Ryan Tannehill experienced the worst campaign of his three seasons as the Tennessee Titans’ primary starting quarterback in 2021, and his playoff meltdown was alarming.
While the Titans strongly continue to insist Tannehill is their quarterback in 2022, team brass indicated Wednesday it is dissecting options in the upcoming NFL draft to find Tannehill’s eventual successor.
“There’s some in certain drafts that are way out of our reach because they’re going to go in the top three or four picks and we pick in the back part of the first round,” Titans general manager Jon Robinson told reporters at the NFL combine in Indianapolis on Wednesday. “We are trying to find those guys that may be within striking distance that may not come in and unseat, but that we see a future for.”
Tennessee has reportedly met with quarterbacks Carson Strong of Nevada and Sam Howell of North Carolina at the combine and also has a meeting scheduled with Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder.
The Titans have the 26th overall pick, so quarterbacks such as Liberty’s Malik Willis, Pitt’s Kenny Pickett and Ole Miss’ Matt Corral all could be off the board if Tennessee remains at that position. The Titans currently don’t have a second-round draft choice.
Quarterback didn’t seem to be a likely draft target as the club put together a 12-5 regular-season record. Tennessee was the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.
But Tannehill, who turns 34 in July, tossed three interceptions in a 19-16 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the divisional round. While the Titans went home earlier than expected, the Bengals ended up in the Super Bowl.
The postseason loss magnified some issues with ball security as Tannehill threw 14 interceptions in 17 starts last season. In the previous two seasons combined, Tannehill was picked off just 13 times in 28 games (26 starts).
His touchdown passes also dropped from 33 in 2020 to 21 in 2021. He passed for 3,734 yards, down slightly from 3,819 in the 16-game 2020 campaign.
Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel once again endorsed Tannehill on Wednesday, citing the veteran’s leadership and toughness. However, Vrabel said Tannehill needs to do a better job of elevating the play of his teammates.
“Any quarterback in this league has to be able to do that,” Vrabel said. “Get us in the right play and be decisive with the football. Deliver the ball under duress in the pocket and protect the football. Those are things that we’ll always ask of Ryan or whoever is back there.”
Tannehill has completed 67.3 percent of his passes for the Titans and was a Pro Bowl selection in 2019. He has thrown for 10,295 yards, 76 touchdowns and 27 interceptions in 45 games (43 starts) with Tennessee.
Overall, Tannehill has passed for 30,729 yards, 199 touchdowns and 102 interceptions in 133 career games (131 starts) for the Miami Dolphins (2012-18) and the Titans.
–Field Level Media