• 04/16/2012, 09:41PM ET

Ryan Tannehill- Potential vs. Production vs. front office pink slips

M as in Mancy (0-4-0) vs williewilliejuan (47-5-2)

Who here has bought water (or beer) at a hot ballgame? That feeling where you NEED something overrides common sense and value when you pay $7. Ryan Tannehill is that tasty drink and teams like Cleveland or Miami are projected to be that desperate customer. Draft season!

As Brian Billick says "Need is a terrible evaluator". I LOVE the guy's smarts (future orthopedic surgeon!), character, potential, and toughness. But he's not a top 10 pick. Strong overall numbers but examine 2010/11 games against top competition: Arkansas, LSU, OU, Ok St, Texas. 11:15 TD:INT ratio. 19 QB starts isn???t enough game tape to validate his draft stock. QBs without enough college experience typically are NFL late bloomers, if they bloom at all. Is he THAT much better than Matt Moore or Colt McCoy?

Bad teams are unstable, impatient and chase need. Year after year. Good teams are stable, tactical and chase value. Year after year. The fan in me pulls for him like all of football???s good guys. But the citizen in me wants him to flame out and join our ranks of selfless service. We need more physicians, not ellipsoid ball throwers. Is that harsh? About as harsh as pink slips for losing games.

QB is the most important position in football. A good QB can set up a franchise for years to come. A bad one usually means you'll be picking early again next year. It would be great if there was a magic formula that told teams which QBs are going to succeed and which ones aren't.

Unfortunately, there is no such formula. Highly-touted QB prospects have flamed out spectacularly and some of the best QBs in history have been drafted late. As much as teams do their homework to try to hone in on that magic formula, the simple fact is there are no guarantees.

I don't know whether Tannehill will be another Jamarcus Russell or the next coming of Tom Brady. The best likelihood is he'll be somewhere in between. What I do know is he is worth the risk. He's incredibly smart, has the right physique, was very accurate in college and has all of the intangibles teams look for.

However, what makes him worth the risk is the current CBA. Teams won't have to risk the guaranteed money they did in years past. If he goes to Miami with the 8th pick, he should get a deal somewhere around 4 years, $12M. On an annual basis, that's equivalent to what Rex Grossman gets paid. I'd take that risk.

Are Miami and Cleveland losing solely because of poor QB play? No, it's the bleeding ulcer of front office ineptitude in the form of botched quick fixes, personnel busts, and coaching turnover. QBs won't fix this. And both play in strong divisions with multiple recent playoff teams. (AFC North-yikes!) Give McCoy and Moore some time, keep improving solid D's, build offensive continuity and you'll get a winner. And if a developmental QB falls in the mid rounds? Snatch him!

You need good to great QBs to win SBs. Absolutely no dispute there. But these studs are crapshoots notoriously scattered throughout the draft (or even undrafted). It???s pretty well established that Tannehill is a project.

I agree about financial risk. But money is not the only cost of a poor pick. It's the opportunity cost of what was missed. Miami needs WRs and DBs. The Giants also proved with their 2 SB wins you can NEVER have enough D lineman. A top 10 pick will yield MUCH greater value and proven production in these positions.

And let's be honest. Will these hot seat regimes survive long enough to see the Tannehill project become a product? Ask late blooming, #1 pick Jim Plunkett???s first 2 teams.

A new QB may not fix front office ineptitude or stop a coaching carousel. Then again, neither will a WR or a DB. It's a moot point at best.

You are correct that teams like Miami have multiple areas of need. However, you can't build a winning organization without first deciding on a leader. Matt Moore has not developed into the QB or leader Miami wants. From Miami's pursuit of P Manning to its current flirtation with Tannehill, it's clear this team doesn't belong to Moore. They need to determine who will be their leader of the future to have much of a future at all.

Franchise QBs don't change teams often while in their prime. While teams can trade for a WR or a DB or pick them up via free agency, it's rare for that to happen with QBs. More often, teams end up taking a flyer on backup guys like Kolb, Cassel or Flynn - usually with disappointing results. For the most part, if you want a good QB you have to find him yourself in the draft.

Two of the deepest positions in this year's draft are WR and CB. They should be able to find value at both positions in later rounds. If they think Tannehill has the potential to be a franchise QB, they would be better off drafting him.

All GREAT points. But, let's talk about Miami???s perceived QB need:

Despite an 0-7 start, the Fins finished 6-10. They had 5 absolutely GUTWRENCHING 3 point losses. A few lucky bounces and they are a possible 11-5 team! Wildcard.

In their 10 losses, Matt Moore had 3 games of over 90 QB rating. Overall QB rating of 87. Had a 16:9 TD/INT ratio. INT rate of 2.6%. The guy is 27! Now they lost Brandon Marshall. Moore is NOT the problem. It looks like he's on the cusp of being a top 15 QB.

Despite the worst efforts of their front office, the team is on the brink of success with a rising player at the most important position. The 8th pick is a blessing! Be smart! Use it to push them over that hump, not retool/rebuild with a project for 2-3 more years. Cameron Wake is already in a contract dispute. Drafting the top WR, DB, D-lineman gives 2012 impact and tells the players and fans they mean BUSINESS.

Don't continue the trend of mortaging your future with overvalued QBs like Gabbert. Remember that hot day at the ballgame? Be smart. Why pay $7 for water when there's a drinking fountain in the concourse 50m away?

"The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment" - Author unknown

Regardless of what you think of Matt Moore's performance at QB, the perception in Miami is he isn't their guy. Miami tried to bring in Alex Smith this offseason. Alex Smith. If there was ever a phrase that signaled that there would be a clipboard in your future, "We're going to look at Alex Smith" is it.

Whether they take Tannehill or not, Miami won???t be getting the top WR, DB or DL in the draft. The top CB in the draft, Morris Claiborne, figures to go to Tampa with the 5th pick; the top WR, Justin Blackmon, will likely go to the Rams with the 6th pick; and the top DT/DE, Melvin Ingram, will probably go to the Jags with the 7th pick.

Miami's offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman, was Tannehill's coach in college. He knows his character, his leadership qualities and his work ethic. Perhaps most importantly, he knows his potential better than just about anyone.

If you're looking to tell your fans that you mean business, telling them that you went out and got them the QB who is going to bring the franchise back to glory will go a lot farther than saying you got the second-best cornerback available.

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April 17, 2012  06:55 AM ET

I think he's a reach at 3 or 4 but it all comes down to market value.

April 17, 2012  07:55 AM ET

QB is the most difficult position to project College to Pro hands down. In the history of the NFL, only 2 QB's taken #1overall, the surest of the 'sure things', have gone on to have Hall of Fame careers. Aikman and Elway (Manning will be #3). And Elway nearly quit football to take Steinbrenners millions, instead.

The Colts front office said they had a very hard time choosing between Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning. In hindsight that's laughable, but at the time both projected to be great NFL QB's with Manning more NFL ready but Leaf having more long term potential.

Last season 4 QB's had a passer rating above 100. Who they are, their draft position, and the QB's taken ahead of them:

Aaron Rodgers - '05 1st rd 24th overall. Alex Smith (#1 overall)

Drew Brees - '01 2nd rd 32nd overall. Michael Vick (#1 overall)

Tom Brady - '00 6th rd 199th overall. Chad Pennington, Giovanni Carmazzi (yeah, that's what I said too..), Chris Redman, Tee Martin, Marc Bulger, and of course the legendary Spergon Wynn

Tony Romo - '04 undrafted free agent. Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, J.P. Losman, Matt Schaub, Luke McCown, Craig Krenzel, Andy Hall, Josh Harris, Jim Sorgi, Jeff Smoker, John Navarre, Cody Pickett, Casey Bramlet, Matt Mauck, B.J. Symons, Bradlee Van Pelt 17 QBs drafted that year and Romo, who was the Walter Payton award winner (Div I-AA's version of the Heisman) a 3X all-American and a 3X OVC player of the year was left untouched.

The point of all this is it doesn't really matter where you think a QB should be chosen...the odds are you're wrong. :)

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April 17, 2012  08:30 PM ET

Pretty much shows that in order to be successful, you need to draft a QB early, as all 6 QBs NFC playoff QBs were drafted in the top 32, with 4 of the 6 QBs being drafted in the top 3.

It doesn't show anything of the sort. It just shows one years results.

In 2010 you had 6th rounders Brady and Matt Hasselbeck and 7th rounder Matt Cassel accounting for 25% of playoff QB's

In 2009 you had undrafted Romo and Warner along with 6th rounder Brady making up a quarter of playoff QBs

Most teams will have a QB (not necessarily a good one) that was drafted high because most starters were drafted in the top 3 rounds simply because teams put so much emphasis on the position. That doesn't, however, indicate that you have to be drafted high in order to have success. Some of the best QBs in history were drafted well beyond the top 32.

Montana was the 82nd pick
Staubach was the 129th pick, the equivalent of being undrafted today.
Bart Starr was the 200th pick
Unitas as the 102nd pick
Warren Moon and Kurt Warner weren't drafted at all

April 17, 2012  08:40 PM ET


Yeah, Marino sucked too...moron.

April 17, 2012  08:46 PM ET

Everybody sing![I]one of these things is not like the other ones... one of these things doesn't belong...[/b]

True. Rodgers, Romo, and Brady are top 5 all time in career passer rating. Brees isn't.

April 17, 2012  08:52 PM ET

I usually take the unconventional stance and use conventional evidence, logic, and analysis to try to turn the tables. It sharpens skills. This debate is conventional and I should have gone counter...oops

April 17, 2012  09:09 PM ET

I usually take the unconventional stance and use conventional evidence, logic, and analysis to try to turn the tables. It sharpens skills. This debate is conventional and I should have gone counter...oops

You're going to have a hard time finding anyone who strongly believes Tannehill is worthy of a high pick.

April 17, 2012  09:42 PM ET

You're going to have a hard time finding anyone who strongly believes Tannehill is worthy of a high pick.

Gotta to pull the Johnnie Cochran rule: The truth don't pay as much as OJ. Argue something you don't believe. No law students here who want to sharpen their rhetoric?

April 17, 2012  09:59 PM ET

I'll get to this later tonight.

April 17, 2012  10:48 PM ET

Gotta to pull the Johnnie Cochran rule: The truth don't pay as much as OJ. Argue something you don't believe. No law students here who want to sharpen their rhetoric?

You didn't get a student.

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April 17, 2012  11:38 PM ET

Good luck, MM. Interesting topic.


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