How worried are NFL teams about Tua Tagovailoa’s health? The answer varies, but the signals are pretty significant.
According to Bob McGinn of The Athletic, three NFL teams have taken Tagovailoa off their draft boards entirely due to concern about his durability. There is a fear that Tagovailoa could develop avascular necrosis, the loss of bone tissue, due to the hip injury he suffered last November, which would be a major long-term problem for his NFL career.
McGinn surveyed 18 NFL personnel people and askedthem to rate their concerns about Tagovailoa’s durability on a scale of 1 to 10, and the average came out to be 7.6.
“I’m playing the odds,” an AFC personnel man said. “I don’t want to put my whole franchise on a left-handed, beat-up, 6-foot quarterback. No thank you.”
With that level of concern, it’s no wonder that there seems to be a growing consensus that Tagovailoa might not be the second quarterback taken after all. There’s no doubt about his skill, but the injuries and durability — combined with the inability for teams to get a good look at him right now — are an enormous issue that can’t be fixed or calmed before the draft.
The Miami Dolphins are widely expected to take a quarterback with the fifth overall pick in next week’s NFL Draft, but there has been plenty of debate over whether they prefer Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert. One thing we now know, however, is that they tried to get a close look at Tagovailoa right around the time life as we know it came to a screeching halt.
The Dolphins scrambled to try to get Tagovailoa to Miami just before the NFL put a stop to visits between teams and prospects due to the coronavirus pandemic, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. While team doctors were able to examine the former Alabama star at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, they were hoping to get a closer look last month.
The Dolphins‘ doctors last were able to examine Tua Tagovaiola at the combine, but have not been allowed to have any contact with him, or any prospect, since. https://t.co/0kr7TCbprU
It’s obvious the Dolphins have some level of interest in Tagovailoa. If not for injury concerns, Tagovailoa would have had a shot to be the top overall pick in the draft ahead of Joe Burrow. That’s the primary reason some experts expect Miami to take Herbert over the former Alabama star.
Tagovailoa’s lengthy injury history was already a concern for teams, and the coronavirus restrictions could prevent him from being able to ease some of that. While the footage we saw from his pro day looked promising, the inability of teams to have their doctors examine Tua closer to the draft may complicate things further for him.
It is a foregone conclusion that Joe Burrow is going to be the first overall pick in next week’s NFL Draft, but the quarterback situation is a bit uncertain after that. While there will likely be three quarterbacks taken in the top six picks, the order in which they will be selected has been a topic of great debate in recent weeks.
More specifically, there is not much consensus on whether Justin Herbert or Tua Tagovailoa is a more promising NFL prospect. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network polled a dozen general managers and executives from different teams, and seven of them predicted Herbert will be drafted ahead of Tagovailoa.
“It was not a very complex passing offense (at Oregon), but the kid is more than cerebral enough to pick that up, and he’s got a big-time arm,” one AFC executive said of Herbert. “The concern is, at the top of his drop, deciphering coverage — he just doesn’t have a lot of experience doing that, so he’s going to take some time. I just think he’s got a really high ceiling.”
Obviously, most of the talk surrounding Tagovailoa has been about his ability to stay healthy. The former Alabama star would have contended with Burrow to be the top overall pick if he didn’t suffer so many injuries in college, the most recent of which was a hip injury that required surgery. The clips from his private pro day seemed to indicate that Tagovailoa is fully recovered, but many feel it is a matter of when — not if — he suffers another significant injury.
Analysts have been all over the map with their predictions about Herbert and Tagovailoa. The reality is it’s almost impossible to separate the truth from a smoke screen this close to the draft, and we won’t know until we hear one of their names called.
The Miami Dolphins are expected to target a quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft, and it seems likely that they will use the No. 5 overall pick on one. Tua Tagovailoa looks healthy and his stock is rising at the perfect time, but at least one top draft analyst believes the Dolphins prefer Justin Herbert over the former Alabama star.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper released his latest mock draft on Tuesday, and he has the Dolphins selecting Herbert at No. 5 and Tagovailoa going No. 6 to the Los Angeles Chargers. Kiper explained his rationale in an appearance on “Get Up!” and said he has heard from sources that Tagovailoa’s injury history is a still a big concern.
“Durability concern is why I dropped him. Some think he could drop a little farther than that,” Kiper said. “It’s not only just about the injuries he’s had, but protecting his body and not taking hits. Will he learn to do that once he’s in the NFL?”
As for Herbert, Kiper said he doesn’t understand why people are saying the former Oregon star has a low ceiling.
“He’s got a ton of talent. His upside is through the roof,” Kiper said. “He’s got as much physical athletic ability (as anyone). He’s super intelligent, rocket arm, he can run … he’s got awesome talent. Will it come together in terms of anticipation and all that in the NFL? We’ll see.”
Teams are doing their homework for the virtual NFL Draft at the end of April and trying to figure out which players best suit their needs. While this is certainly a strong draft for defensive players, there’s plenty of talent on the offensive side of the ball as well. If you’re in need of a wide receiver or offensive lineman, this is a draft rich in talent at both of those positions, but that’s not all.
Here are the five best offensive players in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Is Tua Tagovailoa prone to injury? He certainly doesn’t think so.
The former Alabama quarterback made an appearance on Instagram Live with Maryland coach Mike Locksley on Friday. In it, Tagovailoa defended himself against the “injury-prone” label, stating that injuries are simply a part of playing the game.
“I’m not playing badminton. I’m not on the swim team,” Tagovailoa said, via ESPN. “[Football] is a physical sport. You’re gonna get hurt. That just comes with it. And it was just very unfortunate that I got hurt every season.
“It’s a part of the game. It’s a contact sport. I can only control what I can control. I can’t control that.”
Tagovailoa has had his share of injuries, culminating in a dislocated hip that prematurely ended his final season at Alabama. While his recovery is encouraging, there are definitely concerns about his durability. Tagovailoa is right that he can’t control that, but that won’t silence concerns from teams who may have worries.
Tua Tagovailoa held a virtual pro day on Thursday to give teams an idea of how well he has recovered from hip surgery, and it seems like the workout could not have gone much better for the former Alabama star.
Trent Dilfer, who organized the drills for Tagovailoa, provided a detailed breakdown of the workout to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. Dilfer said the workout was scored by a third party quarterbacks coach. Of the 52 routes Tagovailoa threw, 38 were scored as “perfect.” Only three were sub-par. Dilfer also said Tagovailoa showed incredible arm strength, with his most impressive throw being a 40-yard strike he delivered while sprinting to his left.
Mortensen then obtained video footage of the workout from an NFL team. He shared several clips on Twitter. You can see some of them below:
“This kid has as much horsepower as you could ever want and incredible twitch to go with it,” Dilfer said. “I’ve never been around a kid that throws it better.”
Tagovailoa’s surgically repaired hip does not appear to be any issue heading into the draft, and all indications have been that he should still go in the top five. The risk, of course, is that he has a lengthy injury history and a good chance of getting hurt again at some point. However, the reward will likely be worth the risk for a team in need of a quarterback.
The 2020 NFL Draft is coming up soon and will continue as planned despite major global adjustments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, NFL teams are still doing their due diligence, poring over game tape and re-watching NFL Combine workouts to get a feel for the players they can no longer work out privately. It’s an interesting and unexpected adjustment, and it’s having equally interested and unexpected impacts on players.
Here’s a look at five players who have either seen their draft stock rise or fall in recent weeks and months.
The common belief is that Miami Dolphins will target a quarterback in the NFL Draft, and that they will probably use the No. 5 overall pick on one. Joe Burrow is expected to be taken first overall. The Redskins (No. 2) and Giants (No. 4) took quarterbacks last year and are extremely unlikely to take one. That means only the Lions at No. 3 — or a trade — could come in between Miami and a quarterback.
We have long believed that the Dolphins want Tua Tagovailoa, which is exactly what Todd McShay thinks.
McShay and fellow ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. were answering fan questions on ESPN Tuesday. They were asked about the chances of the Dolphins taking Tagovailoa at No. 5. Both analysts have Miami taking the former Alabama quarterback at No. 5, but Kiper mentioned a rumor about Justin Herbert possibly being taken ahead of Tua. That led McShay to more than roll his eyes.
McShay isn’t a fan of Herbert’s tape and would even prefer Utah State quarterback Jordan Love over the Oregon QB.
The Dolphins entered last season pretty much with the intention of tanking. They even traded away multiple talented players in order to accumulate draft picks. We believe it has been their intention all along to take Tagovailoa, and they likely will soon have their chance.
NFL teams want nothing more than to get a good playmaker in the NFL Draft. Teams want that help on either side of the ball; guys who get big sacks or blow up plays in the backfield are just as valuable as an explosive receiver or running back, after all. The only prerequisite is making big plays at the NFL level.
Here are five players set to be drafted in the first round who are likely to do just that.
5. Henry Ruggs, WR
Let’s start with the simple fact that Ruggs ran a 4.27 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. That’s among the best wide receiver times ever, so it’s obvious that the Alabama receiver has elite, game-changing speed. It has led to some Tyreek Hill comparisons, and it’s no secret that Hill is one of the league’s elite playmakers. Ruggs does pretty much everything well, but that speed, more than anything else, makes him hard to contain. He has everything in place to be one of the most explosive players in the NFL.
4. Isaiah Simmons, LB
Simmons can do it all on defense and might be the best athlete in the draft. A classic defensive playmaker, he has speed and length and the ability to counter running quarterbacks and blow up plays. It’s not exactly clear where Simmons profiles at the next level — he can play as a linebacker or even a defensive back very effectively — but there’s no disputing that he has all the tools to be a dynamic weapon on defense in the NFL.
3. CeeDee Lamb, WR
If you want playmaking, you’ll love Lamb. While he’s not the fastest receiver in the class, he’s a monster when it comes to yards after the catch. In 2019, the Oklahoma star averaged 21.4 yards per reception, better than any of his peers atop the draft board. He has great hands and can make defenders miss, and he looks to have the profile to be a big-play threat at the next level. That may make him the first receiver off the board.
2. Tua Tagovailoa, QB
Tagovailoa’s draft stock may be hindered some by injury concerns, but as long as he’s healthy, there’s no better playmaking quarterback in the draft. Tagovailoa can do a bit of everything — he can run it for big plays, or he can beat teams with his arm. He’s the perfect modern quarterback in a league that is quickly coming to value versatility and mobility as much as anything else. It’s debatable whether Tagovailoa should rank as the best quarterback in his class, but he’s undoubtedly the most dynamic.
1. Chase Young, DE
One way to be viewed as a playmaker is to blow up others’ plays. That’s what Young is going to do a lot of at the NFL level. He’s an explosive pass rusher who collected 16.5 sacks in 2019, and he has every opportunity to become elite at the NFL level. He’s been heralded as one of the best defensive line prospects in years, and he’ll be able to overwhelm some NFL offensive linemen from day one. If Young isn’t posting elite sack numbers in his career, it will be a disappointment. He has all the tools to do so.