The 2020 NFL draft is just seven days away, and the time for answers is now. Who do the Miami Dolphins select with the fifth overall pick? Do they trade up? What about Tua Tagovailoa’s injuries? Justin Herbert’s ability to win?
All of the information that has come out so far has either been a badly kept secret or a bad job concealing intention by the Dolphins’ front office. The latter would be crazy.
The Dolphins are about to pull off one of the the most elaborate smokescreens in NFL Draft history or they have failed miserably in hiding their love for Justin Herbert.
We will find out in 10 days.
— Matt Cannata (@CannataPFN) April 14, 2020
This tweet is exactly what most Dolphins fans are thinking, but for most, the mystery has only surrounded Justin Herbert and not Tua Tagovailoa.
Either the Dolphins are executing the greatest smokescreen in draft history, or they are inept and unable to keep their draft intentions secret. https://t.co/u55BRUn7qt
— Matt Infante (@MattyInfante) April 14, 2020
amazing. https://t.co/UZFMlEzEKu pic.twitter.com/lnupEHbOqY
— josh houtz (@houtz) April 14, 2020
Joe Burrow — QB LSU
Joe Burrow will not slide to the No. 5 pick. Let’s start with that. Burrow came into this season as a surprise all-star QB and went on to win the Heisman Trophy and a national championship with Louisiana State University. Burrow was electric. He showed the energy that teams would want from their starting QB. He’s confident, accurate, dominant and humble. It’s no shock to any football fan that Burrow is confident in himself.
#LSU QB Joe Burrow is smoking a cigar. Officially a National Champion. pic.twitter.com/Y63LS5tqUQ
— Reggie Chatman Jr. (@ReggieChatman) January 14, 2020
For the sake of this site, I won’t include tweets with Burrow’s Twitter nickname given after the national championship game. But he shows his confidence even while smoking a cigar.
“There’s this thing that when Joe Burrow is in the huddle, the other 10 guys are going to believe in him & that’s not always automatic with a lot of these other big arm guys.” — @ryenarussillo pic.twitter.com/r5RZdn4380
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) March 27, 2020
Players know they will win when he’s in their huddle. Burrow is confident that he can be the main factor in his team’s winning or losing. Players want to compete and win with him. In his own words, he’s a winner.
This play got called back but Joe Burrow just has such rare instincts and accuracy when the play breaks down. He’s extraordinary out of structure. pic.twitter.com/QBHyDFo9yN
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) April 10, 2020
I mean come on, the dude has IT. He will be drafted No. 1 by the Cincinnati Bengals unless they shock the world and take Herbert, who they worked with at the senior bowl. Burrow has the “it factor” that every GM is looking for. If he slid to five somehow or the Dolphins traded up with their haul for the first pick, it would be amazing.
Tua Tagovailoa — QB Alabama
If Alabama QB Tagovailoa never had a hip injury this season, he would be the No. 1 overall pick and best QB in the class. Like Burrow, Tagovailoa is a winner and showed it on the biggest stage of them all.
Love Tua’s game…should be a top 5 pick!
One concern that can’t be addressed with pro-day is that he seems to think he is more elusive than he is…The injuries stem from a commitment to evade without the ability to do it completely
Should play more like Brees not Wilson https://t.co/XOfEW4Awuv
— Joel Klatt (@joelklatt) April 10, 2020
The talent set that he possesses is outstanding, and his character is even better. He’s a great kid and it’s tough for anyone to root against him. Honestly, he is a natural-born leader and it’s no surprise to fans and scouts alike that he is so highly sought after.
I won’t go as far as some might with the Drew Brees comparisons because I think comparing college players to NFL stars is a waste of time. You never know what a player will turn out to be. Hell, Brees was an outcast when he was a member of the then San Diego Chargers. He was even scouted to not be as great as he is today. Meaning? Everyone has their misses and slam dunks.
I love Tagovailoa’s game and if not for the injury, he would be the consensus No. 1 QB in the draft. However if you love him despite the injuries and want to fall in love with him even more, I suggest going through this entire thread from Joshua Houtz. It pinpoints every part of his game and what his potential could be.
first thing to remember when watching these clips is that tua was at about 70-80% in this game, due to his ankle injury
watching tua run playaction is a thing of beauty. here, he quickly sets and waits for his WR to cross the field. pass is a little high but on target. 1st down. pic.twitter.com/E23fT69dTU
— josh houtz (@houtz) December 12, 2019
I’ve said I love his game and how great he could be, however, the injuries are too concerning to warrant a top-five selection. The issue with Tagovailoa isn’t even his hip, it’s his history. He’s been hurt every year of his college career. The ankles and now the hip, which is in a good state according to his doctors and reports league-wide. He even had a “pro-day” in Tennessee with former NFL QB Trent Dilfer.
Here’s Tua’s Pro Day footage obtained from an NFL team. Enjoy the thread. (1/7) pic.twitter.com/MnGlSEF7LC
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) April 10, 2020
To me, this only shows that Tagovailoa is working again. I think it’s a great PR move from him and his team, and I’m assuming they sent it league-wide. He looks good. But there is no reason he shouldn’t in a workout designed for this purpose. He is a great prospect and there isn’t any doubt about that. We’ll never know the true state of his hip and where he’s at in his progress. It’ll be a waiting game until draft night and something each fan is desperate for. Remember, the NFL handles young QBs on a measurement of “what can you do for me now.”
Justin Herbert — QB Oregon
It depends on what side of the coin you prefer when it comes to Herbert. There is the crowd that likes Herbert but prefers Tagovailoa. Then there are those who compare Herbert to Ryan Tannehill. It would be interesting to see how opinions change if he is in fact selected with the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft. Maybe others will flip the switch just like I did.
Nah this ain’t it
— Kai’Chien Chisholm (@SamuraiiRadio) October 7, 2018
Last year there was no chance I would “sell the farm for Herbert.” I still wouldn’t. But he is a fascinating prospect who gets a lot of slack from Dolphins fans simply for not being named Tua Tagovailoa. He’s been deemed too safe, a Ryan Tannehill clone, no personality, not a leader. The list goes on and on.
Herbert is talented. There is no doubt about that. Every single prospect has flaws and none should be thrown under the bus for them. He has had inconsistency issues and didn’t exactly light up the world in Oregon. But he was always consistent with accuracy and arm strength, and truly taught himself. The latter reminds you of Josh Rosen, doesn’t it? Oregon never had a great offensive coordinator or coaches to properly fix flaws in his game. These flaws can be fixed in the NFL.
When Herbert is good, he’s really good and it shows on tape.
If we are going to critique Justin Herbert, let’s at least be fair. Accuracy is not his problem. It’s consistency. He can be ridiculously accurate.
Like this one, dropping a dime against the 15th ranked defense from 20+ yards out. pic.twitter.com/N1aA8XyK4m
— Matt Infante (@MattyInfante) April 9, 2020
The issue with Dolphins fans has truly been that Herbert isn’t Tagovailoa. This is sad because we truly break down each QB prospect we hate and dismiss the issues of those we love.
If you watch film + don’t like Justin Herbert, be my guest. But please watch the film + don’t just join the merry-go-round. He started 43 games at Oregon, w/ a 4:1 TD to interception ratio w/ a mild coaching staff and inferior support cast. Elite size, athleticism + arm strength.
— Neal Driscoll (@NealDriscoll) April 9, 2020
What I believe most fans are letting blow past them is the real interest the team has had in Herbert over the past four years.
Let me add to the below by saying that I know for a FACT that this was not the first time Mike Tannenbaum has been out to see Herbert in person. And Tannenbaum is not the only member of the Dolphins contingent that has been out to see Herbert in person. But will Herbert declare? https://t.co/4gdlPPUlSK
— Matt Infante (@MattyInfante) November 15, 2018
Matty Infante is a co-owner of Pro Football Network. He is very connected in the Dolphins circles. I encourage all fans to look back at tweets from Infante and Cannata over the past few years. You’d be surprised how much the team liked Herbert in 2019. The interest is still real.
What’s the final assessment though? Who should the team pick? Justin Herbert. I said it November 18, 2019, here on SFMN and I stand by it. Herbert isn’t a safe pick, he’s the pick. Don’t get me wrong, If Tagovailoa were healthy and never had an injury concern, I’d trade the farm for him. No question and if in 15 years he is more successful, I’ll never be afraid to admit I was wrong.
The injuries are just too concerning to draft him at No. 5 or higher. This isn’t the same scenario we had with Brees all those years ago. Nick Saban and his staff had the chance of Brees returning to football at 25%. They weren’t willing to take the chance. Tagovailoa will return to football and there is no doubt in that. He’ll just come with injury concerns.
However, I’ll say this. Not one person other than Tagovailoa knows his injuries and his body. Not even a doctor can tell him what he can or can’t do anymore. Plus with the draft, you need to check once, twice, three times and maybe even a fourth with a source to know what is true or not. I trust Infante and Cannata’s information because they’ve been consistently right in the past.
So if there is a true interest in Tagovailoa or Herbert, they’ll know. We’ll have all the coverage of the draft here on SFMN but remember, no matter who the team drafts on April 23, that person will have the undying support of the fans. We hope they’ll take us to the promised land.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified Justin Herbert in the opening photo as Joe Burrow. We regret the error.