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Tannehill grabs the spotlight, but is Weeden better?

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay called Ryan Tannehill the "quiet secret" of this month's draft, but unless you've been trapped in a basement for the past 60 days, the secret is out.

With the fate of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III all but certain, Tannehill is climbing in mock drafts from east to west. He's not the third-best player in this draft, but he's widely seen as the third-best quarterback.

"This is one of the more intriguing stories of the 2012 draft," former Denver Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist said on NFL Network last month. "... I feel like, to a certain degree, Ryan Tannehill has been pushed up artificially by the media and some of the pundits."

Last season, rookie quarterbacks Cam Newton and Andy Dalton started immediately. But Tannehill won't be able to do that, according to comments by NFL Network's Mike Mayock this week. "Do I think he's ready to play, snap one? No, I do not. I think he's a full year away," Mayock said.

Meanwhile, we have Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden, perceived as a quarterback who's ready to roll. The knock on Weeden? He's 28 years old, so tucking him away behind a legitimate starter doesn't fly. For teams seeking immediate help, Weeden is praised for his size, arm strength and leadership on the field. We can think of a few teams in need of all three.

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"I've seen Weeden -- in a few tough situations -- be large," NFL Network's Charles Davis said this month. "I thought that down the stretch last year, when they played Texas A&M and had to make their comeback on the road, he helped get that done. I thought in the Orange Bowl game, against Stanford, down the stretch, I thought he played large. I think the kid's got something there.

"I also would like to see him challenge Tannehill, just because I think they are similar guys, if you took away the age deal -- and I know you can't do that."

Tannehill's all the rage, but Weeden might be the first to make an impact in the NFL. If Weeden can come in and give a team five-plus productive seasons, that would be something that in itself is hard to find in this league. Perhaps Weeden might be a wiser choice for a handful of teams searching for an answer at quarterback.

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