’s smart. If this football thing doesn’t work out, he’d like to be an orthopedic surgeon. He’s got an attractive fiancee. He’s versatile – he came to Texas A&M as a QB (not the most high-profile recruit), then was moved to WR (where he dominated) and then he went back to QB and thrived. He’s a swell story. That being said … the discussion of Tannehill suddenly being a Top 5 draft pick … seems like a bit of a reach. The ongoing NFL quest to find a franchise QB NOW seems to be leading teams to make irrational decisions. We did this exercise with Blaine Gabbert last year. With that in mind, we went through Nexis and did a thorough search of Tannehill over the last two years, covering his rise from college receiver to Top 5 pick.

August 22, 2010, Abilene Reporter-News

Ryan Tannehill came to Texas A&M as a quarterback but he has been the Aggies’ leading receiver the past two seasons …

However, because Tannehill is such an excellent student – he is a two-time first-team Academic All-Big 12 selection, the Big Spring product will have a decision to make after this football season. A biology major with an eye on becoming an orthopedic surgeon, Tannehill is on schedule to graduate in May. Thus, if Tannehill wants to return for his senior season, he will have to enroll in graduate school.

Sherman, however, recognized Tannehill’s versatility. During his freshman year, Tannehill was the No. 3 quarterback behind Stephen McGee and Johnson. He quickly became a go-to receiver, leading the team and setting a Texas A&M record for freshmen by catching 55 passes for 844 yards and five touchdowns

October 26, 2010, Star Telegram

Both Tannehill and Johnson played well in the Aggies’ 45-10 win at Kansas. Johnson became the school’s all-time leader in total offense, but it wouldn’t be difficult to say that Tannehill was as good, if not better, against a bad Jayhawks team. He completed 12 of 16 passes for 155 yards with three touchdowns. He also ran for a score.

“I was pretty fired up after the game,” said Tannehill, whose primary work this season has been at receiver. He is expected to be the starting quarterback next season.

“It’s a different situation,” Tannehill said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a controversy or anything like that.”

October 31, 2010, Chronicle

Ryan Tannehill, earning his first college start at quarterback in place of Jerrod Johnson, responded with a record-setting afternoon in the Aggies’ 45-27 victory over Texas Tech on Saturday at Kyle Field.

“I thank God and coach Sherman for the opportunity to play,” Tannehill said.

Jan. 8, 2011, Dallas Morning News

But the former receiver was making only his sixth career start in Friday night’s AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic against LSU at Cowboys Stadium, his biggest stage yet.

By night’s end, A&M’s Man of the Year had thrown three interceptions against a celebrated SEC defense, matching his season total of picks entering the bowl. The turnovers contributed to the Aggies’ 41-24 loss, Tannehill’s first since replacing Jerrod Johnson.

Oct 2, 2011, Pro Football Weekly

Ryan Tannehill, Texas A & M Ht: 6-4 1/2

Preseason evaluation: Rollout, bootleg, outside-the-pocket passer with a very competitive on-field temperament that noticeably stands out on tape. Must continue honing his footwork and passing instincts. However, internal clock improved down the stretch, he can extend plays with his feet and is loaded with upside to be groomed. Excels at reading high-tolow on bootleg crossers and has good arm strength to fit the ball into tight windows. Touch, timing and anticipation still require refinement and should continue to improve with experience. Is a very smart, mature, focused team player. Physically possesses all the tools to ascend as a senior. A strong supporting cast and pro-style coaching should accelerate his learning curve.

NFL projection: Top-50 pick.

Oct. 18, 2011, Houston Chronicle

On Monday, an NFL.com draft analyst wrote that Tannehill is second only to Stanford’s Andrew Luck among quarterback prospects and has the “athleticism, arm strength and intangibles to be a star.”

Dec. 18, 2011, Chicago Tribune

The 6-foot-4, 222-pound Tannehill played almost exclusively at wide receiver for the first 30 games of his Texas A&M career. But after winning the quarterback job midway through last season and throwing for 3,415 yards this year, some rate him as the fifth-best quarterback in the draft.

Jan. 26, 2012, Miami Herald

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. said only Andrew Luck and Griffin have first-round grades among quarterbacks, though some consider Tannehill a late first-rounder.

Feb 21, 2012 Austin Statesman

And Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill is emerging as the third-best quarterback available behind Luck and Griffin. If there’s an early run on quarterbacks, like there was last April when four were picked in the top 12, Tannehill could hear his name called far earlier than many projected when the season ended.

Feb. 25, 2012, Express News

Tannehill’s inexperience isn’t the only challenge he’ll have to overcome. A few days after starting his pre-combine workouts, he broke a foot, an injury that prevented him from playing for Washington coach Mike Shanahan in the Senior Bowl last month.

“It’s frustrating,” Tannehill said. “I definitely wanted to go to the Senior Bowl and showcase my abilities, as well as get to work with an NFL staff. There are a lot of other great quarterbacks in this draft, and I was looking forward to competing with them.”

Tannehill had a screw inserted into his foot and won’t be able to work out until mid-March, a timeline that should result in him throwing at the Aggies’ pro day March 29. While he’ll have to wait to show off his arm, his chance to show off his mind is at hand.

 

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