Tannehill is a unique prospect in that he’s a redshirt senior with only 20 games of starting experience at quarterback – due to playing wide receiver at the beginning of his collegiate career (and playing receiver at high level, no less). Moved to quarterback midway through his junior season. Overall, a fundamentally sound quarterback who needs to clean just a few things up mechanically. Rhythm passer who displays a power arm when attacking intermediate portions of the field. He projects to go in the first round.
Quick, compact ¾ delivery. Offensive system has pro-style influences – designed around isolation routes to attack the intermediate areas of the field off 5-step drops from under center and 3-step drops from shotgun sets. Footwork needs to be touched up – most notably getting more push off on his first step in the drop. 3-step tends to get choppy with no crossover. Very comfortable executing play-action from under center. Weight transfer and hip rotation on his deep balls and bucket throws is an issue and he tends to underthrow them. Much more comfortable in traditional drops and play action footwork than most prospects.
Can throw with accuracy on the run to both the left and right. Gets his hips turned and squared to the target before throwing. Strong, fast runner with build-up speed in the open field, but isn’t overly elusive. Had some long runs on the occasional read-option. Will be very effective on bootlegs and rollouts, and has enough speed to make the backside end play him honest. Was athletic enough to play receiver at a high level early in his college career.
Rhythm passer with a power arm (one of the strongest in this class, arguably the strongest in the intermediate passing game). At his most comfortable in the 5-step drop game, where he can attack the intermediate areas of the field with power throws. Displays excellent velocity throwing out-breaks to the wide side of the field – not limited whatsoever by the wide “field” side in college football (caused by wider hash marks). System calls for many NFL style throws into tight windows, especially along the perimeter, and he completes these with velocity in every game. Can throw his receivers open.
When Tannehill’s footwork is on, he displays excellent accuracy in the short and intermediate range passing game. As noted before, his deep ball and bucket throws tend to be underthrown because he will roll his hips up and fail to transfer his weight properly. His best routes are along the perimeter – deep outs, comebacks, deep hooks, and the wheel route to the slot receiver (very good at timing and anticipating the wheel, in particular).
Decision Making and Intangibles
This is where many people split on Tannehill.
Way more comfortable running plays off the script early in games than he is down the stretch. Has a basic feel of high/low concepts and reading the vertical planes of the field, but is still raw in this area. Too many mistakes and bad plays came from locking onto his primary target – either not feeling blindside pressure, throwing blind into backside coverage late, forcing the ball, etc. Will press and make a head-scratching throw or two in almost every game. Needs to learn to throw the ball away. The major question with him is how well can he manage a team. He gave the program a major shot in the arm when taking over the starting job as a junior, but then A&M had a number of second half collapses this past year. While he was never solely at-fault, he still made some bad decisions in pressure situations (and I’d actually argue that when I isolate him from the team, he played very well in most of those losses aside from a play or two). These are the mistakes that are bound to happen with a relatively inexperienced quarterback.
He will face the gun barrel and make a throw even when he knows a hit is coming. Will move and reset in the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield. He feels and reacts to frontside pressure well, and, displays a good internal clock on backside pressures (although he can be inconsistent in this area). Despite being raw, was allowed to make some calls and checks at the LOS (breakdown of changing WRs route to a skinny post based on what the D was showing pre-snap in Northwestern video). Willing and able to make stick throws into tight windows.
Set a Texas A&M freshman single-game record with 12 catches for 210 receiving yards, and was voted offensive MVP by his teammates (again, as a freshman). Made Big-12 Honorable Mention at receiver as a redshirt sophomore in 2009. Replaced Jerrod Johnson at quarterback midway through his junior season. In his first start, he set a school record with 449 passing yards.
Had surgery in January to fix a broken bone in his foot. Was not able to participate in the Senior Bowl and will not be able to work out at the NFL combine.
2008: 55 receptions, 844 yards, 15.3 YPC, 5 TDs
2009: 46 receptions, 609 yards, 13.2 YPC, 4 TDs
2010: 8 games, 152-234, 65%, 1638 yards, 13 TDs, 6 INTs; 51 rushes, 75 yards, 1.5 YPC, 1 TD
2011: 13 games, 327-531, 61.6%, 3744 yards, 29 TDs, 15 INTs; 58 rushes, 5.3 YPC, 4 TDs
Majored in Biology with a 3.6 GPA. Has considered attending medical school to become an orthopedic surgeon.
Awards and Honors
2010: First Team All-Academic Big XII
2009: Honorable Mention Big-XII, All-Academic Big XII
2008: Honorable Mention Freshman All-American, Honorable Mention Big-XII