Tua Tagovailoa has declared for the 2020 NFL Draft. On the surface, there had to be significantly less certainty that would even happen after a gruesome hip injury put a sudden halt to his season. If Tua was healthy, he and Joe Burrow would be fighting it out for the number one overall pick this upcoming draft. But this injury could create some interesting opportunities for other teams, depending on how far he slides down.
His injury will give some teams pause, but there’s no denying his talent. It’s hard to say anyone will repeat what Patrick Mahomes did for the Chiefs in his rookie year, but Tua has enough talent to at least win Offensive Rookie of the Year. I’ve laid out 3 possible landing spots for him in order of overall likelihood and also one dark-horse team that most people wouldn’t expect to go after him. Let’s dive in.
With the 5th overall pick in the draft, this seems like one of the most likely landing spots for Tua. Miami has made it no secret that they’re in rebuilding mode. With a bevy of draft picks in the upcoming draft, the most important objective for Miami remains finding a cornerstone quarterback to build around with all their draft capital and cap space.
The Dolphins found something with Devante Parker this year, and pairing a dynamic receiver like him with Tua would be enough to make any offensive coordinator drool. Couple Tua and Parker with a dynamic rookie running back and maybe one more game-breaking wide receiver from this skill position-rich 2020 draft class and we could be looking at an entirely different offense. One that may actually strike fear into opposing defensive coordinators.
For all intents and purposes, it looks like Phillip Rivers is on his way out the door in L.A.. Armed with the 6th overall pick in this upcoming draft, it’s looking increasingly likely that the Chargers will spend that pick on their quarterback of the future. Justin Herbert out of Oregon has been the quarterback most linked to the Chargers, but if Tua’s injury concerns cause him to slide all the way down to number six, that’s too good of a bargain for L.A. to pass up. They certainly have the offense to let a guy like Tua thrive.
Although Melvin Gordon’s future with the team remains cloudy, the Chargers have an excellent backfield overall, with Austin Ekeler having a breakout season and Justin Jackson proving to be a very capable backup whenever he’s called upon. The wide receiving core is not too far behind, with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams being a perfect complimentary one-two punch, and Hunter Henry proving to be a steady presence at tight end. Could Tua be the one to resurrect this dying fan base as the Chargers move to their fancy new home stadium in Inglewood?
While Dallas was never a real possibility outside of a draft day trade (they have the 17th overall pick), their recent hiring of Mike McCarthy strengthens that possibility. Dak Prescott is an unrestricted free agent, and while he had some great moments in 2019, he also was highly scrutinized, and people started to question if he can perform against upper echelon defenses.
Now, being the QB of a team like Dallas will inevitably put you under the microscope more than the President of the United States, but Dak repeatedly couldn’t come through in the big moment. While it’s unfair to put all the blame of their middling 8-8 record on him (we’re looking at you, Jason Garrett), Mike McCarthy may be inclined to start completely fresh at the position, and choose “his guy”.
McCarthy was incredibly fortunate with his time in Green Bay to coach two Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. I’m not a scouting expert by any means, but Tua has a much more similar profile to Favre or Rodgers than Prescott does. If not for the gruesome hip injury Tua suffered late in the season, he’d be a slam dunk top 3 pick.
McCarthy would be absolutely giddy if Dallas trades up to get him, and pairing him with Cooper (contract pending) and Ezekiel Elliot would give McCarthy and Jerry Jones a similar new-age version of the triplets (Aikman, Smith and Irvine) that won them three super bowls back in the 90s. Package DeMarcus Lawrence with a future 1st rounder and this becomes an entirely plausible scenario.
New England Patriots?
Let me be clear. This is by far the least likely of these four teams I’ve highlighted to get a quarterback like Tua. But pretending to know what New England is thinking at any point in time leading up to the draft is a fool’s errand. Tom Brady has yet to sign a new contract with the Patriots. He also turns 43 years old before the start of next season and is coming off a down year. Could New England shock the world and make a blockbuster draft-day trade to get the heir apparent to Tom Brady? We’ve all seen weirder things happen in an NFL draft.
Picture Source: Saturdaydownsouth.com
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