The Miami Dolphins might have committed highway robbery at the 2020 NFL Draft as they stole the former Alabama QB, Tua Tagovailoa with the 5th overall pick on Thursday night.
Someday the Bengals, Redskins, Lions, Giants, and all the other NFL teams that didn’t move up to select arguably one of the best college quarterbacks of all time might just have “Aaron Rodgers” draft night regret.
Let’s start with the hip injury and the coronavirus pandemic which both had an adverse effect on Tagovailoa draft status. Starting with what we do know about the hip injury. This was a dislocated hip—with a fracture to the posterior wall—which happened in November. In February, the Dolphins doctors examined Tagovailoa extensively at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and gave him a passing grade.
Since the combine, there have been several reports which surfaced that the Dolphins are totally comfortable with Tagovailoa medical reports. He was also cleared by his medical team and even underwent a medical recheck back in early April and passed with flying colors.
In an interview on ESPN’s SportsCenter, in early April, Tagovailoa said, “I’m 100 percent right now” and that he was “ready to go.” He went on to say “I feel like if I had to go out there and perform the same way I did my sophomore year and my junior year, being 100% healthy, I feel like I’d be able to go out there and do that,”
Then there’s the report that surfaced earlier on Thursday saying his X-rays were “pristine.” Not to mention his workout in April with Trent Dilfer which he passed big time.
NFL Teams Don’t Understand Hip Injuries
Clearly NFL teams stayed away from Tagovailoa because of his hip injury. It had nothing to do with ankle sprains or the broken index figure he suffered at Alabama. Sure he has had some injuries along the way, but football is not chess, and players are unfortunately likely to get injured numerous times throughout their careers.
If Tagovailoa had a knee injury he would’ve probably been the first or second pick, but most GMs in the NFL can’t wrap their heads around a hip injury for such a young athlete.
Then there’s the coronavirus pandemic which prevented Tagovailoa from meeting with teams during the months leading up to the draft. He did conduct his own pro-day and posted his videos across all the social media networks known to mankind.
The Dolphins Refused to Let Greatness Swim Out The Door
“We’ve always talked about going through the process. (Dolphins head coach) Brian (Flores), myself, the coaching staff and scouts – watching him for a couple years and finally getting – meeting him at the combine and getting to know (Tagovailoa) and find out what type of person he really is, which we all heard great things,” Grier said. “You really get to sit down and talk to people and you don’t really truly know.
“I think for us, it was going through our process. There were a lot of talented players and we really liked Tua and we felt very comfortable at the end of the day that he would be a fit here and bringing him here.”
Assuming all those medical reports are true the Dolphins just drafted a franchise-changing passer who should be able to rid them of Dan Marino’s ghost.
Since Marino retired back in 2000, the Dolphins have gone through 20 quarterbacks as they’ve struggled to replace the greatest Dolphin quarterback of all-time.
As for Tagovailoa, the stats don’t lie as he owns the college football career passer rating record by a stunning 18 points. He is clearly the most efficient quarterback in the history of college football.
Pin-point accuracy, athletic playmaking, a strong enough arm, and grade-A decision-making really check all the box’s on what you’re looking for from a franchise quarterback.
Like Tagovailoa stats, the game tape doesn’t lie, his dynamic greatness shines through in every game he played in at Alabama. I really can’t wait to see the lead up to the 2030 NFL Draft when ESPN’s Mel Kiper is forced to talk about the regret that all those NFL teams have for passing up on Tagovailoa.