Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill would’ve liked to have had the option of throwing at the NFL Scouting Combine on Sunday. But instead, Tannehill remains sidelined while recovering from a broken foot and won’t go through any drills at all.
Considered the third-best quarterback prospect in the draft, Tannehill still came to Indianapolis, however, so he could interview with teams and go through medical and psychological examinations, and he aims to throw at his pro day on March 29.
In addition to missing out on the chance to display his skills at the Combine, Tannehill had to sit out of last month’s Senior Bowl.
But Tannehill, having gotten over the disappointment, remains optimistic about his future.
“It was definitely hard. I definitely didn’t want that to happen, didn’t foresee it happening,” he said. “I was feeling great. I was feeling great throwing the ball. I felt like I was improving on some things and then a snake jumped up and bit me. I feel good about where I am now.
“It’s definitely frustrating having the injury and having to recuperate from that, kind of sitting out, down in Florida, seeing how the other guys around me improve and get better in every aspect of the game. I was just kind of sitting there idly on crutches doing everything I could whether it’s vision training or getting in the hyperbaric chamber or whatever it may be, but not being able to get on the field with those guys.
“It was definitely frustrating, but I’m excited about where I am right now. Dr. [Robert] Anderson said the screw looks great. It’s healing up faster than expected and I’m excited.”
Following the combine, Tannehill will return to Florida to resume his rehabilitation, soon will receive clearance to run, and then he will begin preparing for his pro day.
Tannehill has good size at 6-foot-4 and 222 pounds. A former wide receiver, he also possesses good mobility and a knack for extending plays.
Although he started only 20 games in college, Tannehill feels well-prepared for the NFL because in college, he played for former Green Bay Packers head Coach Mike Sherman, who was recently hired as offensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins.
“Coach Sherman runs a West Coast offense, kind of dropback passing, as well as moving the pocket,” Tannehill said. “I think that’s a couple of things I do well is move and throw on the run. He likes to move the pocket – bootlegs, nakeds, whatever it may be — get outside the pocket and make throws downfield. I like what he did and we’ll see what happens.”
In his first full season as a starter, Tannehill threw for a career-high 3,744 yards (completing 61.6 percent of his passes) for 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, but he remains relatively inexperienced compared to some of the other quarterbacks in the draft.
Tannehill expects to field questions about his limited resume, but has no problem addressing them.
“I did only start 20 games at quarterback. It’s a question that deservedly needs an answer,” Tannehill said. “. . .I learned a lot in those 20 games. I definitely have a lot to improve on. But I didn’t just play 20 games as a college athlete. I was out there at receiver. I don’t know how many games I actually played or started at receiver. But I played every other game in my collegiate career at receiver. I was getting to see the speed of the game, getting a feel for the game as well as going through all the practices as a quarterback.”
Tannehill is projected by most analysts as a second-round pick, but certainly could wind up going in the first. Those projections aren’t always accurate, however, as last year’s draft showed. Quarterbacks Jake Locker and Christian Ponder were both expected to go in the second round, but the Tennessee Titans took Locker at eighth overall, and the Vikings drafted Ponder with the 12th pick.
Well aware that multiple teams have needs at quarterback, Tannehill likes to think that he could be one of this year’s fast-risers.
“Yeah, there’s several,” Tannehill said of teams in need of a quarterback. “There’s several every year, though. You never know what team. There’s always a shocker that jumps in there or jumps out. You never know what’s going to happen. I’m excited about the teams that potentially could be in the quarterback hunt and the opportunities it presents.”