So, you’ve got yourself a new Ryan Tannehill…

Look, it's your new Ryan Tannehill!

By selecting Ryan Tannehill, the Eagles just stabilized the future of this franchise and picked a player who is going to provide the fans with more seasons of good quarterback play. We’ve gone from McNabb to Vick and now Tannehill is Vick’s heir apparent. We’re so spoiled. But here is the real kicker, you shouldn’t be shocked if Tannehill ended up being better than both McNabb and Vick.

Most pundits resort to narrative scouting and knock Tannehill simply because of their perception of him but those who have actually done their homework realize that Tannehill is a hell of a player already. He’s got every skill you look for in your QB. And now he has the luxury of getting the Aaron Rodgers treatment, he doesn’t have to take the reigns immediately. Instead, he gets to take a few seasons to learn the ropes, take reps in practice and fix some very minor technical issues that Mike Sherman wasn’t able to fix at Texas A&M.

More after the jump (this is a long one, you’ve been warned)…

Size:

At 6’4″ and 221 pounds, Tannehill has good size. He’s got the height to stand in the pocket and still be able to scan the field. And he’s pretty well built at 221 pounds.

Athleticism:

I’ve felt that Tannehill was a top draft pick the entire season, a guy with his skill set simply doesn’t come around all that often. In terms of physical ability (out of the top guys), I’d argue that he’s behind only Robert Griffin and Cam Newton in the past two drafts and thats really saying something considering how athletic guys like Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Andrew Luck and Colin Kaepernick are.

Ryan Tannehill was a starting wide receiver for Texas A&M in 2008 and 2009 and he was actually voted the MVP of the offense in 2009. He was so good at wide receiver that after only 2.5 years at WR he was the 5th all time leading receiver for the Aggies before switching to QB. Clearly if you’re a starting wide receiver at a very prestigious football school at such a high level, you have to be a pretty good athlete. He proved what everyone already knew at his pro-day by running a 4.58 40 yard dash. He’s pretty clearly got the ability to create with his feet and extend plays. He isn’t limited to being a “pocket passer”, he has the athletic ability to abandon the pocket and create new throwing platforms ala Aaron Rodgers. His ability to throw on the move is so great that Greg Cosell went so far as to say that Tannehill is the best QB in the draft at throwing on the move. He’s a fantastic athlete at the QB spot.

A 20+ yard run that clearly highlights his speed and ability to run with the ball.

Another nice scramble where he shows some change of direction ability in space.

Here Tannehill is again. He drops back, scans the defense and sees that the Tigers have blitzed and left no one behind to guard against the QB scramble. Top end speed. Make you miss ability. And he doesn’t take needless contact. He’s got Jake Locker type scrambling ability only he takes much less of a physical beating because he doesn’t run with the same sort of angry demeanor. He is athletic enough to do this at the NFL level as well, his scrambling will be a weapon he can use.

Throwing The Ball:

His throwing motion is not unorthodox. He has a 3/4 release point, thats all. See Philip Rivers, Steve Young and Jay Cutler for players with similar release points. In the end it doesn’t matter all that much because he still gets the ball out quickly. So long as you’re having to wind up (ala Tebow) and forecasting where the ball is going the throwing motion isn’t a huge problem although preferably you wouldn’t have your QB releasing the ball any lower than Tannehill does.

Ryan Tannehill has a gun for an arm, his throws have tight spirals, great velocity and they’ve got great accuracy a vast majority of the time. His throws will almost always get on his receivers quickly and afford them a chance to create after the catch. His consistent combination of accuracy and velocity on short and intermediate throws is the best in the draft. His arm strength is quite impressive. Pro-style throws with a high degree of difficulty, the only other QB who makes those sort of throws heading into their rookie year is Andrew Luck.

And he does make anticipation throws, he doesn’t have to see a guy come open for him to make the throw. This is a trait that all great QBs have.

People who scout boxscores might question Ryan Tannehill’s accuracy but what they don’t know is that Texas A&M receivers dropped 64 passes this year. 64. That is insane. His receivers dropped a whopping 11.9% of Ryan Tannehill’s pass attempts. The highest drop percentage in the NFL belonged to the Green Bay Packers and they only dropped 8.3% of their passes. If Tannehill’s receivers had 8.3% of their passes (44) then Tannehill’s completion percentage would’ve been 65% and that’s in a big time conference in a pro-style offense. He’s an accurate passer.

And his ability to throw on the move is incredible, that is a rare skill that not many have. Tannehill is the rare QB that can throw accurately rolling left and right. Rodgers and Luck are the only other two I can think of who can consistently do that.

On this play Ryan Tannehill is rolling to his right and he makes a beautiful throw to Ryan Swope. It travels approximately 23-24 yards in the air, it is placed right between two defenders, the velocity on the ball is great and it hits Swope right in stride. Swope barely had to adjust to the ball, that was just thrown on a rope. Athletic ability, arm strength, accuracy and confidence, that throw had it all.

Here he is later in the game with a similar throw to the sideline except this time he is rolling left. There are very few passers who have the ability to throw accurately when rolling both ways. Teams take advantage of Michael Vick’s inability to throw when rolling right all the time. Ryan Tannehill is a right handed passer who can throw while moving left and while moving right, thats a rare quality and it just so happens that this draft has two players who can do this (Tannehill, Luck).

Here he is rolling left and throwing a ball on an absolute rope. I can’t stress to you guys enough how this isn’t normal. McNabb couldn’t do it. Vick couldn’t do it. Kolb couldn’t do it. The only other guys off the top of my head who have this sort of ability are Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck. Its very rare to find a guy who moves this well and then on top of that can throw so well on the move.

Simple throw right? Wrong. You hear the announcers say that Tannehill slips and he still manages to sling that thing with great velocity towards the sideline, outside the hashes.

Another great throw right here. To the “wide side”, outside the hashes on the sideline. The announcer says its a “long throw” and he’s absolutely right despite the fact that it wasn’t a huge gainer. I’d be more than prepared to argue that in terms of velocity on short throws and arm strength when throwing outside the hashes, Tannehill is better than both Luck and Griffin.

Again, Tannehill scrambles to his right and displays a good amount of patience on this play. He’s got pressure coming right to his spot and he doesn’t panic, he still waits for Swope to come free and he hits him. The ball travels 25 yards in the air on a rope and it is right on target despite the fact that Tannehill is rolling right and he’s got a Northwestern DE bearing down.

But its not just arm strength to the outside, Tannehill has the ability to push the ball down the seam. But thats not the most impressive part of this play. Did you see what Tannehill did on that play? The announcers point it out afterwards, Tannehill changed the route because he saw something in the defense and had the receiver caught that ball, he’d have been off to the races. That is something most college passers do not do and the only players who did more things like this in this years draft are Andrew Luck and Kellen Moore. Right now, Ryan Tannehill is more ready to read and adjust to a defense than Robert Griffin because Tannehill has been charged with doing things like this in college. Hes far more advanced in this aspect than Griffin at this stage.

Velocity and accuracy to the far side (which is very impressive in college when you consider the wider hashmarks), again. It happens over and over. And he threads the needle between a LB and CB.

/Drools

You’re going to watch three back to back to back throws here to Jeff Fuller (2x) and then to #7 (whose name I do not care to look up). On all three plays it appears that the receivers are running a hook route that is about 15 yards deep (2x left and 1x right) and on all three plays Tannehill releases the ball before the receiver makes his cut (anticipation), the ball gets on the receiver quickly before a defensive back has the chance to break on it and it gives him a chance to turn upfield (arm strength) and they’re all right on target (accuracy).

Another example of a throw with great velocity to the wide side.

Between The Ears / Fundamentals:

He’s been coached in a pro style system under Mike Sherman. He speaks the west coast offense language. In terms of responsibilities at the line he’s behind only Andrew Luck and Kellen Moore. Better than Griffin in this regard.

Tannehill is more experienced taking snaps from center, his footwork when doing so is better because of it. He’s more experienced with timing routes, anticipation throws and hot reads. Tannehill made throws that are more projectable to the next level with pro-style reads, routes and more difficult throws. And Tannehill had far more pre-snap responsibilities than Griffin did, he’s more experienced adjusting the offense based on what he sees the defense giving him.

And unlike Cam Newton and Michael Vick who didn’t score well on their wonderlics, Ryan Tannehill scored a 34. Tannehill clearly has the brains that you would want from your QB. His intelligence would suggest that he has the ability to take in information and process what he sees quickly.

And one thing that cannot be denied about Tannehill is that he is a competitor. This guy mastered two spots in a pro-style offense. TWO. Most guys can’t even be successful at one. His playing demeanor and attitude are all desirable. And he was notorious for his effort at practice at Texas A&M. He is a leader because of what he says and because of the example that he sets. He’s an absolute competitor that we’re lucky to have.

But its not just arm strength to the outside, Tannehill has the ability to push the ball down the seam. But thats not the most impressive part of this play. Did you see what Tannehill did on that play? The announcers point it out afterwards, Tannehill changed the route because he saw something in the defense and had the receiver caught that ball, he’d have been off to the races. That is something most college passers do not do and the only players who did more things like this in this years draft are Andrew Luck and Kellen Moore. Right now, Ryan Tannehill is more ready to read and adjust to a defense than Robert Griffin because Tannehill has been charged with doing things like this in college. Hes far more advanced in this aspect than Griffin at this stage.

Here you can clearly see and hear him adjusting the play and communicating that with the rest of his offense. Then he guns it to a receiver with a linebacker all over him and he makes the play. He trusts his arm, thats for sure.

Controlling The Pocket:

https://twitter.com/#!/gregcosell/status/183251243911753729

Greg Cossel does not lie. For some god forsaken reason people think Ryan Tannehill is skittish. I have no idea what these people are watching.

Right here is getting front side and back side pressure and he doesn’t abandon the pocket nor does he drop his eye level. Rather he doesn’t even seem fazed as he steps up into the pocket and dumps the ball off to the RB.

Northwestern brings a blitz here. Tannehill responds well. He fires off a good throw despite not having any space to step into and unlike other quarterbacks he doesn’t fade away and throw off his back foot. His pocket presence is very good, second only to Luck in my opinion.

Right here Tannehill is backed up against his own goal line and he takes a sack its likely for a safety. He gets pressure from the backside but he sets his feet, steps into his throw and fires off a bomb to Jeff Fuller.

Tannehill goes against the blitz again and he’s got pressure right up the middle. Doesn’t matter to Tannehill. Steps right into his throw and take the hit. He overthrows it a bit but the thing that stood out was the poise in the pocket. Didn’t focus on the pressure.

This is a great showing on Tannehill’s part. He’s in an open set and LSU automatically shifts to a blitz to take advantage of this. Tannehill communicates this with his offensive line. He takes the snap. He doesn’t fade away from the pressure. He steps into his throw to the hot read and takes the hit. And he throws it before Swope even breaks outside, showing great anticipation. This is pro-level stuff right here and this is in his 6th start.

Again, Tannehill proves that people calling him skittish are just out of their minds. He’s got LSU defenders all around him, bearing down and what does he do? He doesn’t abandon the pocket nor does he fade away and throw off his back foot. He steps up and unleashes a shot downfield, giving his receiver a chance to make a play. The only other QB in the draft who consistently does that is Andrew Luck.

The Flaws:

But unfortunately, Ryan Tannehill is not perfect. He needs to get better at going through his progressions and not locking onto his first read. Tannehill trusts his arm a little too much at times and he’ll try and gun throws into spots he probably shouldn’t. And there are times where he holds onto the ball too long and doesn’t get rid of the ball on time. Fortunately, all of these things can be corrected with coaching and experience.

Right here you see the bad side of Ryan Tannehill. He appears (at least to me) to lock in on Jeff Fuller and he lets it fly despite the fact that he is covered. But Fuller did him no favors on this one, he didn’t react to the ball well and he didn’t make a very good attempt at preventing the interception. He is prone to making bad decisions like this but I’m not as scared off by this than others. He wasn’t playing with very good receivers at Texas A&M (64 drops this past year) and yet he still had a lot of faith giving them chances like this. You know who else makes throws like this quite often? While there is no denying that this was a bad decision its almost something that you like because you want your QB to have the guts to try and make tough throws, the confidence in his receivers to put the ball out there like that and the short memory to keep trusting them despite repeatedly letting him down. Eli Manning. It just so happens that Eli has been working with Plaxico Burress and Hakeem Nicks instead of Jeff Fuller.

Another similar throw. Tannehill floats it down field to give his player a shot and the defender just wins the battle and comes up with the ball. Ideally your QB doesn’t make this throw but again, you want a certain level of foolishness and egotism from your QB. I’ll take a guy like Tannehill who isn’t afraid to chuck it over a captain checkdown type guy. People praise Eli Manning and Aaron Rodgers for similar type throws because they have receivers who actually come down with the ball.

This is what I’m talking about. Tannehill shouldn’t make this throw but he does and he gives his receivers chances to make plays like this. This is the other side of the coin that I think we’ll see more often once he’s surrounded by top level receivers. Eli Manning-esque in this regard.

And finally, some Ryan Tannehill stats for your viewing pleasure via Stats Inc. and ESPN:

3744 – Amount of passing yards
29 – Amount of TD passes
15 – Amount of interceptions
61.6% – Completion percentage
7.05 – Yards per attempt
2 – Amount of interceptions after being hit
5 – Amount of interceptions that were legitimately off target throws
8 – Amount of interceptions that were batted, tipped or defensed passes before they were picked.
64 – Amount of passes the Texas A&M receivers dropped
140 – Amount of times he was blitzed
57.1% – Completion percentage against the blitz
7 – Touchdowns against the blitz
5 – Interceptions against the blitz
2 – Sacks taken when blitzed
1123 – Amount of passing yards against the blitz
8.0 – Yards per attempt against the blitz
58.1% – Completion percentage on third down
921 – Amount of passing yards on third down
7:5 – Tannehill’s TD:INT ratio on third down
41.9% – Tannehill’s 3rd down conversion rate on passes
59.2% – Completion percentage in the 4th quarter
5 – Amount of touchdown passes in the 4th quarter
2 – Amount of interceptions thrown in the 4th quarter

 

 

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