Dolphins’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill appeared to be flying under the radar after a very solid rookie year that was overshadowed by Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson leading their respected teams to the playoffs in their first seasons.
But for whatever reason, media and fans around the league are beginning to take notice and are raising their expectations for Tannehill in year two.
NFL.com’s Greg Rosenthal recently ranked Tannehill the league’s 7th best quarterback under 25. Fans around the nation voted Tannehill the number one candidate to be the “breakout player of 2013” on ESPN’s NFL Live.
Even fantasy football gurus are beginning to buzz. ESPN’s KC Joyner wrote earlier this week that Tannehill could be one of the top five breakout fantasy players this season.
What a difference a year makes.
This time last year, Tannehill was thought to be a project that would sit behind either Matt Moore or David Garrard as a rookie. Now, Tannehill is expected to flourish and emerge as a franchise quarterback for the Dolphins by many.
A year of experience under his belt and a substantially improved supporting cast should translate into Tannehill taking a big step in 2013.
The Dolphins’ hopes of seriously competing for a playoff spot rest squarely on his shoulders. Not the $250 million the team spent on new contracts this offseason or any of their top draft picks.
We’ve saved the most important segment for last in our over/under series. Will Ryan Tannehill’s improvement be gradual or extensive in his second season? Or will he fall victim to the dreaded sophomore slump?
Ryan Tannehill over/under: 3,800 passing yards, 19.5 touchdown passes, 13.5 interceptions
My take: Over on all counts
Tannehill wasn’t quite ready to play the part as a rookie, but he certainly looked the part of future elite quarterback. His velocity, touch, athleticism, leadership, and poise all help make up an impressive skill set that has restored hope to a mediocrity engulfed franchise.
The reasons why Tannehill will take the next step as a quarterback far outweigh the reasons he won’t. And if Tannehill hasn’t at least cemented himself as a solid, top 15 caliber quarterback after this season, frankly, 2013 will be a disappointment.
To me, the only question is how improved Tannehill will be. I think he can eventually develop into an elite quarterback. Just probably not in 2013. But I am expecting Tannehill to surface as one of the league’s better quarterbacks, to elevate his game to above the league average.
Will that be enough to get the Dolphins over the hump and into the playoffs? That will likely depend on factors like his ability to finish games by making clutch throws down the stretch to go along with how well the Dolphins’ new-look defense comes together.
But a stat line of 3,900 yards passing, 24 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions is my official prediction for Tannehill. That should be enough to compete, maybe even enough to earn the Dolphins a wildcard berth. But as far as legitimately contending? That may still take some patience.
Time for you to weigh in! Tell me your projected stat line for Tannehill in the comments.