Greg Cosell: Ryan Tannehill A Better Prospect Than Christian Ponder

HOUSTON - DECEMBER 31: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill #17 of Texas A&M Texas A&M Aggies holds his MVP trophy after Texas A&M defeated Northwesten University 33-22 at Reliant Stadium on December 31, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

At this point, Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill has fallen off the radar a little bit when it comes to Buffalo Bills-centric discussions about the 2012 NFL Draft. With most draft experts projecting Tannehill to be off the board before the Bills' No. 10 overall pick, it's looking very possible that Tannehill won't be around when the Bills pick. After Greg Cosell of NFL Films got through his analysis of Tannehill, we're betting a few Bills fans wish that weren't the case.

"In the final analysis, Tannehill is a better prospect than Christian Ponder was a year ago," writes Cosell.

Ponder, if you recall, was the No. 12 overall pick to the Minnesota Vikings in the 2011 NFL Draft, and the fourth quarterback off the board. Though many considered Ponder a reach last year, it stands to reason that Tannehill - as the unquestioned third quarterback off the board this year - is a reasonable lock to pencil into the Top 10. Hey, now - that's where the Bills pick!

Much more from Cosell on Tannehill after the jump - you could also just read his article in full - including a note about how he'd fit with the Bills.

Of the many intriguing points Cosell makes, the most prominent is his opinion on the type of offense Tannehill is best suited for at the moment.

"At this point, he would be best in a quick-rhythm, short-to-intermediate passing game that featured play-action and boot-action passes," writes Cosell.

That, folks, is Buffalo's passing offense in a nutshell. Chan Gailey schemes to get the ball out of the hands of Ryan Fitzpatrick quickly, attacks the short-to-intermediate areas very well, and when it's clicking, Fitzpatrick operates a lot of play-action boots. Not only is Tannehill a good fit for what the Bills are already doing offensively, but he's also got a few similarities to some of Fitzpatrick's best qualities. Check out these Cosell excerpts:

... he was willing to pull the trigger on difficult throws, which is a necessity in the NFL.
Tannehill had a good arm, but not a gun.
One concern: I thought he had a tendency to lock his front leg as he delivered the ball at times. There were instances in which that hindered his usually precise ball location. Some throws were a little high, especially ones between the numbers... He missed some throws that were there; overall, his ball location was inconsistent.

The differences between the two are a bit more obvious: Tannehill is highly inexperienced as a quarterback, having made just 19 starts at this point, and has a lot of room to grow, whereas Fitzpatrick is more or less in the prime of his career.

Cosell also thinks very highly of Tannehill in two other key areas: throwing on the move and pocket awareness. Those are difficult traits to find, and Tannehill has exhibited them in a very short time frame.

"In fact, he’s a better, more accurate passer on the run than either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin," writes Cosell. "Tannehill was very efficient off the boot-action pass game. That will translate very well to the NFL.

"... surprisingly given his relative inexperience, he exhibited comfortable pocket mobility."

To wrap this up, one area of concern Cosell did find - aside from the aforementioned inconsistency with ball placement - was reading a defense, and specifically the secondary. This is not particularly surprising, considering Tannehill's inexperience, but it lends to the rhetoric that Tannehill isn't ready to play right away - which, of course, wouldn't be a problem in Buffalo.

"Tannehill at times did not do a good job of verifying the positioning of the safeties after the snap of the ball," said Cosell. "That led to some poor reads and ill-advised throws, especially against Texas."

A little over a month ago, the reaction to the idea of drafting a developmental quarterback with a Top 10 pick was met with mixed reviews here. Has anyone's opinion changed lately? How does Cosell's analysis meet you?

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