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Jeff Ireland talks about Ryan Tannehill

Dolphins general manager Ryan Tannehill came into the press room to briefly discuss picking quarterback Ryan Tannehill before scurrying back to the draft room for the rest of the first round. This is what he said:

Miami Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland (After First Round Pick)

(Opening Statement) – “Well, thanks for being here. Obviously very, very excited to have Ryan [Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M] as our eighth pick in the draft. This is a kid we've been following - myself personally and our staff has been following for quite a while. There are a couple of things we like about him, obviously. He's got great size, he's got a strong arm, he's tough, he's very bright, he's got very, very good athletic ability for the quarterback position. We're just very excited to have him. This kind of finalizes a plan that we'd kind of put in place several months ago when we started with the free agency process, started preparing for the draft. We're excited to have him. This kind of solidifies the quarterback position. This isn't all about Ryan Tannehill; this kind of solidifies the quarterback position. When we set out, we wanted depth at the position. Obviously this brings a new, young face in there and he's going to compete as hard as he can. We're not going to make any predictions about when he'll start or what he'll do in the first year, but I can tell you one thing: this kid's a competitor and he'll want to be the starter. We feel like he's going to have a chance to learn the system. He's already got a leg up on that as well. It was an all-in decision. From the football side, our scouts, our coaches, Mike Sherman [Offensive Coordinator], Zac Taylor [Assistant Quarterbacks Coach], Jim Turner [Offensive Line Coach], all of who were at Texas A&M last year, all felt very, very good about it. I personally have watched all of his games from 2010 and I thought he had first-round ability just off of his junior season. This season I saw him play a couple of times. I very much like the player and we're just excited to have Ryan and his wife Lauren join the Miami Dolphins family.”

(On relying upon Mike Sherman as part of the due diligence process) – “I leaned on him a lot. He was his coach; he had him there four years and knew him very well. Zac Taylor knew him very well. I had Mike in my office or maybe I was in his office a couple of different times just asking different questions about the person, about the competitor, about the football knowledge that he has, his needs...I leaned on him quite a bit. I made sure that I was the only person to have that information along with Joe [Philbin, Head Coach]. I wasn't going to give it to the rest of the league. I leaned on him a lot as a matter of fact.”

(On how Tannehill factored into the Dolphins' plans at quarterback) – “You don't say well, oh, that's the guy, and put all of your eggs into one basket but you certainly say, well, look, we're going to these guys and these guys and he was certainly a part of the equation. You have contingencies to things but he was part of big plan. I'm not going to say he's the guy that we just went after and put all our eggs in that basket, but he was certainly part of a plan.”

(On what Tannehill can be with the Miami Dolphins) – “Putting a prediction on a player...it's not different than the ceiling on Vontae Davis (CB) or the ceiling on Jared Odrick (DE). I didn't take him as the eighth pick in the draft to be a back-up quarterback. I picked him to be a starting quarterback in this league at some point, to have an impact on this football team, to help us win football games and championships. That's the expectation that I have going down the line.”

(On the excitement level when drafting a quarterback) – “It's exciting. The draft's an exciting process in its entirety. And to draft a quarterback, whether it is first round or second round, it's exciting for you to have these hopes and dreams for a guy. It's a very important position and it's a position that everybody looks at for wins and losses. So we're excited to have Ryan and we're going to welcome him into the family.”

(On if Ryan Tannehill is ready for the starting job in the 2012 season or if he needs a year on the bench) – “I'm going to let the coaches decide on when he's going to be ready to compete. Obviously he's going to be on the roster and he's going to be competing with the other three quarterbacks we have. I think he's going to have a pretty good idea of what the offense is going to look like. He's going to have a leg up in that regard. You know, whether he's ready to be the starter, that's the coach's decision.”

(On if the fact that Tannehill had a coach who thought he wasn't ready to be a quarterback came up in the process) – “He told us all that, that he should have been the starter his freshman year. But that's the competitor in him. That's what I love about the kid, that he always thought he was better than the guys in front of him. But those guys that played in front of him had something to do with it too. Experience is something that he certainly needs. Experience is something that he doesn't have a lot of. But the games that he played, that also impresses you, because he was also able to do something pretty damn good in a short period of time.”