Ryan Tannehill's star potential

The Dolphins rookie may have a quiet advantage, even if he could use help

Originally Published: October 12, 2012
By Chris Sprow | ESPN Insider
Ryan TannehillTim Heitman/US PresswireRyan Tannehill's ability to handle pressure has helped him get off to a fast start.

The 2010 season was really the pivotal season for the 2012 draft and the quarterback class that will define it. Future No. 1 pick Andrew Luck became an All-American for the first time at Stanford. He threw 32 touchdown passes in typically mistake-free fashion and moved to the top of draft boards to stay. Future No. 2 pick Robert Griffin III came back from an ACL tear that erased his 2009 season, completed 67 percent of his throws and made a case for scouts to ditch the "athlete" label and focus on his promise as a quarterback.

Ryan Tannehill, on the other hand, started slowly. Through six games, his numbers were light, and it was clear he wouldn't repeat his Big 12 all-conference honorable mention performance of 2009.

After all, through those first six games, Tannehill caught only 11 passes.

"He was a good wide receiver," then-Texas A&M QB coach Tom Rossley told me, "but he never even went to the wide receiver meetings." That's because Tannehill was really a quarterback, even if the all-conference year at wide receiver said differently. He just had to wait his turn, just as he did on draft day. It's also why, after an initial NFL stretch in which he's thrown for the third-highest yardage total in NFL history for a rookie in his first five starts -- even if he'll again have to wait his turn for attention behind the guys taken before him -- Tannehill could have the ceiling of a star.


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