Part of the 2024 NFL Draft‘s seemingly endless senior QB group, Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa is one of the more intriguing passers in the mix. With his scouting report, can the younger Tagovailoa earn a selection on draft weekend?
Taulia Tagovailoa Draft Profile and Measurements
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 200 pounds
- Position: Quarterback
- School: Maryland
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
The Tagovailoa name is football royalty at this point. The eldest brother of the Tagovailoa family — Tua — was a CFB national champion, a Maxwell and Walter Camp Award winner, and the fifth overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. He’s since developed into a Pro Bowl-caliber passer with the Miami Dolphins.
Next in line for the Tagovailoa mantle is Taulia, Tua’s younger brother and former backup. In fact, Taulia joined his brother Tua at Alabama in 2019. But in 2020, Taulia sought out a starting opportunity at Maryland.
An injury limited Taulia to four games in 2020, but in 2021, he roared back with 3,860 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 11 picks on almost 70% completion.
2022 featured a slight regression from Tagovailoa, who completed 67% of his attempts for 3,008 yards, 18 touchdowns, and eight picks. But he was still an All-Big Ten performer and became Maryland’s all-time leader in career passing yards and passing TDs — with 2023 left to play.
2023 was another solid year for the Terrapins veteran. Tagovailoa completed 66.4% of his passes for 3,377 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 11 picks, at 7.7 yards per attempt.
Tagovailoa’s Scouting Report
- Flashes impressive velocity in the short ranges and over the middle of the field.
- Showcases the necessary arm elasticity to adjust his arm angles on short throws.
- Can keep his shoulders level and maintain velocity when working off-platform.
- Above-average athlete who has enough speed to evade rushers and reach the sideline.
- Can levy quick one-cut movements to offset defenders in space and get extra yards.
- Has enough hip flexibility to torque his midsection while rolling across his body.
- Steps up to avoid looping rushers and can seep into space through outlets.
- Able to keep his eyes forward on his drop and look off safeties, opening the boundary.
- Has shown to work left to right and trigger on open second reads with urgency.
- Has the patience and discretion to wait for optimal second-window throws.
- Has demonstrated the ability to climb the pocket and use controlled shoulder tilt on deep passes.
- Overall, has solid rotational mechanics and areal accuracy, giving WRs chances.
- Possesses a good feel for trajectory manipulation and lofts throws into buckets.
- Savvy veteran with good awareness and ball handling on play-actions and options.
- Tough competitor who plays to win and puts it all on the line in high-pressure moments.
- Arm strength is near average; velocity doesn’t consistently carry down the field.
- Athleticism, while above average, is not elite and cannot be an offensive centerpiece.
- Deep passes float and lose pace, allowing defenders to regain positioning underneath.
- Can be over-zealous and test tight windows that he doesn’t have the arm to challenge.
- Footwork can be staggered on his drop, and heel clicks sometimes lock out his hips.
- Base can be too narrow in-phase, causing lopsided shoulder alignment on release.
- Sometimes kicks up back foot on release, tipping front shoulder and causing low misses.
- Release can be somewhat winding and concentric, delaying throw arrival times.
- Doesn’t always have the necessary poise to trigger on open WRs with pressure coming.
- Sometimes needs receivers to be completely open before triggering.
- Field vision and anticipation can be more consistent.
- High-pressure situations can source erratic decisions and increase turnover risk.
- He’ll be a 24-year-old rookie in 2024.
Current Draft Projection and Summary
Tagovailoa grades out as a late Day 3 prospect and potential PFA. It’s not a guarantee that he’ll be selected in the 2024 NFL Draft, but he has some appeal for teams in search of backup candidates who are serviceable.
Experience and maturity may separate Tagovailoa in the late-round and PFA mix. He was a starter for the better part of four seasons at Maryland, and while that experience never fully ironed out decision-making aberrations, there’s enough utility present for Tagovailoa to earn a chance.
It’s worth noting that Tagovailoa isn’t a liability from a talent perspective. He has a baseline degree of arm talent and is an above-average athlete with solid creation capacity and off-platform ability. His arm strength is much closer to average than elite, but he can generate enough velocity in the short range.
For Tagovailoa, the issues revolve more around a lacking ceiling than a lacking floor. His non-elite arm talent and athleticism do detract from his ultimate potential, and he needs to be better on the operational side to compensate.
Tagovailoa’s no doubt a savvy veteran with good over-arching accuracy, processing ability, and toughness — but lingering issues with mechanics and decision-making bear watching, especially after some stagnation in 2023.
Having said all this, Tagovailoa has steadily toned down the volatility in his game since first becoming a starter in 2020. That volatility remains in some capacity, but he’s at least a league-average talent with good toughness, resolve, pocket navigation ability, off-script utility, and general accuracy — all hallmarks of quality NFL backup quarterbacks.
Tagovailoa doesn’t have NFL starter upside, but for the price of a late Day 3 pick, he can be a stable QB3 to start and possibly develop into a quality backup at a cheap cost.
NFL Draft Scouting Reports
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