Ryan Fitzpatrick’s stay as the Miami Dolphins’ starting quarterback will not be lasting much longer, but he does not seem worried. In fact, Fitzpatrick is embracing his role.
Fitzpatrick was a guest on Eric Wood’s “What’s Next” podcast episode that was published on Monday. The two were teammates on the Buffalo Bills, and Fitzpatrick talked with Wood about how he plans to mentor Tagovailoa, who was drafted No. 5 overall by Miami in April.
Fitzpatrick expressed that he has told Tagovailoa he is available to provide advice and mentor him. He called himself Tua’s “biggest cheerleader.”
It’s unclear whether the Dolphins plan to have Tagovailoa start the season, but letting Fitzpatrick begin the year as the starter for a few games might make sense. Tagovailoa is coming off hip surgery and is at a disadvantage given the lack of offseason activity. Fitzpatrick started 15 games for the Dolphins last season and helped them win five games, so he might be good for continuity.
Given his attitude, he will make a perfect mentor for Tua.
The NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award can be tough to predict. It’s based as much on opportunity as anything else; if you don’t play as a rookie, you’re obviously not going to excel. Add in the uncertainty of predicting how a first-year player will adapt to the league, and it can be a bit of a crapshoot.
Still, we can make some educated guesses based on opportunity and ability. With that in mind, here are our five early favorites for 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The top-selling jersey in the NFL since the NFL Draft? It isn’t new Tampa Bay Buccaneers players Tom Brady or Rob Gronkowski, nor is it top pick Joe Burrow.
An NFL spokesman announced that Tua Tagovailoa’s Miami Dolphins jerseys are the top two sellers since the draft, according to Cameron Wolfe of ESPN. His aqua home uniform is the top seller over the last two weeks, while the road white version is No. 2.
Four different versions of Brady’s new Buccaneers uniforms occupy spots three through six, while Gronkowski’s jersey is seventh. Burrow’s black Bengals home uniform follows at No. 8.
If nothing else, the Dolphins have hit on a marketable star. Tagovailoa is clearly popular across the entire league, and he may not even be a year one starter. He’s also going to be a very wealthy young man.
It’s a done deal: Tua Tagovailoa has signed his rookie deal with the Miami Dolphins.
Tagovailoa has officially signed, according to various reports, and gets a $19.6 million signing bonus that is fully guaranteed.
While a formality, everyone will be happy to see this sorted out. The rookie quarterback is expected to compete for the starting job in Miami with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.
We already knew what jersey number Tagovailoa will wear, and it won’t be that of one of the most legendary quarterbacks in league history.
Tua Tagovailoa will be carving out his own path with the Miami Dolphins.
Tagovailoa wore jersey No. 13 while in college at Alabama. That was Dan Marino’s number with the Dolphins, which led many to wonder whether Tua would make a switch. We have learned that he will.
The Dolphins on Tuesday shared the uniform numbers of their new players. Tagovailoa will be wearing No. 1.
Marino is regarded as the last true franchise quarterback for the Dolphins, and his career ended after the 1999 season. His No. 13 was retired by the team. Miami has waited over two decades for another star quarterback. The pressure is already on Tua, so there was no reason for him to add even more pressure by matching the Hall of Famer’s number.
Marino made the Pro Bowl nine times, won an MVP, led the NFL in passing yards five times and touchdowns three times. If Tua can come anywhere close to matching that, the fans should be more than satisfied.
It appears that chatter about Tua Tagovailoa falling out of the top half of the NFL Draft may have been overblown.
The Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers both went quarterback at No. 5 and 6 of the NFL Draft, with the Dolphins making Tagovailoa the selection. Chargers general manager Tom Telesco confirmed Tuesday that had Miami gone with Justin Herbert instead, Los Angeles would have happily selected Tagovailoa.
Instead, the Chargers get Herbert, and they’re quite happy about it. He’ll compete for the starting job going forward.
There was talk that Tagovailoa could drop out of the top 15 and really go into freefall if he made it past No. 6. Perhaps that was true, but based on this, it seems that there was never any real danger of the quarterback getting past the Chargers even if the Dolphins passed on him.
How much did Tua Tagovailoa’s virtual pro day help the Miami Dolphins decide to draft him?
According to coach Brian Flores, it was an “important” factor in the team’s decision-making process.
“I mean, it was important,” Flores said, via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk. “I remember it came out, Chris [Grier] sent it to me, and we were pretty much watching it at the same time. Got on the phone after that and said you know looked pretty good, so it kind of just reinforced or confirmed some of the things that our doctors had mentioned to us. It was important. It was good to see it. He looked good in the tape, but obviously you know that is nine minutes. That is very different from having a two-hour practice or playing in a game so, but I thought he looks good for where he was and you know where he was, where he was when he initially got the injury and where he was at that point.”
The big issue was Tagovailoa’s health after his hip injury. By all accounts, he’s in good shape. Seeing him throw and be mobile — even on video — had to be at least slightly reassuring from the Dolphins’ perspective.
The first round of the NFL Draft is finished, with a handful of surprises spreading across the round. Some teams benefited from players who slid, while others made bold picks that could make or break the franchise for years to come. There’s a reason it’s one of the most important days of the NFL calendar, after all.
So who did the best? Here are the five best picks of the 2020 NFL Draft’s first round.
5. Broncos select Jerry Jeudy 15th overall
There were rumors that the Broncos were going to try to move up to draft Jeudy. They managed to get him without even having to trade up. Jeudy is an incredibly well-rounded receiver who should be ready to get volume targets immediately. That’s great news for young quarterback Drew Lock, who will want weapons to assist his effort in becoming the franchise quarterback. Jeudy is a perfect weapon, and he should improve the Denver offense immediately.
4. Dolphins select Tua Tagovailoa 5th overall
The Dolphins were comfortable with Tagovailoa medically, and that was all that mattered. They tuned out the noise, pushed aside the chatter about a trade, and drafted a franchise quarterback. As long as Tagovailoa stays healthy, he should be a success in the NFL. For Miami to get him at No. 5 when it looked like he was going to be the consensus No. 1 pick a year ago is a huge win, and they did the right thing when it came time to make the pick.
3. Ravens select Patrick Queen 28th overall
One of the best value picks of the round, Queen was one of the defensive MVPs for LSU’s championship team. He fits in with the Ravens perfectly, as he fills a need and is likely to be ready to start immediately. Queen is a dynamic player who goes sideline-to-sideline, and with so much talent on defense around him, he won’t be under huge pressure or a massive spotlight. The Ravens are great at developing quality defensive players, so don’t be surprised if Queen follows in that tradition.
2. Buccaneers select Tristan Wirfs 13th overall
Tampa Bay’s offseason plans have revolved around Tom Brady, and so does this pick. Brady has weapons in Tampa, but he needed protection. The Buccaneers responded by getting their new quarterback one of the top offensive linemen in the draft while only having to move up one pick to do so. Wirfs was another player who was expected to go in the top ten, but the Buccaneers were the beneficiaries of his modest slide. Brady, for one, should be very happy.
1. Cardinals select Isaiah Simmons 8th overall
Simmons might be the best athlete in the draft. He can play all over the defense, which should provide the Cardinals with significant flexibility as they scheme against the talent in their division. With Arizona’s offense looking to be on the rise, they needed defense here. Simmons was a top five pick in the minds of some, so for him to drop to No. 8 is a major coup. Simmons has all the tools to be a star, and might become the new leader of the Arizona defense in the years to come.
The Miami Dolphins are beginning a new era and have a franchise quarterback to build upon.
The Dolphins on Thursday selected Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 5 overall pick in the draft. They shook aside any questions about Tagovailoa’s medical history and recovery from hip surgery and decided he was their guy.
This outcome is not too surprising.
Miami went into the 2019 season effectively with the plan of tanking. They traded away Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills to Houston, and dealt Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh. They got destroyed in their first few games of season before turning things around late and winning five games. But it was clear the front office’s intention was to accumulate draft picks and build for a future in the AFC East when the Patriots would be weakened. Their plan worked out.
The Dolphins got the quarterback I believe they wanted all along, and they still had four more picks in the top 56 to do damage with. They also had a big offseason in free agency, adding Byron Jones and Kyle Van Noy to their defense. The Patriots, who have dominated the AFC East the past two decades, are moving on from Tom Brady.
Miami could not have timed their rebuild any better, and now they have a quarterback who has great upside. Was Tua the product of playing alongside talented offensive weapons and a good line? To some extent he was, but he’s an accurate and mobile quarterback who should put up big numbers in the NFL.
Nick Saban coached Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama for three seasons and is preparing to see his former quarterback move on to the NFL. Saban believes in Tagovailoa but thinks Tua has some areas he needs to improve.
Appearing on ESPN’s College GameDay with Rece Davis Thursday, Saban talked about Tua’s prospects in the NFL. He said Tagovailoa will do well and teams should overlook the medical issues that have supposedly scared some front offices. But he did make a suggestion.
“Look, I think Tua needs to learn a little bit about self-preservation,” Saban said. “I think most of his injuries [at Alabama] occurred after he got rid of the ball. He didn’t have to take the hit that he took. And I think that he is a great competitor and he’s always trying to make a play, so you don’t want to take that competitive spirit away, but I do think there is a time when he needs to get rid of the ball so he doesn’t get hit. But everything else he can do as a quarterback.”
Saban then said he hoped teams wouldn’t make the same mistake he made in Miami where they passed on Drew Brees because of medical concerns about the quarterback’s shoulder. Brees signed with New Orleans and began a Hall of Fame career with them, while Saban’s stint in Miami didn’t go well and he went back to Alabama. Interestingly, an ESPN analyst made the same situational comparison with Tagovailoa that Saban did.