Boom, there it is, Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has declared for the 2020 NFL Draft. The star QB announced his decision in a press conference this afternoon. His love for the University of Alabama and his teammates made it a tough decision, he said.
It never seemed very likely that Tagovailoa would stay in school for his senior year, but the possibility was always there. He has been nursing a hip injury suffered during the season and it seemed like the door was cracked open for him to return. Instead, he moves on from the Crimson Tide and will be the talk of the NFL world until he is drafted.
LSU quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow seems to be a lock as the Cincinnati Bengals No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Tagovailoa’s place on the draft is very murky. From where we currently stand, he is locked to be picked by the Miami Dolphins at the No. 5 overall pick. It’s always been about Tagovailoa and he has, according to various reports, been the Dolphins guy.
Where do things get complicated for the Fins? Only one team in that top five has a chance of picking a QB, and that’s the Detroit Lions. I wouldn’t bank on them using their No. 3 pick on a quarterback. In fact, I’d be stunned if they did so. The three teams within a reasonable striking distance for a potential trade are the Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars. While it is possible for the Las Vegas Raiders, Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to move up from 12-14 respectively, it would cost them a lot. We’ve seen hauls like this before, i.e the Philadelphia Eagles moving up for Carson Wentz a few years ago, but it seems unrealistic for those three to do so.
Where does this leave the Dolphins? They are in a great position. If Tagovailoa falls to them and the medical evaluations are clean, he would be a steal at No. 5. If things change or the Fins don’t want to give up significant capital to get him, there is still Jordan Love from Utah State and Justin Herbert from Oregon. All three are viable quarterbacks with both great qualities and flaws.
For Tagovailoa, the issue is health and health alone. I believe that all fans have now seen that the Crimson Tide was not the same without Tagovailoa. He would be a clear No. 1 overall pick if he wasn’t injured. Remember when the Fins elected for Dante Culpepper over Drew Brees due to injuries. That mistake has been costly for years.
Herbert and Love both have NFL QB qualities, though the latter has been accused of lacking fire when he plays. Both will end up first-round picks.
Until the draft starts, it will be all Tagovailoa talk. He’s the reported apple of the Dolphins’ eye and will hopefully be the main man for years to come.