Amid the ongoing hype surrounding fellow first-year quarterbacks such as Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson, another rookie signal caller impressed in 2012.
Miami Dolphins’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill made some serious strides in his inaugural campaign, though much of it wasn’t seen due to the stellar play of his counterparts. He started the season off mediocre at best, but really improved his game and got into a zone between weeks 12-16. During that span. Tannehill threw just one interception, while tossing five touchdowns and 735 yards. Those numbers resulted in 77 fantasy points, and to put that string of success into perspective, Tannehill tallied 171 points over the course of the season. If he can play like that Ryan Tannehill over the course of a full 16-game season, he’ll finish 2013 much higher than his 24th overall finish from a season ago. Simply put, Tannehill hasn’t even touched his ceiling yet.
A guy who was converted to quarterback after playing wideout at the age of 19, Tannehill can only get better from here. He has a full big league season under his belt, which makes a world of difference. Also, the Dolphins wasted no time bringing in talent to accompany their future investment, making a huge free agent splash when signing wideout Mike Wallace. A guy who can stretch the defenses, Wallace will not only provide Tannehill with a legitimate deep threat, but will also help to take coverage off of guys like Brian Hartline and recently acquired Brandon Gibson. The weapons are there for Tannehill to succeed in 2013, and he has a strong arm to deliver to those speedsters like Wallace and Gibson. Also, don’t overlook Tannehill’s scrambling ability. In his final season at Texas A&M, he rushed for a solid 306 yards and four scores. During his rookie campaign with the Dolphins, he rushed for 211 yards and two touchdowns. A guy who isn’t afraid to take off and take contact, don’t be surprised if you see Tannehill quietly post some fantasy relevant rushing totals. He has the tools to succeed, and those around him in the organization love what they see.
“He’s really taken a huge step,” Hartline said. “He’s making every throw, his deep ball looks awesome, intermediate ball is great, he has great touch. His improvement has been amazing.”
Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman stated that Tannehill will be “the most improved quarterback in the National Football League from Year 1 to Year 2 this year — I promise you that.” Honestly, I don’t think that statement is bold because Tannehill really does have everything going for him to seriously progress in 2013. There are more than capable weapons around him and has the size, talent and athleticism. Also, while some don’t take it into too much consideration, Tannehill does have the 13th-best fantasy schedule among quarterbacks this season, for what it’s worth.
Quarterback is far too deep to consider Tannehill as anything more than a QB2, but if you do plan on selecting a backup signal caller, why not go for a young guy with tons of upside?
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.