Friday, March 30, 2012

Say no to Tannehill

What is it about Ryan Tannehill that has a couple of draft gurus practically peeing in their trousers?

Mike Mayock of the NFL Network and ESPN’s Todd McShay have wet themselves recently in overt praise of the Texas A&M quarterback. One would think, based on their comments, Tannehill is the next John Elway.

Both men are on record as saying the Browns would be insane to pass on the young man with their first pick in the opening round of next month’s college football draft. Well maybe not exactly those words, but they have strongly suggested Tannehill is good enough to become the Browns’ future franchise quarterback.

If the Browns draft Tannehill with their first pick at No. 4 and groom him his first season, “I do think that now, you’re looking at an organization that has its future franchise quarterback,” said McShay after watching Tannehill’s pro day workout recently.

This from a guy who showered similar platitudes on JaMarcus Russell a few years ago, and we all know how that one turned out.

Fact is Tannehill is not the best quarterback in this draft. He’s not even the second-best quarterback in this draft. And there are those who will argue that Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden in the third-best.

Andrew Luck is clearly the best quarterback with Robert Griffin The Third close behind. Both are head and shoulders above Tannehill.

Hopefully, Browns President Mike Holmgren, General Manager Tom Heckert Jr. and coach Pat Shurmur turn deaf ears on the bleatings of Mayock and McShay, a couple of guys who more often than not get it right.

What the draft gurus see in Tannehill is hard to figure out. Yes, he’s got the size at 6-4 and 220 pounds. And he’s got a decent arm. And yes, he ran a pro-style offense under coach Mike Sherman at A&M.

But he’s still a baby when it comes quarterbacking a team. He arrived at A&M as a high school quarterback and was immediately converted to wide receiver. He returned under center in his junior season and produced two nice seasons.

He threw 29 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions for the Aggies as a senior, but a closer look at his stats shows he threw most of those TD passes (20) against lesser opponents. When facing the likes of Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Arkansas and Texas, he had just nine scoring passes and 11 picks.

In other words, he feasted on the patsies of the schedule, but didn’t come close to flourishing against the tough teams.

McShay and Mayock watched Tannehill throw at his pro day and, of course, he looked good. Very good. But pro days are structured and orchestrated in an effort to make players look good.

Watch him on film against a pass rush and some decent coverage in the secondary and you’ll see a different Tannehill.

He’s not worth the No. 4 pick. Not even close. At best, he’s a project.

Maybe the Browns have a shot at him if he slides down to No. 22, where they own Atlanta’s pick. But that probably won’t happen because Miami at No. 8 is expected to pounce on him.

What Holmgren and Heckert do is anyone’s guess at this juncture. But bear in mind that this is the Cleveland Browns we’re talking about, a team that has had a flirtatious relationship with Murphy’s Law down through the years. If that relationship continues, count on the Browns making a mistake and drafting Tannehill at No. 4.

Big mistake. Huge mistake.

The Browns need players who can help them NOW, not one of two years down the road. They need to get better NOW, not wait for someone to possibly be their future quarterback. There is absolutely no guarantee Tannehill is that guy.

Fortunately, the Browns are in a position to draft players who can step in immediately and become productive. Players like Trent Richardson, Justin Blackmon, Mo Claiborne and Matt Kalil. If they stay put at No. 4, one of them will wear the Brown and Orange next season.

Heckert and Shurmur attended Richardson’s pro day recently and had to be impressed with what they saw. What they saw was maybe the best all-around running back to come along in the last 10 years. One can only imagine their thoughts when Richardson knocked Browns running backs coach Gary Brown head over keister in a blocking drill.

In the end, isn’t it better to draft the best player at a position rather than the third- or fourth-best? This draft is deep enough where the Browns can fill three weak areas with players who can become starters on day 1 of training camp.

For once, I’d like to see this team’s front office do the right thing in the draft. Forget the quarterback and focus on surrounding Colt McCoy with some decent weapons and give him a chance to become the quarterback they thought they drafted a few years ago.

Is that asking too much? For the last dozen or so years, the answer, with few exceptions, has been the same.



  1. I love Mayock but don`t have a lot of faith in some of his views on QB`s....

  2. Dirt . . .

    He knows his stuff, all right, which makes it even more puzzling that he's drooling all over Tannehill. That makes no sense.

    A name to remember for the Browns, should they go in the direction of a QB, is Brock Osweiler, who played his college ball in my neighborhood. He's big (6-8), has a strong arm, but has periods of inconsistency. Scouts love his arm and makeup.

    Mayock and McShay don't speak as highly of him as they do Tannehill.

  3. so Miami will "pounce" on Tannehill at 8 but it's a huge mistake for the Browns to take him at #4? Really??? nothing like inconsistency. You do realize this a league that wins with great QB play. You're boy AP hasn't sniffed the playoffs with the exception of 1 yr in which they got a legit QB. coincidence I think not. If they think he can be a Franchise QB take him whether it's at #4,6 or 7 and regardless of whether it's this year or next.

  4. That's right. Miami will be making a huge mistake by pouncing on Tannehill. He's too much of a project to be taken that high. If he's around at 22, I say grab him.

    And my boy AD (All Day), not AP, hasn't sniffed the playoffs (with that one exception) because the team on which he plays is not very good. The Vikings have as many problems as the Browns.

    And wouldn't you like to have a running back like Peterson on the Cleveland roster? Well,, there's one coming out this year . . . Trent Richardson. But the Browns probably will take a pass on him, too.

    And pls don't be afraid to include your name or handle on your next post.

  5. Rich, I enjoy your insight and outlook on these issues, and can't wait until I start seeing your rants blogs. I also agree with you in that the Browns need to surround Colt McCoy with talent. I would like to see them take either Richardson or Blackmon at four. Those are the only two possibilities that will instantly make our offense better. I'd say Kahlil but I believe the Viking will snatch him up at three. If they go Richardson then they need to follow it up with either Floyd, Wright, or Stephen Hill at 22.

    1. mdoogal,

      Rumors (and you know what they say about rumors leading up the to draft) suggest the Vikings just might take Mo Claiborne with their pick unless they trade down with Miami at No. 8 and the Dolphins snap up Tannehill.

      If that's the case and the triumvirate of Kalil, Richardson and Blackmon are there, I'd take Kalil. I come from the school that believes you win and lose games in the trenches.

      I would love to see the Browns with bookend tackles Joe Thomas and Matt Kalil for at least the next six or seven seasons. There would more than a a palpable change in the strength of the Cleveland offense.

      And I like Hill among those wideouts. He's got great size, soft hands and is fast. Some call him Calvin Johnson lite. He just needs to discipline his route running.

  6. NY Giants,NE, GB, Indy NO all SB's winners in the last 7 years, all without a top notch running back. Hmmm maybe a strong running game ISN'T so important. However great QB play is so if you have any chance to grab a great or even potentially great QB you do it. btw I wasn't afraid to put my name on the last post. I'd worry more about justifying your very flimsy position of drafting a RB that can't hold AP's jock; significantly higher than AP was drafted, and not that we may be reaching for a guy with supreme talent at a position that actually wins Super Bowls. Boom

    1. Schrag,

      Sounds like you're a Jon Stewart fan. The Daily Show host loves shouting "boom" when he makes what he thinks is a strong point. Anyway .. .

      Key ingredients in developing Super Bowl teams are, in no particular order, a strong running game, a quarterback who keeps his mistakes at a minimum, strong special teams and a solid defense.

      None of the teams you mentioned could have won a Super Bowl without a solid ground game. Their running backs might not have been great, but they were vital contributors to their respective attacks.

      The Browns have NO running game to speak of. To draft a Ryan Tannehill with the first pick and provide him little support in the ground game would be detrimental to his development.

      While the NFL has become a quarterback-driven league, never lose sight of the fact that the running game is still the staple of every offense. That will never change.


  7. Rich, I agree with much of what you say. The number #4 sould be a player who will impact your team NOW. The projects are for the later rounds. I like TR. The Browns have not had a great back since...dare I say Ernest Byner. Ever since Byner left the Browns running game has been average at best.

    1. 44,

      You're being kind when you call the Browns' running game average at best. Even "decent at best" would be overstating it.

      With the exception of what has turned out to be Peyton Hillis' aberration season, the Browns have struggled on the ground ever since they returned in 1999.

      Until the Browns get smart and draft a stud running back, one who can actually help his quarterback stay vertical and have a chance to throw the football, that situation will not change. This season, they have the chance to do that.

      A good running back will keep a defense honest. Now whether Mike Holmgren, Tom Heckert Jr. and Pat Shurmur see that is an entirely different matter. After all, they're the experts and I'm just a poor, struggling blogger wandering around in the desert. (Sarcasm intended)

  8. I think it is hilarious the excuses being used not to take any other position other than QB. "QB driven league", "Need a franchise QB to win", blah, blah blah. The way to win in the NFL remains the same today as in 1960: score more points than your opponent. If you do that running the ball, all of a sudden it would become a "running league"

    1. A look at the statistics proves the NFL has become a QB-driven league. That, some argue, is nothing more than a trend and will eventually change. And they are probably right.

      It still comes down to the fact that the Browns, a team once known for its great running backs, has not had even a very good one since Art Modell decided to take the coward's way out of Cleveland.

      I still say it's better to draft the best player at his position (Richardson, Kalil and Blackmon) than the third-best (Tannehill).

      And next, anon, pls sign your name or handle. Start with the select profile drop down and put your name/handle under Name/URL. Tnx.