I am not a scout. I don't pretend to be, nor do I consider myself up to their knowledge, experience, or understanding of the collegiate and pro football game. I do, however, have a pair of eye, a brains, and a decent understanding of this game we all love. I also talk to many experts who do possess the knowledge scouts do. I weigh their opinions. I watch tape. I look for strengths and weaknesses.
At the end of it all, you readers get evaluations like these. They may not be perfect. They may not be right, but I think they are, and since I run the show here, I get to post them.
Yay for you!
If, for whatever reason, you think these sorts of breakdowns are meaningless because they aren't done by a scout or NFL GM, just know that many well-respected scouts and GMs who viewed Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell as slam dunks are still working for NFL teams today.
I injured my foot this weekend, and rather than watch streaming porn on my tablet just to pass the time, I decided to watch a ton of YouTube clips on Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill.
Yeah. It was porn or clips of college football. I need serious mental help, I know.
I picked Luck and Tannehill for this week because both have been in the news of late. Tannehill had his Pro Day last Thursday, and Luck was just given the Chucky treatment by ESPN. On Monday, Robert "RG3" Griffin III will get grilled by Jon Gruden, and after that I plan to compare him with Luck.
I'll start things off my giving you the quick synopsis. After that, I'll provide my general observations.
Andrew Luck: He is about as far long as a pro as Peyton Manning was his second year in the league. Luck has a stronger arm than Peyton, and is less rattled when things go south. To call him "safe" is euphemism for "he isn't dumb." That's not accurate. Luck is coordinator smart. He is better right now over more than half the starting QBs in the NFL. When he gets up to speed on the pro game, he has the potential to dominate the league.
Ryan Tannehill: At first glance, you think this guy is Bernie Kosar or Drew Bledsoe. He's a stick out there, about a mobile as Jubba The Hutt swimming in quicksand. Then, you see him move, and you are like, Wow. Then, you see him throw on the move, and you are like, WOW! Then you see how fast the ball travels, and how accurate it hits his targets, and you are like, WOW!!! All that said, Tannehill isn't ready to start for an NFL team. Not yet.
Videos for your viewing pleasure
Luck Pro Day workout: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUNKiTazC9w&feature=relmfu
Stanford v. OK State: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyvG8w3wT5A
Stanford v. Arizona: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZlW9g7DCe4
Stanford v. USC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEOAnxyOrYo
Tannehill Pro Day workout: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0KTthz9Wwk
A&M v. OK State: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BATjEpA6nA&feature=related
A&M v. Northwestern: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Js5si7nyzSE&feature=related
A&M v. LSU: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXDEzCf3C7Y&feature=related
Notes on Luck:
- Total command of his team's offense, from play-calling to audible to isolating mismatches. This is the kind of stuff you see ten year veterans struggle with. Luck has mastered it by the age of 23.
- I don't get the dumb "arm strength" crap that people are suggesting in a coy, "let's undercut the kid just cause we can" sort of way. I watched four Stanford games last year, and then re-watched three of them this weekend (USC, OK State, and Arizona). Luck has a gun. He's got a stronger arm than both Mannings did coming out of college. This is such a useless "knock" that it borders on comedy. Also, at his Pro Day, he tossed a pass 70 yards, through the air, AGAINST THE WIND! I haven't seen Aaron Rodgers do that. So, unless people are going to go on record and say Rodgers doesn't have an arm, people need to shut up about Luck.
- As athletic as Cam Newton. Can run and accelerate like a running back. He isn't lightening fast, but saw him outrun and knock over defenders, ala Newton at Auburn. This adds a dimension the Colts have not had since the days of Jim Harbaugh.
- Fast release. Gets the ball out of hand quickly.
- Sees the entire field.
- Throws extremely well on the run. Ball comes out quick and he gets to the target accurately even when running to his left.
- Responds extremely well to adversity. Per ESPN's Trent Dilfer, Luck threw three pick sixs in 2011. After those mistakes, Luck went 17-20 for four touchdowns. Best example of this is Stanford v. USC in 2011.
- Does not get rattled or flustered. When he takes hits or is taken out of his comfort zone, he adjusts and responds extremely well.
- Does not take big hits. Slides or runs out of bounds when appropriate.
- Tries to do too much at times. Feels he must make a play or the team will lose.
- Andrew Luck in the redzone: 74% completions with 27 TDs passes, zero picks.
Notes on Tannehill:
- Arm is a cannon. Flings the football with a motion that makes his arm look like a bull whip. Ball comes out quick. Spirals tight.
- Tall and lanky. Can see entire field. Comfortable in the gun or under center.
- Very fast as a runner. Former wide receiver. Is extremely dangerous when he can find an opening and go. Saw him outrun entire OK State defense for a 65-yard touchdown.
- Accurate throwing the ball. Roughly 64% completions. Did not see a lot of risky, "gunslinger" style throws.
- Throw well on the run, though he seems to prefer running the ball himself to throwing under duress.
- Texas A&M ran a pro-style offense under Mike Sherman, the former Green Bay Packers head coach who recruited Tannehill and converted him from WR to QB. Tannehill had a strong grasp of this system.
- Puts the ball in places that help his receivers. As a former wideout, he likely understands angles and ball placement so that his guys do not get "killed" catching balls over the middle.
- Biggest issue is dealing with rush pressure. Tannehill is easily flustered. When taken out of his comfort zone, he struggles to rebound. This doesn't mean he can't do so. He just doesn't do it consistently enough.
- When the team is down, tries to overcompensate. The results usually are turnovers.
- Hard worker. Leader. Smart. Usually, these words are overused. However, with Tannehill they are relevant. He's a converted player, giving him strong insight into two key positions (QB and WR). What he lacks is experience, overall reps, but his knowledge seems very strong. He strikes me as the kind of guy who takes care of his offensive players. Teammates will gravitate to that.
- Overall, has tremendous ability and is intelligent. Does not strike me as an off-the-field head case who will bust, ala Ryan Leaf or JaMarcus Russell. He's just not ready to start an NFL game. Ideally, he needs an entire training camp, preseason, and then, perhaps, eight games of the regular season before he should start. This will build him up, give him the reps he needs to understand a system, and then turn him loose. Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, and Donovan McNabb all had success with this method.
Let me know if you agree or disagree with these assessments. Don't forget to check out Matt Grecco's scouting report on Luck.