NFL Network's Charley Casserly has heard the buzz on Ryan Tannehill. The former NFL general manager doesn't agree with Brian Billick's assessment that Tannehill is the next JaMarcus Russell, but he calls the Texas A&M passer a "reach" in the top 10 of this month's draft.
With this in mind, Casserly pointed to a trio of starting quarterbacks -- Josh Freeman, Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez -- all taken recently in the first round. Casserly has Tannehill rated favorably compared to each of them coming out of college.
â¢ Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (17th pick, 2009): "Personally, when I looked at Josh Freeman in college, and I looked at Tannehill, I thought Tannehill was better. Because I thought Tannehill was more accurate and made better decisions than Josh Freeman in college, and Freeman was a middle-of-the-first-round pick."
â¢ Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (18th pick, 2008): "I liked Flacco in college. I liked his arm strength, I liked his accuracy, but he was playing at Delaware -- simple offense -- and I liked Tannehill, at the same point, better. (The Ravens) moved up to get Flacco, no one quite knew where Flacco was going to go. A lot of people felt second round, but Baltimore wanted to make sure they got him, and that was it."
â¢ Mark Sanchez, New York Jets (5th pick, 2009): "I think that Mark Sanchez in some ways was better, and Tannehill in some ways is better. The Jets came way up to get Sanchez at number five. Is Sanchez the fifth best player in the country? A top-five quarterback? No, but where would the Jets be without him? I know everybody in New York is complaining about the guy right now, but if you take three years -- with a guy who was a starter one year in college -- he's done pretty good. As a personnel guy, that's what I look at. That guy still has an upside."
In the cases of Sanchez and Flacco, their teams maneuvered to grab them in the draft. Between them, Flacco and Sanchez own nine playoff wins since 2008, a number not lost on NFL teams still searching under every rock for a signal-caller.