Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Peyton Manning chose Denver and Matt Flynn chose Seattle. That means the Miami Dolphins quarterback options are down to Tim Tebow, Matt Moore, and a draft full of quarterbacks not named Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin, III.
At the top of the second rung of quarterbacks available in the 2012 NFL Draft is former Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The former Aggie signal-caller has rocketed up draft boards and the Dolphins should know plenty about the strong-armed quarterback.
Tannehill’s coach at Texas A&M was current Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. While at A&M, Tannehill started out as a quarterback, moved to receiver, and then back to quarterback in his senior season.
Tannehill stands 6’4” and weighs 222 pounds and is expected to be drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft. His stats after being moved back to quarterback about halfway through the 2010 season show a quarterback with penchant for the longball.
During his final two seasons, Tannehill was 479-765 for 5,382 yards, 42 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions. The 2-1 touchdown to interception ratio would be a welcome sight to Dolphins fans craving a big passer ever since Dan Marino left more than a decade ago.
But Tannehill isn’t the only available quarterback in the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft, though the next quarterback on the list may have been considered a senior-citizen by his teammates at Oklahoma State.
Brandon Weeden, 28, was the trigger-man for the Cowboys’ potent offensive attack for the last two years after spending several years as a minor-league baseball player. In 2011, Weeden completed 72 percent of his passes while throwing for more than 4700 yards and 37 touchdowns to just 13 interceptiosn.
Weeden led Oklahoma State to its first BCS victory in years and had the Cowboys on the cusp of playing for the national championship, despite having a woeful defense.
In his career, Weeden threw for 9,260 yards, 75 touchdowns, and 27 interceptions. In 2011, his quarterback rating was a staggering 159.8 and he threw for roughly 8.38 yards per completion during his senior season.
But, Weeden would be older than almost any rookie quarterback since Chris Weinke several years ago. There is a fear that his best football may be behind him even before he takes his first snap in the NFL.
There’s also a fear that both Weeden and Tannehill’s numbers were inflated by playing in the sometimes defensively-challenged Big XII Conference. Both quarterbacks also played almost exclusively from the shotgun, rather from a traditional under center offense.
Past Weeden and Tannehill in the draft, the next quarterbacks available will likely be in the later rounds. The next two quarterbacks on the list will likely be Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler and Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Osweiler is a monster who stands taller than 6’7” and weighs 240 pounds. His measurables are high, but he’s a player that most draft pundits agreed should have stayed for his senior year in college.
As a junior, Osweiler threw for more than 4,000 yards and threw 26 touchdowns to 13 interceptions in a weak Pac-12 Conference. But, Osweiler couldn’t get his team over the hump and he saw his squad get thumped in the Las Vegas Bowl, 56-24 by Boise State.
Cousins is a different kind of quarterback from Osweiler. He stands 6’3”, but was always a quarterback who was on the cusp of greatness but could never seem to take the next step.
As a senior, he threw for 25 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions while gaining 3,316 yards through the air. For his career, he throw for 9,131 yards, 66 touchdowns, and 30 interceptions. His final game was a thrilling 33-30 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs in the Outback Bowl.
But in Michigan State’s two regular season losses last year, Cousins had trouble finding the end zone. He threw one touchdown pass in the two losses, and against Nebraska, managed just 86 yards passing for the game.
Still, he’s been on the big stage and performed at a high level. In the inaugural Big Ten Championship game, he was 22-30 for 281 yards, 3 touchdowns, and just one interception in the three-point loss to Wisconsin.
The draft’s two best quarterbacks will not be available when the Miami Dolphins pick in the first round. But depending on which way the team wants to go, it may be able to get a young quarterback to groom for the future, if the fans can wait that long.
FYI, the Dolphins have not selected a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft since 1983 when they selected a quarterback out of Pittsburgh named Dan Marino with the next to last pick in the first round.