Half of the quarterbacks taken in the 2012 NFL Draft will likely be gone and forgotten within just a few years, so it's hard to take seriously any undrafted FA quarterback signing at this stage of the offseason. Then when you add the fact that Alex Tanney is known as a "trick shot quarterback," that only makes any real NFL potential seem even more of a stretch. But NFL Draft analyst Thomas Melton says Tanney actually has a real shot to make it in the National Football League.
When the Kansas City Chiefs signed Tanney yesterday, it was clear that he'd make for an entertaining story while providing a fourth quarterback for camp purposes. With so many offensive drills going on, it's worth bringing in another arm on hand. Yet Melton says Chiefs fans might be surprised in the end if the Chiefs will commit to developing him.
We recently sat down for a quick Q&A with Melton about Tanney's pro chances:
SBNKC: Can you give us your take on the jump from Monmouth to the NFL?
Melton: It's going to be a big jump. DIII to the NFL is tough for anyone to accomplish, but especially for QB's. If you run a 4.3 at WR in DIII you have an idea of how that translates. With QB's it is a bit of a guessing game with how quickly and how well they will adjust to processing information faster and to the overall speed in the NFL which is a huge change from DIII.
He was a winner at Monmouth though and came back strong after a knee injury that took away most of his 2010-2011 season so he is dedicated.
What is it that you like so much about Tanney?
I believe he has a high football IQ and he is willing to work and improve. He seems coachable, and while all of these things are the bare minimum a UDFA must have to succeed, at least he has them and therefore a chance. He's got the pedigree since he was essentially born and bred to be the starting QB at Monmouth and he shattered records there, probably because he could have played at the D-II level (though that is just my own speculation).
He's got the size, arm talent and accuracy to stick on a NFL roster, and if he gets in the film room and picks up what the coaches are trying to teach him then I think he has a good chance to stick on the practice squad as a developmental prospect. There are no guarantees, but I think he has the skill-set to stick in the NFL as a back-up at least. Whether he develops into anything more than a #3 or #2 QB on a NFL roster is up to him.
You weren't the only one to like him that much, right?
I didn't come out with a final set of rankings, but I know Ben Allbright, the founder of NFL Draft Monsters, had him ranked in his final top 15 quarterbacks. I definitely like him more than some other guys that have gotten signed as UDFA's, but the bias from him being a D-III QB probably has as much to do with him trying to get a shot as anything else. He can play, he just needs a chance to go to training camp, fight off the nerves that are there for the first day -- or a try-out, like he had in Buffalo -- and settle into a groove.
If he can do that, and it sounds like he will be able to in Kansas City, I think he can make the practice squad. The one unfortunate thing for him being on the Chiefs is that with Cassel, Quinn and Stanzi they have 3 solid, but not spectacular quarterbacks. Unless one of them, more likely to be Quinn than anyone else, absolutely bombs in camp and preseason and Tanney looks great he probably won't have a great shot to make the roster.
Do you see an ideal scenario for him in KC?
The ideal scenario would be Quinn getting cut, Stanzi being the primary back-up and Tanney making the roster as the #3 developmental guy. That doesn't sound very likely, but it's the best case scenario for him. More likely he will open their eyes enough to stick on the PS, or if he doesn't play very well he will likely get cut unfortunately.
What are the weakest aspects of his game at this point?
As for weaknesses, I think he needs to work on his footwork. He made throws look easy in DIII without great footwork but only guys with truly elite arm talent can get away with inconsistent/bad footwork -- Jay Cutler for example. He has enough arm talent to have a shot, but he needs to improve his footwork.
He worked with Chad Pennington this offseason and Pennington mentioned something similar in a video I just retweeted today. Needs to get his feet on same level as his throwing mechanics. Other than that, he just needs to adjust to the speed of the game. He seems to take coaching well so that helps.
Why hasn't he caught on before now? Obviously such numbers at Monmouth would make anyone's head turn.
That I can't answer for sure. I know Buffalo gave him a try-out but he isn't the overly athletic type, he's a pocket passer, so they elected to sign Vince Young instead. The Chiefs like pocket passers though so he has a shot to be the #3 or #4 QB or stick on the practice squad in my opinion. It also probably doesn't help that he is widely known as a trick shot quarterback more than a NFL caliber pocket passer. But he can play.