Is Ryan Tannehill worth wait?

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Sports,Redskins,John Keim

Texas A&M QB needs some extra seasoning

If free agency doesn't produce the Redskins' next starting quarterback, then the draft definitely will. They won't be able to trade with Indianapolis for the No. 1 pick -- and Andrew Luck. They might not be able to get Baylor's Robert Griffin III either. That means Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill is a possibility.

Why they should draft him » Tannehill is a terrific athlete with a strong arm and mobility. Coach Mike Shanahan prizes all of those attributes, which fit well with his offensive system. At 6-foot-4, 222 pounds, he has good size. Tannehill is far from a finished product, which is good and bad. It makes sense -- if he doesn't have to play immediately -- to think he could vastly improve. He's raw yet showed numerous flashes of high-level play. It's easy to find highlight tape in which he's impressive. He's tough, and like Robert Griffin III, he has excellent intangibles. He's an accurate thrower on underneath routes, and he was coached by former Green Bay coach Mike Sherman, now Tampa Bay's offensive coordinator. So he has experience in a pro system. The Redskins would have to be patient with him, but it could pay off for many years. With good coaching, Tannehill could blossom.

Why they shouldn't » Tannehill is not ready to win now in the NFL. He's a former receiver, but that isn't a problem because he was a quarterback first, and that is just evidence of his athleticism. However, a different point can be made: He played only two years at quarterback in college (19 starts). He probably will need to sit for a year, learn the system and then proceed. He might take two years. So if the Redskins want an immediate impact at this position, they probably will have to look elsewhere.

Tannehill's delivery needs to be tightened up; he needs to improve his downfield accuracy. Some of his interceptions resulted from sloppy mechanics or from locking too long onto his desired target. Some scouts say he could have trouble with batted passes because of his low delivery point. He's coming off a broken foot, but if he works out well at his March 7 pro day, then the injury won't matter. Tannehill might be a terrific quarterback in a few years, but would Shanahan want to wait that long?

Where they can get him » Based on conversations with draft experts and scouts, the Redskins may have to trade back into the first round to get him. If he has more upside than, say, Christian Ponder -- as some suggest -- then consider that Ponder was drafted at 12 (too high in many eyes). In the mock drafts, Tannehill has been projected as high as No. 6 in the first round, but he also has been projected in the low 20s. The point is: The Redskins would have to acquire another first-round pick to get him.

Chances of it happening » Mild. Teams may have a better idea of where a guy will be picked, but the Redskins were surprised when Ponder was drafted. If six is too high, trading back to try and get him might be too risky (if you really like him that is) because where do you go to get him? The Redskins might be more apt to move up to get Griffin. But they might feel differently after working Tannehill out and interviewing him.

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

 

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John Keim

Staff Reporter - Washington Redskins
The Washington Examiner