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Andy Cohen: A Great Pick For So Many Reasons

Posted Apr 26, 2012

I’ve waited a long time to say this: The Miami Dolphins have drafted a quarterback in the first round. How can you not love this pick? But, in my mind, the over-riding factor in making this the smartest of moves is that nobody knows Ryan Tannehill better than the Dolphins.

You can’t downplay the significance of new offensive coordinator Mike Sherman being Tannehill’s head coach at Texas A&M. It only means everything. It means that Sherman knows about this kid’s heart, about his character, about all the intangibles that makes a player special.

If the Dolphins didn’t draft Tannehill, it was because Sherman knew too much. The fact that they did draft him means Sherman knows so much. It doesn’t guarantee success, but it does clearly indicate that Sherman feels strongly that this player has all the tools, measurable and immeasurable, to be a franchise quarterback.

I asked Jeff Ireland at a recent press conference how you measure heart. “That’s tough to do,” he responded.

Tough to do unless you are the player’s head coach, as Sherman was, because then you see heart every day on the practice field. You see it in his eyes, in the way he prepares, in the way he deals with adversity. What a huge advantage to know about a player’s internal makeup before, not after, you draft him.

Before we go further, it’s important to put this in perspective. You’re fooling yourself if you think Tannehill is going to walk into a starting job with the Dolphins. Even knowing Sherman’s offense, it’s going to take time for Tannehill to make this enormous transition, especially when you consider that two years ago he was lining up at wide receiver.

How much time? Impossible to predict. But isn’t it going to be interesting watching it all unfold?

The best thing to happen to Tannehill is that Matt Moore and David Gerrard are comfortably ahead of him on the depth chart. This gives him a chance to breathe, to learn the offense, to work on consistency, to deal with the distractions and to get his game NFL ready.

But you don’t take a player eighth overall in the draft if you don’t see a huge upside and a real potential to make a difference. Tannehill has all the tools you are looking for. He is prototype big. He is fast. He is strong. He has an accurate arm and an excellent touch on so many of this throws. And it doesn’t hurt that he was All Academic Big 12, which means the playbook won’t be the first book he has read.

As long as the conviction was there, this was a move the Dolphins had to make. Not since 1983 (someone named Marino) had they taken a quarterback in the first round. Yes, there are many other needs. But if you don’t have a quarterback, does it really matter about the other needs?

Give Jeff Ireland credit for waiting for the right player at the right moment. He didn’t feel comfortable taking one of the second tier quarterbacks in last April’s draft. In free agency, both he and Joe Philbin obviously believed that Matt Flynn wasn’t worth the asking price.

But in Ryan Tannehill there is obviously a consensus among the Dolphins brain trust that this was the move and this was the time. The stakes are high, and nobody will deny that. You take a quarterback this high and he is tied to your hip in so many ways. There had to be a comfort zone, and there clearly was.

Now, everything is going to be just a little bit more interesting, a little bit more exciting. There is real hope with a young quarterback, a first round quarterback. The Dolphins were bold and decisive in making this pick. Ryan Tannehill is a Miami Dolphin. Has a nice sound to it, doesn’t it?

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