The NFL Draft at the end of April featured one of the most improbable falls in draft stock ever. Just ten minutes prior to the start of the Draft, a video showing offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, an Ole Miss prospect who was consider among the Draft's elite players and someone who had been considered a possible number one overall pick, smoking from a bong and suddenly chaos reigned. Tunsil fell from being one of the top few picks to being the 13th overall selection by the Miami Dolphins, the third offensive tackle selected.
Wednesday, a report from Jason Cole of Bleacher Report tried to add context to the fall of Tunsil, but it was not the bong video that caused the problems. According to Cole, it is a previously undisclosed medical situation that led to teams backing away from the top tackle on many draft boards.
"According to multiple sources I've talked to," Cole said, "Tunsil has a pre-arthritic condition in his ankle.That's one of the concerns that came up late in the draft process. In fact, I talked to two of those sources. What they say about Tunsil's ankle is that it may be worse than Myles Jack's knee in the long run. Now, one source I talked to, said there is always disagreement of medical findings and what doctors believe is going to happen with certain injuries, especially when they are not traumatic. But, one of those sources said, it is a concern, but not a big concern and certainly not as big a concern as Jack's knee. So, out there is, definitely, Tunsil has an ankle injury, or ankle situation that he has to deal with. How bad it is, is up to interpretation."
Suddenly, three weeks after the Draft, a player who was consider a potential number one overall pick now has an injury history that explains his fall? An injury that was never mentioned prior to the Draft, despite seemingly every stubbed toe from every other prospect being known? An injury that did not have Tunsil asked back to the NFL Scouting Combine's medical rechecks? An injury that is both worse than Jack's knee injury and not as bad as Jack's knee injury? That all seems pretty straight forward, doesn't it?
Dolphins Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Mike Tannenbaum, joined 560-WQAM in Miami on Thursday. Appearing on Hochman, Crowder and Krantz, Tannenbaum discussed the team returning to 560-WQAM this season as their flagship radio network, as well as the stadium upgrades on going, the possible reinstatement of Dion Jordan (he said the team does not have any indication of when a reinstatement will happen), and Cole's report on Tunsil's ankle.
"I've been fortunate, I've been around the league for over 20 years now, and that was really a first for me," Tannenbaum said when asked about Tunsil's fall. "You know, we had talked about every scenario. Adam [Gase, Dolphins head coach], our general manager Chris Grier, who had done a great job of all the prep work, we're looking at all the scenarios, and we are sitting there, and let's face it, if this Draft were February 1, he would have been one of the top picks before those quarterback trades. He's a good player, and more importantly, he's really a good person. Obviously, he had made some mistakes, it was an old video. It surfaced for him at the wrong time, for us, it created a great opportunity. And, what was great for us, we had all the decision makers right there. Steve [Dolphins owner Stephen Ross] was there, Adam was there, Chris was there, and it was an easy decision, it was unanimous, and we just saw it as a fantastic opportunity for us."
When the topic moved to the Bleacher Report story on Tunsil's ankle and any health concerns the Dolphins may have with Tunsil, Tannenbaum emphatically responded, "None. Zero. He is full go. He signed, we never had a concern about his ankle, and we couldn't be happier that he is a Dolphin."
The Dolphins are expected to use Tunsil as the team's starting left guard for his rookie season, playing him between Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert and Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey. Tunsil will likely be the heir apparent for the left tackle position, assuming the spot whenever Albert, who will turn 32 during the season, decides to retire. Adding Tunsil to the Miami offensive line should shore up one of the team's biggest weaknesses over the last few years, locking in four of the five starting positions along with Albert, Pouncey, and right tackle Ja'Wuan James. The team will look toward Billy Turner, Dallas Thomas, Jamil Douglas, and Jermon Bushrod to fill the right guard position.