INDIANAPOLIS - What follows in this story comes with a caveat: If the Dolphins land Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn – and there’s a decent, if not better, chance of that happening – then there will be no particular need to use a high draft pick on the enticing quarterback prospects that have convened here for the NFL Combine.
But what if the Dolphins enter the draft without a starter better than Matt Moore? In that scenario, expect to hear a lot about Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill, considered the draft’s third-best quarterback behind Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.
And that would delight Tannehill, who said Friday he would welcome a chance to join the Dolphins because of his high regard for his college coach, new Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. “Miami would be exciting because of the familiarity with coach Sherman and some of the staff hired down there,” he said. “It would be nice. Coach Sherman runs a West Coast offense as well as moving the pocket, and that’s a couple things I do well: throw on the run, bootlegs, whatever it may be to get outside the pocket and make throws downfield. I like what he did.”
By winning a coin toss with Carolina, the Dolphins learned Friday they will have the eighth overall pick. If the Dolphins don’t get Manning or Flynn, would No. 8 be too high for Tannehill? No, according to nfl.com’s Gil Brandt, the former Cowboys executive.
NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said it “wouldn’t surprise me” if the Dolphins took Tannehill eighth, if they don’t sign Manning or Flynn, adding “nobody will know Tannehill more than Miami.” Tannehill, 6-3, arrived at Texas A&M as a quarterback, but was third on the depth chart initially and switched to receiver, before moving back to quarterback during his junior year. “I did start only 20 games, and it’s a question that deservedly needs an answer,” he said. “I definitely have a lot to improve on. I want to be a starter.”
He said he believes he’s more prepared for the NFL because Sherman coached him: “That was a blessing for me.”
Tannehill, who threw 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions last season, isn’t doing any throwing or drills at the Combine because he’s recovering from foot surgery after a January injury left him on crutches for his wedding in Mexico two days later. He said his recovery is ahead of schedule and he will throw at Texas A&M’s Pro Day on March 29.
GRIFFIN MEETS THE PRESS
As for Griffin, the personable Baylor quarterback measured at 6-2 3/8, which should allay any concerns about his height. Rams general manager Les Snead said there is “no scenario” in which the team would trade Sam Bradford. St. Louis reportedly is dangling the No. 2 pick, but Miami would need to give up a ton to move that high to draft Griffin, especially with quarterback-needy Cleveland selecting fourth and Washington sixth.
“I hope somebody falls in love with me – other than my fiancee,” he said. “I’m excited to show teams who I am. I’m a happy go-lucky-guy who likes to make people laugh, but I like to be serious as well.”
Griffin said “there’s a misperception about duel-purpose quarterbacks, that it’s run first, throw second. I’ve proven I throw first and run if I need to.” He also disputed the suggestion that his Baylor offense was simple. “It’s not a simple offense,” he said. “It’s a great, quarterback friendly offense. It’s not a traditional spread, where we’re in the shotgun all the time. We’re in the shotgun a lot. So were Tom Brady and Eli Manning in the Super Bowl, but that’s beside the point.”
Griffin sees similarities between himself and former NFL standouts John Elway, Steve Young and Randal Cunningham – “guys that extend the play. They win within in the pocket but also know how to win outside the pocket.” On comparisons to Cam Newton, last year’s No. 1 pick, Griffin said: “Cam is a bigger guy. He’s a little more shifty than I am. I’m faster. His confidence is off the charts. I try to keep my confidence on the charts.” Griffin said the fact both his parents served in the military – his mother for 12 years and his father for 21 – “helped me be the disciplined person I am.”
LUCK ADDRESSES MANNING
Luck, 6-4, said he would have no issue playing behind Peyton Manning, should the Colts keep him. Griffin said likewise, should the Colts very surprisingly draft him instead of Luck. “Peyton was my football hero growing up,” Luck said. “That’s who I modeled myself after. When you have a chance to learn from Peyton Manning, you better take advantage. Arguably the best quarterback ever.”
Luck has attended the Manning quarterback camp the past two seasons, spoke to Manning last summer when he decided to return to Stanford instead of turning pro and received texts from Manning twice last season.
Luck was asked if he’s looking at real estate in Indianapolis, on the presumption the Colts will select him. “It’s a little premature to do that,” he said. “I understand the speculation. Nothing has happened yet.”
Luck, who some evaluators call the best quarterback prospect since Manning, said, “It’s obviously flattering but it is an opinion. Not to discredit opinions, but it has to flow off your back like water.” He suggested he’s far from a finished product and is working on his dropbacks and “quickening everything up.”
### Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden, 28, said comments about his age “used to get under my skin” but no longer. “I can’t change my birth certificate. I can’t pull a Danny Almonte” – a reference to the former little league baseball player who was older than he claimed.