COLLEGE STATION (AP) – Ryan Tannehill could be a top 10 pick in next month’s NFL draft, less than two years after lining up as a receiver for Texas A&M.
Tannehill returned to his old high school position of quarterback halfway through the 2010 season and caught the attention of NFL scouts despite starting just 19 games behind center for the Aggies.
On Thursday, he worked out for representatives of 22 NFL teams, including Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, Miami coach Joe Philbin and Cleveland offensive coordinator Brad Childress. It was their first offseason look at Tannehill after he missed the combine while recovering from foot surgery.
Tannehill ran a 40-yard dash and threw about 70 passes, putting on a performance that Carroll said he should be pleased with.
“I felt good,” Tannehill said. “The foot felt great moving around, moving in the pocket, escaping. The ball was coming out good and the guys were making plays for me. It was a good day.”
Childress, whose Browns have the fourth overall pick, raved about the workout.
“He made every throw that he needed to make,” said Childress, who was joined at the workout by Cleveland quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple. “The leg didn’t look like an issue. It was an impressive workout.”
Tannehill is expected to be the third quarterback taken in the draft behind Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III of Baylor.
Tannehill was moved to receiver as a freshman after losing the quarterback battle. He had 1,453 yards receiving and nine touchdowns in his first two seasons combined at A&M and had 143 yards receiving as a junior before returning to quarterback.
“It was a frustrating time for me,” he said of his time at receiver. “I had a lot of fun being able to help the team out at the receiver position, but I still wanted to be a quarterback. So when I finally got that opportunity, I wasn’t going to let it slip.”
Tannehill went 12-7 in 1 1/2 years at quarterback. He threw for 1,638 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2010 and had 3,744 yards passing with 29 touchdowns last season.
NFL personnel like that he played in an NFL-style system at A&M under former coach Mike Sherman, who coached the Green Bay Packers for several years.
“With just 19 starts he can’t possibly know it all,” Childress said. “I think it’s remarkable that a guy that’s a wide receiver could come in and play as proficiently as he did in a big-time program against big-time competition.”
Tannehill has been working at a training academy in Florida under the direction of Chris Weinke , the 2000 Heisman Trophy winner from Florida State. Weinke had Tannehill throwing exclusively from under center on Thursday to make sure the scouts knew he was healthy.
“He was coming off of foot surgery and wanted to show that he could get away from center with a little sense of urgency,” Weinke said. “We moved him around in the pocket and were able to show he could throw the ball accurately on the run.”
The Dolphins, who have the eighth overall pick, also sent general manager Jeff Ireland to College Station. Ireland, Tannehill and Philbin had dinner together on Wednesday night.
Tannehill said he plans to hold private workouts for the Eagles, Chiefs and Browns in College Station before the draft and that he’s set to visit a handful of other teams.
NFL network draft analyst Mike Mayock, who also watched the workout, thinks Tannehill is a good pick for the Browns.
“I wouldn’t even doubt it,” he said. “To me you’re not going to get him later. He’s an athletic upgrade, he’s an arm-strength upgrade over Colt McCoy. As much as I like Colt, I like him better as a two than a one. I would love to take this kid at four and develop him and let Colt play for half a year or more and let this kid learn how to play the position.”
Tannehill knows he has no say in where he ends up, but is simply excited that after such a winding path, he’s close to realizing his dream of playing in the NFL.
“I always wanted to be a quarterback,” he said. “I always saw myself being a quarterback at A&M. I wanted to play in the NFL and I wanted to be a winning quarterback in the NFL.”
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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