Who will select Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 NFL Draft?

Is anyone really surprised Tua Tagovailoa isn't returning to Alabama? The real question is, where will the flying Hawaiian end up?

Let’s be real for a second. Is anyone really surprised right now? Tua Tagovailoa’s decision to enter the draft just proved what we already knew. 

After setting records, finding his pathway and becoming the face of College Football, Tagovailoa will say goodbye to Alabama. The Flying Hawaiin, Prince who was promised, Surfer Signal-Caller, whatever you want to call him, had nothing to prove following his freshman campaign other than if he was the real deal. 

Spoiler alert: he was. 

The Crimson Tide’s man under center wowed the SEC for two and a half seasons, looking as if his arm skills alone could carry a roster. In his second season, he threw six interceptions — his first coming in November to rival LSU. This past year, he threw only three. Accuracy, poise, touch, speed; a few words to describe the many attributes Tagovailoa will bring to a NFL roster in the coming months. 

The one concern is the hip. In November, Tagovailoa suffered a gruesome hip injury that forced him to undergo immediate surgery to repair it. Some believed initially that it could be career-ending, much like the one suffered by former Auburn star Bo Jackson. 

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Tagovailoa spoke to medical personnel. After receiving the thumbs-up he should be cleared to play once again. Following that, over 7,000 career passing yards, 96 career touchdowns and a rating of near 200, there was nothing left for him at Bryant-Denny Stadium. 

“I’m optimistic that I’ll be able to play this upcoming season, but I think for me, right now, I’m more worried about getting better as soon as possible, seeing what I can do [in the pre-draft process],” Tagovailoa said. “It’s all dependent on what the doctors have to say to the teams and what the results come back in as.”    

Everyone will wonder if he will be any good at the next level. Here’s the reality. 100% he will. Tagovailoa was always a top 10 pick — injury or not. 

A franchise quarterback

Teams are constantly looking for their next franchise quarterback when a veteran begins to dwindle. Four teams in the top 10 will be looking for a new man under center, leading more to Tagovailoa’s choice to declare early. The Cincinnati Bengals will likely take LSU’s Joe Burrow while the Washington Redskins should “settle” for Ohio State’s Chase Young at pick number two. 

Miami, Carolina and the other team from Los Angeles will all be in the market for a new man to lead the offense. The Dolphins at number five could be a likely destination due to their current QB situation. Ryan Fitzpatrick still has another year on his contract and the team isn’t built to contend in 2020. Pairing Tagovailoa with a veteran leader who could mentor him while also keeping the tank alive would benefit all involved. 

The Chargers will have a need for a QB should Philip Rivers walk this offseason. Even if he does walk, what’s stopping the team from not going after a player with Tagovailoa’s skills at pick number six?  A west coast style in an Anthony Lynn system would be fun to watch, and Keenan Allen or Mike Williams would love a long-term option to work with. 

As for the Panthers, their QB room could be fluxed with the arrival of a new coach. Should the new hire want to start fresh, Cam Newton could hit the market and test the waters for a new home. Kyle Allen and Will Grier certainly aren’t the answers for either the short or long-term plan. 

And then there are the teams who could look for Tagovailoa to join their contending team via trade. How much longer do the Saints have with Drew Brees? What about New England? With the news of Tom Brady potentially leaving, shouldn’t Bill Belichick find his next man up? Even lesser teams such as the big three in the AFC South could be looking at Tagovailoa as a worthy option for their futures. 

Detroit could pull a sneak attack at pick number three and take the Hawaiian sensation for themselves. With Matthew Stafford on the wrong side of 30 and a season-ending back injury perhaps adding to the flames, maybe the Lions find their future QB. Keep in mind that Stafford has a potential out following the 2021 season. 

Outside of Washington and New York, who drafted their hopeful franchise quarterbacks, every team inside the top seven will consider a gunslinger. If Tagovailoa is healthy enough, who’s to stop them. 

Tagovailoa’s stock

In the end, Tagovailoa’s draft stock might plummet from pick number one. Perhaps that’s a good thing as the Bengals seem like a better fit for Burrow anyways. But for those wondering should Tagovailoa have returned to school, let’s be frank; he never was. 

He won’t make it past Carolina at number seven — and even then that’s if someone doesn’t trade up to grab College Football’s most exciting player. 

 

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