As the world already knows and is reminded everyday, the Miami Dolphins are in desperate need of a franchise QB. It is even being said that they should trade up and grab Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill before anyone else takes him. Trade up for an inexperienced, unproven and “might one day be” QB that was a late 1st round to 2nd round pick until recently? It definitely doesn’t sound to comforting when you think about it.
Tannehill showed his skills at the Combine and improved his stock greatly at his proday. Everyday his stock seems to rise just a little more and even has the owner of the Indianapolis Colts Jim Irsay saying that Tannehill is a “hidden gem” and that those interested should start talking to the owner of the Minnesota Viking Zygi Wolf about trading up to the 3 spot. The word on Tannehill is he smart, athletic and has huge upside, but how many times have Miami fans heard this before? There have been 16 QBs under center since Dan Marino retired and at least half had all these attributes if not even more and they all had a lot more experience then just 15 games. So why is Miami even thinking about trying this again when there are better options in the draft that are cheaper in draft cost and future money?
One such option that I have been researching the last few days is Houston’s Case Keenum. Keenum is pretty far down the list of QBs available in the draft and is actually pretty unknown and doesn’t come up on most draft boards even though he is the most productive QB in NCAA history. In 5 years he amassed 19,217 passing yards with 1,546 completions on 2229 attempts with 155 touchdowns and just 48 interceptions. 48 of those touchdowns coming in the 2011 season with just 5 picks to boot. Every year he played he actually got a little better and averaged well over 300 yards a game. He missed the majority of the 2010 season due to an ACL injury in the third game of the season. He returned the following year to play his best year and cap it off with a spectacular performance in the Ticket Bowl with 532 passing yards while going 45 for 69. With such outstanding performances and crazy numbers why is Keenum so far down on the list?
At 6’2 210 lbs Keenum is below average size for a NFL QB and below average arm strength compared to most prospects. Very accurate on short to medium throws but has to wind up to sling the ball down field. Most analysts think there is not enough room for growth to improve his strength. Also his showing at the combine wasn’t exactly amazing due to a hamstring pull in his second 40 run.
Obviously, Keenum has some down side with his size and quick release(which some believe is a negative but worked well for Marino) but nothing that can’t cant be improved with proper coaching and strength training. He’s accurate and athletic enough to get the job done and produces solid numbers. An extra added bonus that should intrigue the Phins is the fact that he worked in a spread offense, like the West Coast Offense Miami is switching to with their new Head Coach Joe Philbin. Short passes built on a strong running game should be a perfect fit for a strong short passer like Keenum and give him the time to “wind up” if he needs to for deeper passes. Lastly, since no one is really paying attention to him, then he should be available in the later rounds, like the third round where the Phins have two picks and it wouldn’t hurt to use one then. Miami would still get their top picks in the draft and a possible future franchise QB in Keenum. Of course there’s a lot of doubt, but there’s also a lot in Tannehill, and Keenum is a whole lot cheaper and a late round bust doesn’t hurt anywhere near as much as a 1st round bust.