All eyes Monday will be focused on Tuscaloosa and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, as he will announce his decision on whether or not he will enter the 2020 NFL Draft. We’ve been tracking the news regarding the decision leading up to Monday’s announcement.
If he does decide to enter the draft, there are a few teams that would certainly love to obtain his services, as they’ll be in the market for a signal-caller. Here are a few teams that would fit well with him, as well as whether his injury should affect his draft decision.
It certainly makes a ton of sense that Tagovailoa would fit right in with the Dolphins. Before the season, the expectation from fans and media was “Tank for Tua” for the Dolphins. Fast forward through the season and the Dolphins won five games and still have an opportunity to draft Tagovailoa. A win/win situation.
There’s no question Ryan Fitzpatrick had a fine season for Miami in helping guide this roster to five wins, including big wins against division champs Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots. He might even be the Week 1 starter in 2020, but eventually, Tagovailoa would get his opportunity, likely sooner rather than later. The team is also equipped with plenty of draft picks to surround Tagovailoa with the protection and weapons he needs to succeed in the NFL. Having players like DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Mike Gesicki, and Albert Wilson is a nice head start.
The expectation is that the Bengals will select LSU QB Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in the draft come April. That doesn’t mean Tua wouldn’t be a good fit there, either.
This is a complete rebuild for the Bengals with an offensive-minded head coach in Zac Taylor. You would have to think Taylor would scheme some sort of plan to tailor his offense to the strengths of Tagovailoa.
Having a running back like Joe Mixon to help take the pressure off is also key for a rookie quarterback.
All that said, everyone would go nuts if the Bengals actually make this pick.
Los Angeles Chargers
If Miami happens to pass on Tua with the fifth overall pick, the Chargers would be a good spot with the sixth pick. It’s certainly not a low chance that Philip Rivers actually signs somewhere else in free agency, which would leave Tyrod Taylor as the starting quarterback.
Needless to say, the Chargers need to start looking ahead at the position, and a player like Tagovailoa would provide quite the splash as the Chargers move into their new stadium with the Rams next season.
The new coaching staff for the Panthers will have one key decision to make when they first get to the office: what to do with Cam Newton.
Even if they keep him for 2020, which is very possible, he is a free agent after the season. That’s where a player like Tagovailoa might come in handy. Perhaps the new staff would see him as a younger version of Newton with the strong arm and excellent mobility.
Like with Cincinnati, if Tagovailoa somehow lands in Carolina, he’ll have a pretty good running back to rely on, as well as a dynamic receiver in D.J. Moore. Tweaks need to be made to the offensive line, so it would take some time, but if Carolina is moving on from Newton, it would be a complete rebuild anyway.
Will Tua’s hip hold up?
There is also (legitimate) worry on the hip injury for Tagovailoa and some that think he may return to school and try to guarantee himself more money as a higher draft pick in the 2021 draft.
In a league where quarterbacks are always being pushed up the board, and teams are always trading up for quarterbacks (i.e. Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes), Tagovailoa still has a legitimate chance to be selected high in the draft. Even if he is not the first overall pick, he could still stand to make plenty of money as a potential top-ten pick, where a majority of your contract is guaranteed. If he somehow were to fall to the second round, he would hear his name called very early in round two. However, teams love that fifth-year option and trading back into the first round to ensure that option, as we’ve seen with quarterbacks such as Lamar Jackson and Teddy Bridgewater. That’s why Tua’s floor might be, at the absolute worst, the end of the first round.
So while there is the risk of him falling to the second round and not making as much money, there is also risk in returning to school. One is obviously the injury risk factor. There’s always a chance he gets banged up again next season if he returns to Alabama, who will once again be in the national championship hunt and undoubtedly one of the favorites.
The other is the fact that he will almost certainly not be the first quarterback taken in 2021, either. In all likelihood, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be the first pick in the draft next year. So then it becomes another game of how far would Tagovailoa fall in the draft, and how much will he have cost himself from 2020.
I’m all for players doing what is best for them, whether that’s turning pro or going back to school. However, if he still feels he will be a high enough pick in 2020, overcome his injury, and possibly take part in the Scouting Combine, then he should feel okay making the leap into the NFL.