When you start a breakdown of the Miami Dolphins' roster, there's really only one place to start - with the key member of the team heading into the 2013 season. No one on the team will have a bigger impact on the success or failure this year than second year quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Why not start this series with him?
Tannehill came into the 2012 season with a lot of potential, but limited expectations. He was selected as the eighth overall player in the draft, the third quarterback behind Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, but he was seen as incredibly raw and in need of at least a year before he would be ready to start.
In the preseason, he beat out Matt Moore for the starting position, and became the first rookie quarterback to start Week 1 of the season for Miami. He would go on to set multiple rookie passer rating, surpassing Dan Marino in most of those categories.
Tannehill struggled at times, looking like a rookie, but he seemed to get better, and more confident, as the season continued. He kept the Dolphins in the playoff hunt late in December, something no one expected before the season started.
The 2012 season for Tannehill was a solid one for a rookie. In most years, it would actually be seen as pretty good, but he had a rookie season with the likes of Luck, RG3, and Russell Wilson. Looking just at Tannehill's stats, and not comparing them to what those three did, he had a very good start to a young career.
Why he could improve in 2013:
He ended last season strong, looking more confident in the offense, and, most importantly, with 16 games of NFL experience under his belt. This year, the team added weapons all around him, including receivers Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson, and tight end Dustin Keller. Tannehill is poised to break out this season.
Tannehill now has a year of experience in the league, and will be better prepared for some of the defensive looks, and the speed of the game. He excelled last year in no huddle situations, and the team is better prepared for that this year, having changed out some position specific personnel for more versatility. Everything seems built around Tannehill in 2013. Now, he just has to continue his development.
Why he could regress in 2013:
There are still plenty of questions around Tannehill, just as there should be around any second year quarterback. Sure Luck, RG3, and Wilson looked great, but that's one season. Regression at the quarterback position is not unusual - and may even be more common than we realize. "Sophomore slumps" happen all the time. It's just a matter of whether it will hit Tannehill or not.
Being a fan base that just lived through the excitement for Chad Henne's development, only to see it stall, we all know the potential for Tannehill to see the same thing is there.
Odds of making the 53-man roster:
He's on the roster. There's no doubt about that. He's going to be the starter, and, this is going to be his team. It's just a matter of how successful he, and the team, will be with the massive turnover, and Tannehill's growth, from last year.