On Monday, I was very happy that Tua Tagovailoa announced he was turning pro. The Miami Dolphins this year have been scouting all of the quarterbacks that are were going to be draft eligible and Joe Burrow along with Tagovailoa are clearly the best of the group. The Dolphins have the 5th pick in the draft so they will probably not have a chance to get Burrow unless they trade up to the number 1 pick or if he slides for some reason. The Cincinnati Bengals have the 1st pick and need a quarterback so I don’t see them passing on Burrow, but they are the Bengals, so anything is possible. Tagovailoa has been the wild card because of his unfortunate dislocated hip injury and will in all likely hood not be able to play next year so he could slide to the Dolphins at pick 5.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) January 11, 2020
Before the injury, Tagovailoa was best quarterback prospect in the draft in my opinion. He does a lot of things that most quarterbacks can’t do coming into the draft right away. He reads defenses well and goes through his progressions, so he doesn’t zero in on one receiver like a lot of quarterbacks coming out of college do. However, the thing that jumps out at me when I watch Tua is his accuracy. He always puts the ball in the spit where the receiver can make big play. Whether it be on the deep, a quick slant pass, or a pass to the running back out of the backfield he puts the ball where it needs to be. Accuracy is something you can’t coach. A quarterback has it or doesn’t. Since Dan Marino retired, the only quarterbacks the Dolphins have had that has the accuracy is Chad Pennington and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Tagovailoa, like Pennington and Fitzpatrick, is also a natural leader and commands the huddle something the Dolphins have lacked from a young quarterback.
Obviously, the biggest concern with Tagovailoa is his injury history and I won’t dispute that it makes me nervous. However, 13 years ago the Dolphins had a chance to sign Drew Brees and Dante Culpepper, both quarterbacks coming off serious injuries. Doctors felt Brees’ injury was a bigger risk and Culpepper was the better option. Well we all painfully know how that turned out. Like I said earlier, Tagovailoa’s injury will probably keep him from playing this year, but the Dolphins have a good situation at quarterback where Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen can play this year while he rehabs. One of my biggest frustrations with the Dolphins since Marino retired, is the team doesn’t take a chance on a quarterback in the draft for various reasons. The price is too steep to trade up or the quarterback isn’t big enough, like Russel Wilson was said to be when the Dolphins passed on him in 2012. The medical reports and stuff are going to be huge, but I’m sure general manager Chris Grier and others in the front office have been keeping close tabs on the situation.
One thing that’s been said about Tagovailoa is that he has great talent at the University of Alabama and any quarterback can look good. Well if that’s the case then why didn’t Jalen Hurts put up big numbers and let him pass him on the depth chart in 2018. Also Burrow at LSU has a ton of talent around and players that are going to get drafted high in the next few years. Plus, LSU has had a ton of receiver talent the past decade with Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry to name a few, but the quarterbacks over the years haven’t produced at LSU so the quarterback does matter.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) January 9, 2020
The other quarterback the Dolphins could take at 5 is Justin Herbert from University of Oregon. He has all of the physical tools, has a big arm, and is mobile. However, I’ve watched all of his games and he is too inconsistent for me. I see the talent, but he doesn’t play up to his talent week in and week out. Like Tagovailoa, Herbert has talent around him. He has one of the best offensive lines in college football, a good running game and receivers, but yet he struggles at times. In the Rose Bowl, a week ago he was so inconsistent throwing the ball and won with his legs when he needed too. In today’s NFL game quarterbacks have to be mobile, but at the end of the day you also have to make big throws in big spots and don’t see that in Herbert. He reminds me of another Jay Cutler a lot of talent but can’t put it together. Herbert looks more like a game manager. In his games this year when his team ran the ball he did well, but when things weren’t going well, he would be all over the place. It reminds me Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen where he needs everything to go well and manage the game. A quarterback has to raise his teams’ level of play and make big throws in big spots. Fitzpatrick did that this year with the Dolphins with no running game and a poor offensive line protecting him. He made throws to keep the Dolphins in games and won a few at the end of the season. That’s what the Dolphins need in a quarterback when things aren’t going well can the quarterback make the throws to help his team. The Dolphins need a quarterback like that and not a game manager. Fitzpatrick is 38 years old, so he isn’t the long-term solution. Tagovailoa when Alabama was down by 3 touchdowns against Burrow and LSU this year, brought the team back with big throws to put them in position to win the game. They lost in a shoot-out, but he showed he could do that if needed. I don’t see that in Herbert.
In April the Dolphins need to take Tua. Best case scenario he falls to the Dolphins at pick 5 and they don’t have to give up any of their first of second round picks, but if the Dolphins have to trade up they have no excuses because they have more drafts picks than anyone in the league. Tua comes with risk with his durability concerns, but if you want big rewards take a big risk here. I’m tired of the Dolphins making excuses for not taking a quarterback this high other than Ryan Tannehill and he wasn’t as talented at Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa’s accuracy and arm is elite sky’s the limit if you take him. If you don’t then you could see another Drew Brees go by.