Cleveland Browns: Why They Should Draft Ryan Tannehill

Dave GilbertContributor IIIApril 2, 2012

COLLEGE STATION, TX - OCTOBER 29:  Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Texas A&M Aggies looks to pass during a game against the Missouri Tigers at Kyle Field on October 29, 2011 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

The current feeling coming out of Cleveland is that they are happy with Colt McCoy as their starting quarterback. 

McCoy is a solid QB who can make all the throws, and has a quick release to go along with decent accuracy. At 6-foot-1, he may be a touch on the short side, and he doesn't have the greatest speed, but he appears to have shown the Browns enough ability for them to put their faith in him.

Or has he?

Unless you had no idea about this year's NFL draft, it is pretty clear that the top-two quarterback prospects are Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin. There is no question that they are elite athletes and look set to have very successful careers in the league.

If all the mock drafts are correct, however, the next QB chosen this year will be Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill. He has slowly risen up the ranks, and is seen as this year's third-best quarterback.

The question is whether the Browns want to use their No. 4 pick to take a chance on Tannehill. And I think it would be slightly risky, but it's a gamble that could pay off.

Tannehill has good height at just under 6-foot-4 and, like McCoy, he may not be the quickest on the ground, but has a good delivery, above average accuracy and should be able to make all the passes necessary as an NFL quarterback.

But he is a project. Unlike Luck or RG3, I don't see him able to fit in and start playing straight away. Don't forget that Tannehill was a wide receiver before taking over passing duties from Jerrod Johnson.  

He has done well to establish his leadership qualities having only started 19 games as quarterback at Texas A&M. NFL scouts would like that number to be higher, and this again points to Tannehill perhaps watching and learning for at least his first season in the NFL.

The Browns have options with their No. 4 pick. They do have needs at wide receiver, and it seems likely that Justin Blackmon would be available. He is widely viewed as the best receiver in this year's class, and could have an immediate impact on the team.

So why should the Browns take Tannehill over someone like Blackmon?

Because, unlike McCoy, Tannehill has every chance of developing into a franchise quarterback. It won't happen overnight, but the skills are there.

His pro day solidified his position as the third-best QB, and both Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress and QB coach Mark Whipple were both there to witness it first hand. 

So, there is obvious interest in Tannehill possibly becoming a Cleveland Brown. Is he too much of stretch at No. 4? Possibly. And do the Browns forgo picking someone with Justin Blackmon's ability in favour of someone with less experience and possibly more questions than answers.

If they want to build for the future, then the answer is yes. Not every team gets the chance to draft someone like Tannehill. And while he may not be quite up to RG3 or Luck's level, he would serve Cleveland well, and could see them being competitive for many years to come.