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2012 Phinsider Community NFL Mock Draft - Pick 8, Miami Dolphins

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It's officially that time. The Miami Dolphins are on the clock, and, we are all waiting to see who they pick. Of course, this is just the Phinsider's mock draft, but it really is the one pick we care the most about,.

Before we get to the pick, here's the run down of the previous seven picks:

Pick Team Player
1 Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck, QB
2 Washington Redskins Robert Griffin III, QB
3 Minnesota Vikings Matt Kalil, T
4 Cleveland Browns Trent Richardson, RB
5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Morris Claiborne, CB
6 St. Louis Rams Justin Blackmon, WR
7 Jacksonville Jaguars Quinton Coples, DE

And, so you all know who was making the Miami Dolphins' pick:

Team: Miami Dolphins
GM: small balls

Now, to the pick:

With the eighth overall pick, the Miami Dolphins select:

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M Aggies
Height: 6' 4", 221 lbs.

From small balls:

Many fans won't be happy with this pick as it does represent a bit of a reach for a QB that was, up until the last few months, considered a 2nd round or, at best, a late 1stround pick. As GM, I considered many possibilities for this pick. A dominant pass rusher was a distinct possibility and would fill a need with the departure of Jason Taylor. Another departure, Brandon Marshal's trade to Chicago, opened a hole that could have been filled here as well with talented WR prospects still on the board. However, few can argue that the greatest need for the Miami Dolphins is a franchise QB.

Once the Cleveland Browns decided against replacing incumbent QB Colt Mccoy with Tannehill, the opportunity for Miami to land its QB of the future arose. Notice I did say future here. When Miami was given the proverbial Heisman by Peyton Manning, the decision was made to look more towards the future than that present. While Flynn may have represented a bit of an upgrade over Matt Moore, he was not seen as a franchise QB. In fact, the contract he was seeking would stand in direct contrast to the goal of developing a franchise signal caller. With Matt Moore and David Garrard in place you have a very solid bridge over the gap that is Tannehill's development. Both can provide valuable professional experience to Ryan and yet have contracts that are not likely to interfere with his progression.

We all know about OC Mike Sherman's connection to Ryan. We know he should be very familiar with not only the talent Ryan possess, but his developmental pace and his ability to overcome adversity as well. What we should also know is that Ryan's familiarity with Sherman's offense makes him a more valuable commodity to the Dolphins than any other team, making him less of a reach at pick 8.

Would Tannehill be considered a reach for another team drafting in the 8th slot? Not according to the analysis of NFL Films' Greg Cosell. Cosell says Tannehill compares favorably to Christian Ponder, the 12th overall pick in last year's NFL draft. "Tannehill is a better prospect than Christian Ponder was a year ago," Cosell reports. "Tannehill possesses the skill set to be a quality NFL starter. At this point, he would be best in a quick-rhythm, short-to-intermediate passing game that featured play-action and boot-action passes." Sound familiar? This is the exact type of offense that it is suggested the Dolphins will be running (a no-brainer really given Sherman's presence).

At 6'4" and 222 lbs., Tannehill has idea size for an NFL QB. Has arm strength is adequate at the least but possibly good to very good. His athleticism is outstanding. So outstanding in fact that in the game against one of the top defenses perennially in college football, Oklahoma used a spy to guard against his playmaking on foot. His decision making came into question in that game and may be of legitimate concern. One would hope that could change with more experience and development under experienced QBs and coaches with a history for just that. Speaking of experience, the largest knock on Ryan is his lack of time under center. However, Cam Newton was considered a project with only one year of Division I experience. That was in a spread offense. Tannehill has a year and a half experience as a Division I quarterback in a pro-style offense. That time combined with his two years as a receiver gives him an understanding of a pro-style passing game greater than a lot of prospects in this draft regardless of position. Former GM Charley Casserly likes Ryan "more than some first-round quarterbacks taken during this period. I think he displays better decision-making and accuracy than Josh Freeman, more experience at a high level than Joe Flacco, a stronger arm than Christian Ponder and more precision than Jake Locker." I like that. I agree with this even more: "Is the eighth overall pick too high for the Miami Dolphins to scoop up Tannehill? No, not based on the comparisons I have drawn. Quarterbacks are drafted higher than they are rated because without a franchise QB in this league you have little chance to be successful."

With the 8th selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, Miami has selected their first franchise QB since the retirement of Dan Marino.

From Walter Football:

Projected Round (2012): 1.
3/5/12: Tannehill is working his way back from a foot injury and couldn't work out at the Combine. However, he has his hand measure, and the number was alarmingly small. Tannehill's small hand size could lead to a lot of fumbles in the NFL. He is getting pushed higher into the first round because of the demand at the position.

Tannehill had some massive games in 2011. He also had some bad performances in the second half of games that contributed to the Aggies blowing big leads, and thereby losing games, to Oklahoma State and Arkansas. Tannehill threw three interceptions per game against the Cowboys, the Sooners and the Longhorns. For the season, he completed 62 percent of his passes for 3,744 yards with 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Tannehill is an excellent athlete and is very dangerous running with the football. Aside from his passing, he ran for 355 yards with four touchdowns. Tannehill has a strong arm with the potential to grow into an accurate passer. The senior also has special mobility.

Tannehill still needs to make up for a lot of lost time to learn the mental necessities of the position. The lack of quarterbacks in this class pushes him into first round, but he will enter the NFL with only 20 starts at quarterback. Tannehill has a special skill set, but he is going to need a lot of grooming at the professional level. However, the unknown of if Tannehill can handle it, pushes up the riskiness of picking him. He should be a second-day pick, but the demand for the position has seen his stock rise significantly.

8/18/11: After playing wide receiver in 2008 and 2009, Ryan Tannehill became the starting quarterback during the 2010 season. He completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,638 yards with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions in seven games at quarterback. The background as a wide receiver can be seen in the athletic Tannehill. He is an elusive runner with deceptive speed. Tannehill needs more time to develop as a signal caller. His accuracy and mechanics are definitely a work in progress. For a team looking for a developmental, backup quarterback who could contribute in a Wildcat package, Tannehill could be a good mid-round pick. He is a gamer and should impress coaching staffs in pre-draft meetings.

The Carolina Panthers are on the clock.