Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill has been the talk of the town during the summer months of the 2021 NFL offseason.

Tannehill hasn’t gotten the attention because he did anything noteworthy. Rather, the focus on the Titans’ quarterback has come from pundits and analysts attempting to figure out where Tannehill ranks among the NFL’s 31 other starting quarterbacks.

The consensus? Not very high.

Analysts and reporters who don’t cover the Titans very closely continue to look down on Tannehill and think of him as nothing more than “that tall guy who hands the ball to Derrick Henry.”

Anyone who’s watched the Titans since Tannehill took over as the starter, though, knows that he’s been far more than a “game manager.”

Tannehill, along with Henry, has taken the Titans offense to heights it had only dreamt of under previous quarterbacks like Marcus Mariota and Matt Hasselbeck. He deserves to be in the same conversation as the NFL’s top signal-callers.

To prove that, my co-hosts of the No Nonsense Podcast and I pitted each NFL starting QB against Tannehill and voted on which one we’d rather have: Tannehill or the opponent. Whichever option received the majority of our three votes won out.

This is the resulting list:

Better Than Tannehill (6)

  • Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
  • Tom Brady, Buccaneers
  • Deshaun Watson, Texans
  • Josh Allen, Bills
  • Aaron Rodgers, Packers
  • Russell Wilson, Seahawks

Push (2)

  • Justin Herbert, Chargers
  • Dak Prescott, Cowboys

Worse Than Tannehill (23)

  • Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars
  • Carson Wentz, Colts
  • Joe Burrow, Bengals
  • Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
  • Lamar Jackson, Ravens
  • Baker Mayfield, Browns
  • Drew Lock, Broncos
  • Derek Carr, Raiders
  • Cam Newton, Patriots
  • Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins
  • Zach Wilson, Jets
  • Justin Fields/Andy Dalton, Bears
  • Kirk Cousins, Vikings
  • Jared Goff, Lions
  • Jameis Winston/Taysom Hill, Saints
  • Matt Ryan, Falcons
  • Sam Darnold, Panthers
  • Matthew Stafford, Rams
  • Kyler Murray, Cardinals
  • Jimmy Garoppolo/Trey Lance, 49ers
  • Daniel Jones, Giants
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick, Washington Football Team
  • Jalen Hurts, Eagles

The only players in the “worse than” category that even sprang a debate were Lamar Jackson, Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan. But even if you were to move those three players into the “push” category, Tannehill would still be, at best, the NFL’s seventh-best QB and, at worst, its 12th-best.

That’s not to say that my podcast compadres and I are some kind of definitive, end-all-be-all source on this issue. Rather, this exercise demonstrates that, when you put Tannehill head-to-head against the field, he performs very well.

The NFL has a lot of pretty bad quarterbacks, and Tannehill is a very good one.

Cover image: George Walker IV/The Tennessean


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