Is Ryan Tannehill a 'Tier 3' quarterback?

Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports

There are good vibes in South Florida about Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. His statistics have improved in each of his three seasons and Miami rewarded him with a $96 million extension.

The Dolphins are clearly convinced Tannehill has the potential to be a franchise quarterback. But how is he viewed by talent evaluators outside of Miami and around the league?

ESPN NFL Insider Mike SandoInsider helped answer that question on Tuesday with an interesting project that asked 35 talent evaluators to rank quarterbacks in four tiers.

According to Sando, Tannehill ranked in Tier 3. That tier is described as "quarterbacks who are good enough to start but need lots of support, making it tougher to contend at the highest level."

Does that accurately describe Tannehill? He is just 23-25 as a starter after three seasons. Although there are various ways to lose games, quarterbacks generally get a bulk of the blame if the team doesn’t experience success. Tannehill knows it is important to win more and lead the Dolphins to the playoffs in his fourth season.

Two evaluators quoted in the story also mentioned pocket presence and accuracy as two issues Tannehill must improve to get to the next level. I agree on both fronts.

Tannehill currently is in the same Tier 3 as up-and-down quarterbacks Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs, Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers and Andy Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals. It will be interesting to see if Tannehill climbs into a higher tier in the coming years or remains with the group of inconsistent quarterbacks.