With all of the offseason moves the Miami Dolphins have made this season, it is easy to forget that the turn around began last season when the team selected Ryan Tannehill with the number-eight pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Tannehill was considered a controversial selection with very few believing that he was worth a top-10 pick. Many believed they were taking him out of desperation.
As it turned out, Tannehill won the starting job in training camp and led his team through a typical rookie season. There were moments when the young quarterback looked like the franchise player they had hoped he would be, and times when he looked like he was in over his head.
The truth is, Tannehill had what amounts to a decent rookie season. He finished the year with a 76.1 standard NFL Rating (31st out of 38 QBs). For comparison, the lowest rating went to John Skelton of the Arizona Cardinals, who had a 55.4. Tannehill was not impressive by this rating, but he was far from the worst.
A deeper look into his production and efficiency shows Tannehill was much better than the standard rating would suggest. His player rating, according to Pro Football Focus, is good enough for 13th in the league, placing him ahead of big-time names like Mathew Stafford, Jay Cutler and Joe Flacco.
The biggest knock against Tannehill has to be his 13 interceptions to 12 touchdowns. How this is seen is truly in the eye of the beholder. His picks came from balls batted at the line, tipped by receivers or just outright terrible decision making. The offense was often anemic, and the weapons were below par, or not properly utilized (i.e. Reggie Bush). All is not lost because the rookie Tannehill threw one more pick than he did touchdowns.
The real test for Tannehill will come when the new season starts.
The Dolphins have gone out and spent a fortune acquiring new talent, the lion’s share of the money going to speedy wideout Mike Wallace. Along with re-signing Brian Hartline and bringing in Daniel Gibson, the Wallace represents the upgrades Dolphins have made in order to help Tannehill along.
The good does not come without the bad, though. Miami allowed Bush, and left tackle Jake Long to leave in free agency, and the young quarterback will now face a new set of challenges. The Dolphins’ success, or failure, next season will depend on how well Tannehill handles his new offense.
Taking Tannehill with the eighth pick will prove to be one of their greatest moves, or it will turn out to be yet another failure of the post-Dan Marino era. Tannehill will let us know which it is by the end of the new season.
Jeff Everette covers the NFL, specifically the Miami Dolphins, for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @jeverettesports, “like” his page on Facebook, “Trust” him on Sulia, or join his circles on Google+.