- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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Despite a mediocre 15-17 career record, some believe he has the tools to become Miami’s quarterback for years to come. Others point out his weaknesses, such as a lack of a deep ball and, at times, holding the ball too long as reasons he can't take the next step. There seems to be a love/hate relationship developing with Tannehill as he enters a crucial year for himself and the Dolphins’ organization.
ESPN.com NFL Insider Mike Sando further examined the Tannehill dichotomy in his excellent piece ranking 32 quarterbacks into five tiers (one being the best, five being the lowest). No quarterbacks landed in the lowest tier. Sando surveyed 26 league insiders, which included general managers, head coaches, pro personnel evaluators and even some players.
Tannehill finished at the bottom of the third tier and was ranked 23rd out of 32 quarterbacks. Here was Sando's explanation:
A pro personnel director put Tannehill in the second tier, but a defensive coordinator whose team faced the Dolphins was not convinced. Either way, Tannehill needs better blocking. "To me, he is a manager of the game, a guy where if everything is right, he is OK," the defensive coordinator said. "We didn't fear him. I don't think he has the strongest arm, the best release. When you ask me about guys, I think about how I have to game plan against them. Am I afraid of them?" One pro personnel evaluator placed Tannehill in the second tier, predicting good things for the third-year pro behind an upgraded line and within an up-tempo offense.
This is an interesting assessment of how people in the NFL view Tannehill. To put it bluntly, a No. 23 ranking isn’t good enough. Other quarterbacks in Tannehill’s draft class, such as Andrew Luck (No. 5), Russell Wilson (No.8) and Robert Griffin III (No. 19) all ranked higher in this survey.
Tannehill has the support of the Dolphins and many fans in Miami. But this survey is another example that there remains a lot of doubt around the NFL. The most important thing Tannehill must improve this season is his win-loss record. A third consecutive non-winning season isn't going to cut it in Miami.