In our annual 32 picks in 32 days CSNPhilly.com mock draft, we select one player each day until the start of the NFL draft on April 26.
The Dolphins have had a rough off-season. First they were stiffed-armed by Peyton Manning and then dismissed by Matt Flynn. Add to that the protesting fans who want to see general manager Jeff Ireland ousted, and the fact that their most significant free agent signing was former-Eagle Artis Hicks, and you can see why this draft is so important to Miami.
It's no surprise the Dolphins once again are in desperate need of a starting QB. If the season started today, Matt Moore would be under center. And while he did an admirable job last season, he's not exactly going to excite the dwindling fan base in South Florida.
Miami has been seeking a face to the franchise ever since Dan Marino retired after the 1999 season. They've tried a who's who of mediocre QBs -- Jay Fiedler, Chad Pennington, A.J. Feeley, Gus Frerotte, Cleo Lemon, Joey Harrington and Moore -- none of whom could carry the team. In both 2007 and 2008, Miami used second-round picks on QB hopefuls John Beck and Chad Henne. Neither made a impact and both were unceremoniously allowed to leave town.
Tannehill started his Aggies career as a WR, grabbing 55 catches for 844 yards and five TDs as freshman. He caught another 46 balls as a sophomore before moving to QB almost exclusively early in the 2010 season. In 2011, his one and only year as the full-time starter, Tannehill threw for 3,744 yards, 29 TDs and 15 interceptions.
The fact that the first two years of his college career were spent running routes instead of reading coverages makes his success so much more impressive. He's obviously athletic, running his pro day 40-yard dash in 4.62 seconds after recovering from a January foot surgery. His arm, while not elite, is strong enough to make all the throws.
But the knock on Tannehill at the moment is his decision-making. He makes throws that leave you scratching your head. But this is just a matter of time and repetition. He's been playing the position at a high level for only a year and a half, so he's still learning progressions, technique and how to read defenses. That might scare some teams off in the first round, as the trend in the NFL now is to start your rookie QB right away (see Cam Newton and Andy Dalton), but with Tannehill's former college coach Mike Sherman running Miami's offense, the transition to the NFL might be a bit smoother for him in this particular situation.
Miami needs an identity, and while Tannehill might not be a finished product ready to make an immediate impact, he should represent hope for Dolphins fans longing for a QB that can win them games rather than one who can hopefully just not lose them.
Jared Sherman has been providing CSNPhilly.com with draft analysis since 2000. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @Phillyjared.