By Rich Tandler
INDIANAPOLIS—Ryan Tannehill had a tough act to follow.
About an hour and a half after Robert Griffin III had wowed the NFL media with a virtuoso performance at Podium C at the NFL Combine, Tannehill went up to the same podium and drew a fraction of the reporters of RG3. Tannehill was sharp, poised and answered all of the questions including those about his health and relative lack of experience at quarterback (just 20 starts at Texas A&M).
But he wasn’t the charismatic Heisman winning Griffin; indeed, Tannehill should have been the warmup act.
It was what it was, however, and the player some think should be the Redskins’ next quarterback talked about the injury that will force him to miss all of the physical activities this weekend. He had surgery to put a screw in his left foot to repair it.
It happened in Florida in January in his second day of training for the combine. “I was rolling out to my left, just a normal rollout quarterback drill,” he said. “Turned my shoulders to make the throw and felt a pop in my foot.”
“So it’s kind of an unfortunate thing, very frustrating at the time. Coming to find out, I probably had a stress fracture there that was kind of a ticking time bomb and just waiting for the right moment to pop.”
The “time bomb” shouldn’t blow up his NFL career provided that he puts on a good show during his pro day next month. Many draft analysts agree that he is likely to be the third quarterback taken behind Andrew Luck and Griffin and that Tannehill will be a first-round pick, perhaps a fairly high one. The Redskins could well take him with the sixth overall pick if other options don’t work out.
All this for a quarterback who starting only 20 college games. Tannehill fell victim to a situation where the Aggies were in need of help at wide receiver and the best solution was to put him into the rotation there.
“I went to A&M as a quarterback. I redshirted as a quarterback,” he said. “I went into camp my freshman year as a quarterback and was going to be third on the depth chart and they moved me out to receiver. I ended up having some success that day and about two days later, I was in the starting rotation at receiver.”
Tannehill did point out that unlike many senior college quarterbacks who have a limited number of starts, he did not spend much time on the sideline holding a clipboard. “Even though it wasn’t at the quarterback position, I did get experience playing football and seeing the game out there,” he said. “I learned a lot from it, and fortunately I was able to get back to where I wanted to be under center.”
Tannehill could well be under center for an NFL team near you next fall.
Rich Tandler will be covering the NFL Combine from Indianapolis all week. Any questions? Hit him up on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.