Dolphins draft Texas A&M QB Tannehill
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- The Miami Dolphins finally used a first-round pick on a quarterback Thursday, taking Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill with the eighth choice in the NFL draft.
Tannehill became the first QB selected in the opening round by the Dolphins since 1983, when they drafted Dan Marino.
"It's humbling. He's a legend, a great player," Tannehill said. "But there's not a direct connection. I don't feel more pressure because of Dan Marino. I'm not trying to fill his shoes. I'm my own player."
Tannehill might have been a reach at No. 8. He started just 19 games in college after switching from receiver to quarterback, and last year he went only 1-4 against Top 25 teams.
But the 6-foot-4, 222-pound Tannehill received favorable reviews from his college coach was Mike Sherman, the Dolphins' new offensive coordinator.
Miami fans were clamoring for a quarterback, and owner Stephen Ross said upgrading the position was the team's top priority. The Dolphins unsuccessfully courted Peyton Manning last month.
Since Marino retired following the 1999 season, they've started 16 quarterbacks, the most in the NFL. The incumbent is veteran Matt Moore, who exceeded expectations starting the final 12 games last year.
Moore and veteran newcomer David Garrard are expected to compete for the starting job this year, which will give new coach Joe Philbin time to groom Tannehill for the job. The Dolphins are trying to rebound from a 6-10 season, their third consecutive losing year.
Tannehill said he'll try to learn from the veterans while competing with them as well.
"I want to be a great player someday," he said.
Tannehill was the third quarterback drafted. Indianapolis took Andrew Luck with the first pick, and Washington took Robert Griffin III with the second choice. Tannehill was widely projected to be the Dolphins' choice, but he said he didn't know what to expect.
"I was in the dark," he said. "I was so excited to see the Florida area code pop up on the phone."
Tannehill was at the draft in New York when his name was announced, and within 30 seconds he was wearing a Dolphins cap. Chomping on gum, on walked onto the stage and shared a hug with Commissioner Roger Goodell, who handed him a Dolphins jersey bearing No. 1.
"It takes my breath away," Tannehill said. "To see my name on the back of an NFL jersey for an organization like the Miami Dolphins, I couldn't be more excited. It's the moment of a lifetime."
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)