ESPN recently surveyed more than 50 league executives, coaches, scouts and players to help them stack the top 10 players at 11 different positions, from edge rusher to interior offensive lineman. They just revealed their defensive tackle rankings, with Tennessee Titans starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill did NOT make the list.
The quarterbacks ranked 1-10, in order, were Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Tom Brady, Joe Burrow, Matthew Stafford, Justin Herbert, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson and Dak Prescott. Lamar Jackson, Derek Carr and Kyler Murray didn’t crack the top 10, but did receive enough votes to indicate they’re considered 11-13. The last quarterback mentioned was Kirk Cousins, who didn’t generate enough votes to earn the dreaded “honorable mention” label, but did receive enough votes to earn a shout out, something Tannehill didn’t receive.
The process was rather straightforward. Voters gave ESPN their best 10 players at a position, which in turn was compiled into results and ranked candidates based on number of top-10 votes, composite average, hundreds of interviews, research and film-study help from ESPN NFL analyst Matt Bowen.
Tannehill likely would have made the list had he replicated the production he captured as Tennessee’s starting quarterback in 2020, but the 2021 campaign was unfortunately a massive step backwards for Tannehill. Tannehill finished the regular season with 21 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Tennessee’s passing offense ranked as a bottom-half unit in the league. Those numbers pale in comparison to the 2020 version of Tannehill that threw for 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions while leading the Titans to nearly 30 points per contest.
Tannehill’s reputation took another blow in the playoffs. The one-seed Titans held home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, but were upset by the Cincinnati Bengals at home in Nashville in their first postseason game. Tannehill was largely viewed as the scapegoat because he threw three interceptions throughout the course of the game, including a late back-breaking one that directly led to the Bengals’ game-winning drive.
The impending 2022 campaign qualifies as a massive season for Tannehill, who may not be on the Titans roster in 2023 if his upcoming performances are similar to last season’s disappointing nature.
League-wide decision-makers clearly don’t view Tannehill in the most favorable light currently.