Miami Dolphins Need to Take a Chance and Draft Ryan Tannehill

Joseph Beguiristain@@JoeBeguiristainContributor IIApril 3, 2012

HOUSTON - DECEMBER 31:  Quarterback Ryan Tannehill #17 of Texas A&M Aggies rolls out looking for a receiver against Northwestern Wildcats at Reliant Stadium on December 31, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

It's no secret that the Miami Dolphins are devoid of a quarterback and have been since 2000 when Dan Marino announced his retirement from the NFL. That day was more like a death sentence for the Miami Dolphins rather than a retirement speech. The Miami Dolphins have had 17 different starting quarterbacks since Marino's departure and all of them combined couldn't match up to Dan “The Man.”

There is heat on Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland and the front office for good reason. They have failed to make the “splash” that they promised during the offseason and struck out on Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn and Alex Smith while trading away their best offensive weapon in Brandon Marshall.

Simply put, the Dolphins must go quarterback in the first round to not only appease the fans, but also to give hope for the future. Ireland has to show the fans that he values the quarterback position because it sure doesn't look like he does up to this point.

The Dolphins need to select Ryan Tannehill with the eighth overall pick in the NFL Draft on April 26. Everyone knows that Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will be the first two quarterbacks off the board and of the remaining quarterbacks, Tannehill has the greatest upside.

Tannehill did well at his pro day, only missing on three pass attempts and running a 4.62 40-yard dash. What stands in the way of the Dolphins getting Tannehill is the Cleveland Browns. There has been speculation about where the Browns will turn to with their fourth overall pick, Trent Richardson or Ryan Tannehill.

The “interest” from the Browns could be “smoke and mirrors” to have the Dolphins think they have to trade up in order to get Tannehill, but we shall see.

Tannehill started off his career for the Texas A&M Aggies as a wide receiver despite being recruited as a quarterback.

In his first two years, Tannehill had 101 catches for 1,453 yards and nine touchdowns. He then took over the quarterback position midway through his junior season. That year, he threw for 1,638 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions with a 65 percent completion percentage.

His only complete year as a starter in his senior season, he threw for 3,744 yards, with 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

Tannehill has the moxie and athleticism you want out a franchise quarterback. He has quick feet and can move quickly out of the pocket which is important with the shaky offensive line that the Dolphins have.

Tannehill also has a rocket for an arm and can get the ball out rather quickly. Having said that, he will be a project quarterback due to having only 20 career starts at quarterback and a tendency to make questionable decisions.

Critics will point to those aspects of Tannehill's game and proclaim him a reach in the top 10. But didn't we just see Christian Ponder and Blaine Gabbert go high in the first round last year? In a passing league, it is important to get the guy that you feel will lead your team to the playoffs and eventually the Super Bowl.

The encouraging thing about Tannehill's flaws are that they can be worked on and improved. The guy definitely has talent, he just needs time to develop. If you look at what the Dolphins have at quarterback right now with Matt Moore and David Garrard, Tannehill can sit a year and learn from both players' previous experience.

Moore has always been a gamer and knows what it takes to win games and David Garrard has some playoff experience as a starting quarterback. Both of these guys are obviously not a long term solution for the Dolphins, so why not use them to teach Ryan Tannehill?

One of the biggest reasons the Dolphins need to get Tannehill is because Mike Sherman is now their offensive coordinator. Sherman was the head coach for Texas A&M from 2008-2011, so he has seen Tannehill's growth and maturity from a freshman until now. Having Tannehill reunite with his old head coach will do wonders for his progression and it seems like a smart fit.

The Dolphins may not state it publicly, but they are in a semi-rebuilding phase. That kind of thing happens when a new head coach comes on board. Every coach/regime has their quarterback of the future that they bank on.

In the past, the Dolphins have tried with second and third round quarterbacks which have turned out to be nothing more than serviceable backups. It is time for the Dolphins to get their guy in the first round like they did in 1983.

Many proclaimed that pick to be a reach as well, and look how that turned out.