You probably won't find a more polarizing player in this draft than Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
The converted wide receiver broke his foot in the offseason, but as the NFL draft prep has progressed, Tannehill ascended into the first round and what looks like could be a selection in the top 10.
Along the way, he passed Brandon Weeden, a 28-year-old who was more productive, possesses more impressive measurables andh as more experience.
The age factor is the biggest clear negative for Weeden, but Football Outsiders' KC Joyner explains why Weeden is a better prospect than Tannehill. You'll need ESPN Insider to see it all, but here's a taste:
The most disturbing part of this analysis is that Tannehill fell apart when the Aggies needed him the most. The most egregious example is when he posted a career-low 80.45 passer rating in Texas A&M's farewell Big 12 contest against the archrival Texas Longhorns. That passer rating was not a statistical anomaly, either, as Tannehill made a slew of passing errors and looked rattled by the Longhorns' defense.
Weeden did not have a dominant statistical performance in the Cowboys' biggest game of the year, a blowout victory over the archrival Oklahoma Sooners in a Bedlam game that decided the winner of the Big 12 conference, but he had zero interceptions and zero bad decisions in that contest (a bad decision being a mental error, such as a dropped interception, that leads either to a turnover or a near turnover). That stands in stark contrast to the three interceptions he posted against the Sooners in 2010 and again shows how Weeden was able to grow with experience.
For the record, I agree 100 percent with Joyner on this. The sad part is Tannehill's rise has turned into a bit of a "pile on Tannehill" party. He's a good prospect and a guy who could have a good career.
But a top-10 pick? A quarterback asked to walk into a major role and be asked to be a franchise quarterback? I'm not buying that. Tannehill's rise has been aided by a rush from NFL teams to find a quarterback, and he could theoretically climb as high as No. 3. That would spell disaster.
Tannehill has everything you want from a quarterback in arms, legs and the ability to learn. But decision-making? That's his biggest issue and that's fixed with experience.
He'd be much better suited if that experience came in practice while a more experienced player takes first-team reps and plays on Sundays.
If he flounders on the big stage, it could stunt his career forever. I get the age issue with Weeden, but his maturity, physical skills and decision-making make him a more NFL-ready prospect now.