Tua Tagovailoa

Dolphins Cooling On Tua, Warming Up To Justin Herbert?

The Dolphins have been heavily connected to Tua Tagovailoa for months, but they’re far from locked in on him. The Dolphins have concerns about Tagovailoa’s ability to recover from his serious hip injury and, beyond that, they’re worried about his long-term durability, sources tell Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. At the same time, they’ve been drawn more and more to Oregon star Justin Herbert, sources say.

[RELATED: Charges Against Dolphins’ Xavien Howard Dropped]

Even owner Stephen Ross has spoken on the record about Tagovailoa’s question marks. It’s a debate that will take place in the front office of any team considering the quarterback – had he stayed healthy, Tagovailoa likely would have been the consensus No. 1 overall pick. Now, teams need to take a close inspection of his hip and also weigh the effects of his previous ankle injuries.

With the No. 5 pick, the Dolphins could have every QB available to choose from, with the exception of LSU’s Joe Burrow. Their concerns about Tagovailoa could lead them to Herbert, who boasts arm strength, size (he stands at 6’6″; one inch taller than Ben Roethlisberger), and the ability to escape pressure in a collapsing pocket.

By the same token, Tagovailoa has been the much more accurate passer of the two and has demonstrated superior field vision. The latest news doesn’t mean that the Dolphins will select Herbert at No. 5 overall, but it’s a strong reminder that draft plans are far from settled in February.

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Latest On Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa

Good news for Tua Tagovailoa. The Alabama product’s latest CT scan showed that his fracture has healed and his hip’s range of motion is solid, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

Tagovailoa likely needs another month before he’s cleared for football activities, but it’s a big step in the right direction for the highly-coveted quarterback. Things are trending in the right direction and Tagovailoa’s camp expects him to test well at the draft combine later this month (Twitter link).

There’s been tons of chatter connecting the 6’1″ passer to the Dolphins, though owner Stephen Ross admits that he’s concerned about his medicals. If all goes well, the Dolphins No. 5 overall pick could represent Tagovailoa’s floor in the draft. If the medicals uncover serious red flags, however, there’s no telling where the one-time consensus top pick will land.

Quarterback Joe Burrow, of course, is expected to be the first overall pick of the Bengals. Beyond that, Tagovailoa could wind up as the second quarterback drafted in April. Other top signal callers like Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Utah State’s Jordan Love offer potential, but no one presents the same kind of upside and game-changing talent as Tagovailoa.

As a sophomore, Tagovailoa threw for nearly 4,000 yards with 43 touchdowns against just six interceptions. He went on to finish second in Heisman voting, behind Oklahoma star Kyler Murray.

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Extra Points: Dolphins, Tua, 49ers, Vikings

There’s been a lot of buzz about former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa going to the Dolphins in the draft. We heard recently that the southpaw’s family wanted Miami to nab him, and there’s been a connection there for a while. Tagovailoa is obviously dealing with a serious hip injury, and it’s clearly a concern for the Dolphins. Miami’s owner Stephen Ross spoke to reporters earlier today and said “he’s a great player. I just worry about his health,” per Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com (Twitter link). That would seem to indicate Tagovailoa to the ‘Phins is far from a done deal. We heard a couple of weeks ago that Miami wanted Joe Burrow, and that they were willing trade up to go get him. Of course, this all could be some gamesmanship from Ross to throw other teams off the scent. Despite the injury, Tagovailoa will reportedly throw for scouts in a private workout at some point before the draft. That workout will go a long way toward determining where he goes in the draft.

Here’s more from the football world as the Super Bowl approaches:

  • We heard earlier today that the 49ers were considering former Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard to fill the secondary coach role that is about to become vacant when Joe Woods officially becomes Cleveland’s next defensive coordinator. Richard apparently isn’t the only candidate though, and San Francisco is also considering former Miami secondary coach Tony Oden for the position, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Oden has also coached DBs for the Saints, Jaguars, Buccaneers, and Lions in recent years.
  • Vikings guard Pat Elflein is getting a big raise. His base salary for 2020 was set to be $960K, but that will be bumped all the way up to $2.147MM now due to the NFL’s proven performance escalator, per Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune (Twitter link). The program is for players drafted in the 3rd-7th round that are headed into the final year of their rookie contracts, who have received a lot of playing time during their first three years. That certainly is the case for Elflein, who has started at least 13 games in each of his first three seasons. A third-round pick from Ohio State, he was Minnesota’s starting center in 2017-18 before kicking over to left guard last year after the team drafted Garrett Bradbury.
  • In case you missed it, Sammy Watkins isn’t ruling out taking a pay-cut.

Latest On Tua Tagovailoa

Still in consideration for the No. 1 overall pick and a good bet to be a top-10 choice, Tua Tagovailoa nevertheless said he was close to returning to Alabama for his senior season.

The early-entry quarterback said during an appearance on PFT Live his decision to enter the draft after his junior year was more difficult than most assumed it would be. But Tagovailoa is in the draft and continuing to rehab his injured hip. He is expected to be the second or third quarterback chosen, with Joe Burrow still the odds-on favorite to go No. 1 overall.

The Dolphins’ interest in the southpaw passer has not exactly been a secret, and even though Miami’s No. 5 pick may be enough to land Tagovailoa, the team is prepared to trade higher into the top five if necessary to land whichever prospect it prefers. If it were up to Tagovailoa family, they would “love” for the Dolphins to trade up with the Lions and make the pick, per Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. The Lions have certainly done well to throw anyone off the scent, committing to Matthew Stafford. But if this is an elaborate smokescreen, Detroit’s long-term uncertainty in the GM and head coach roles is not as enticing for the Tagovailoas as going to Miami, per Salguero.

Tagovailoa, who was the frontrunner to be the 2020 No. 1 pick going into his final Crimson Tide season, confirmed he remains on schedule to make a full recovery. He will not throw at the Combine, but the plan for a late-March or early-April pro day remains. His next benchmark will be an MRI and CT scan in February.

My main goal is not to win the 40, not to win the bench press, but to win my medical,” Tagovailoa said during an appearance on the NFL Network’s Super Bowl Live (via NFL.com). “I’m going to go over there looking to win my medical and then go in and interview with the teams. That’s pretty much what I’m going to do. And then hopefully there’s a pro day down the line, either late March or early April.”

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Latest On Top QB Prospects

A long list of teams have question marks at the quarterback position heading into the offseason. Well, one executive believes many of the organizations will solve their predicament via the draft. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller talked to a personnel executive who believes five quarterbacks will be selected in the top-15 of this year’s draft.

This might not sound all that shocking; among the teams with top-15 picks, only five of those organizations have used first-round capital at the position in the past two drafts. You could easily talk yourself into one of the other 10 teams selecting a quarterback, and a team outside the top-15 could easily trade up. However, it is notable that the executive was willing to speak so definitively.

As Miller explains, there’s a pretty clear pecking order atop the quarterback draft board: Joe Burrow (LSU), Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama), some combo of Jordan Love (Utah State) and Justin Herbert (Oregon), Jacob Eason (Washington), and Jake Fromm (Georgia). Miller notes that the Chargers, who are selecting sixth-overall, are particularly interested in Love.

Miller himself believes six quarterbacks will be selected in the top-50, and he notes that part of the urgency to select a signal-caller could be attributed to the falloff after the top-six options. The next-best prospect, Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, struggled during Senior Bowl practice this week, and Hawaii’s Cole McDonald projects as more of a fifth- or sixth-rounder.

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Bengals To Consider Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Chase Young

While favored to take Ohio native Joe Burrow at No. 1 overall, the Bengals are considering three other players for the top pick. The LSU standout is, of course, among this group. But the team is also studying Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert and Chase Young for the pick, Albert Breer of SI.com reports.

The Bengals have stepped back from a report indicating they will not trade the No. 1 pick, but Breer notes the team is not expected to move down. Bengals brass praised the Heisman winner recently, and while it would be a borderline shock if they did not draft Burrow, the team plans to conduct on-campus visits and bring in each player for pre-draft workouts. Burrow, however, is still believed to be the frontrunner, per Breer.

Young is regarded by some as the best pass-rushing prospect available in years, and both Tagovailoa and Herbert entered the 2019 season with much higher profiles than Burrow. Young remains a strong bet to go to the Redskins at No. 2, and if the Bengals do draft Burrow, there could be some jockeying for position at the Nos. 3-4 slots (held by the Lions and Giants) for Tagovailoa and Herbert.

After throwing 16 touchdown passes in 13 games as a junior, Burrow tossed a record-setting 60 in the Tigers’ national championship season. Zac Taylor asked Burrow’s father, Jimmy — who, like Taylor, played at Nebraska — to see if Joe would go to the Senior Bowl, Breer adds. But Joe Burrow declined to attend the Mobile, Ala., showcase.

It is interesting as well to see a pecking order emerge before the Combine, though the Bengals’ top need is not exactly a secret. As such, Young may be trailing the three passers.

We know what Joe is on tape; we know what Tua is on tape; we know what Justin is on tape,” Bengals player personnel director Duke Tobin said, via Breer. “Our role right now is to try to find out what we don’t know — how his leadership works, how his football mind works, how quickly he adapts to different situations, what his overall personality is, what it’s like being around him on a regular Tuesday. How much passion do they have for the game? … We’re trying to get at those types of things, with every player we do, but particularly the quarterbacks.

“… I feel like I’ve got a long way to go, because I’m just now starting the process of asking people close to them what they think of them.”

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Dolphins Prepared To Move Up In Draft?

If the Dolphins want to move up to the No. 1 pick for LSU’s Joe Burrow – or to another pick for any other player – they’ll have the ammunition to get a deal done. This week, GM Chris Grier, who has a bevy of picks this year, publicly acknowledged the potential for a big jump on the board. 

At the same time, Grier pointed out what we all know – around this time of year, teams are eager to spread information that benefits them in order to drum up leverage. In other words, the Dolphins almost certainly want to come away with their quarterback of the future in this year’s draft, but their eagerness to land Burrow or any of this year’s other signal callers might be overstated.

Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa is among the prized QBs in this year’s crop and many have connected the dots between him and the Fins. For what it’s worth, Grier says he doesn’t feel pressured to roll the dice on the one-time consensus top prospect who has serious question marks due to his hip injury.

We’ll evaluate him just like every player,” Grier said. “When people were talking about [us taking him], we said we weren’t tanking. We were trying to win and build. And so to say one player was attached to us, you can’t control what fans and people in the media say. So there’s no pressure for us. The pressure for us is to find the right guy to be the quarterback for the Dolphins, whether it’s him or someone else. That’s the pressure. Finding the right guy to lead the organization.”

For now, the Dolphins are slated to pick at No. 5 where Tagovailoa and other top QBs besides Burrow will be available. After that, they’re up again at Nos. 18 and 26.

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Tua Tagovailoa Expected To Throw For Teams By April

Tua Tagovailoa will have a pre-draft workout process; it just may be limited compared to most quarterbacks who have entered the draft. But the Alabama prospect is expected to be ready to throw by April, according to agent Leigh Steinberg (via Mike Rodak of The Birmingham News).

Tagovailoa, who declared for the draft last week, plans to hold an approximate 40-minute session in which he throws 60-80 passes for teams, Steinberg said. It is not certain the southpaw will be ready to throw by Alabama’s March pro day, but the other plan would be to hold an independent session closer to the draft.

Given the nature of his hip injury, this spring session might be all teams have to go on (as far as pre-draft work) going into the April 23 event. But as of now, the plan is for Tagovailoa to also work out for teams individually before the draft, per Rodak. As for the Combine, Tagovailoa will do interviews but will not go through the drill circuit or throw.

The two-year college starter is expected to be a first-round pick, with many mocking him to the Dolphins at No. 5 overall. The Crimson Tide superstar rocketed into the NFL draft picture with a dominant 2018 season, which ended with the then-sophomore throwing 43 touchdown passes and six interceptions for a one-loss team. This season, Tagovailoa had a 33-3 TD-INT ratio before being carted off in a mid-November game against Mississippi State. He underwent surgery soon after and is expected to make a full recovery, though he cautioned he may need to make some adjustments to account for his surgically altered hip.

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Tua Tagovailoa Enters NFL Draft

Tua Tagovailoa is going pro. On Monday, Alabama’s star quarterback announced that he will enter the 2020 NFL Draft. 

[RELATED: Updated 2020 NFL Draft Order]

Tagovailoa was long expected to enter the draft this year, but his brutal hip injury and subsequent surgery threw those plans into flux. Before the injury, Tagovailoa was projected to be the No. 1 overall pick. Now, between that and the emergence of Heisman Award winner Joe Burrow, no one is quite sure where he’ll land.

After the injury, doctors told the QB that he’ll be able to play football again at 100%. Even then, Tagovailoa conceded that he’ll have some barriers to overcome.

I don’t think I’d be the same again because there’s, like metal in here, you know?” he said. “I lose some rotation inward, so I won’t be able to twist as much inward and whatnot. I wouldn’t need that as much. When you’re running, you’re almost always opening up your hip. From the doctors say, they expect a full recovery and I’ll be able to go out there and play football again at 100 percent, it’s just I won’t be able to rotate it internally the same way.

Tagovailoa could have positioned himself as the top prospect in the 2021 draft by returning to school and turning in another strong season, but that would have come with significant risk. Instead of gambling, he’ll cash in his chips now and, in all likelihood, wind up as a first-round selection.

If tests and workouts show that Tagovailoa is truly 100% healthy – or close to it – he could still land somewhere in the top 10. The Lions could theoretically use the No. 4 pick to select Matthew Stafford‘s successor, though they have other pressing needs to fill. The Dolphins could also consider Tagovailoa at No. 5 and ease him into things with Ryan Fitzpatrick serving as their Week 1 starter.

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Tua Tagovailoa On Hip Injury, 2020 NFL Draft

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa recently suffered one of the most significant injuries in recent college football history. Previously a near-lock to go toward the top of the first-round, if not first overall, there is suddenly a ton of uncertainty surrounding the star passer since his devastating hip injury. Speaking to the media at a recent press conference, Tagovailoa provided an update on his recovery and his thought process regarding the upcoming draft. 

First, he described what was going through his mind on the field when the injury actually happened. “Yeah, I couldn’t comprehend anything,” Tagovailoa said Thursday, via Michael Casagrande of AL.com. “I had a concussion at the same time when I was on the ground. I think my body was just in such a traumatic state that I couldn’t really feel too much. I just know that, well from what I could remember, with every little movement I made on the ground, I was hurting. That’s all I can remember.

While the signal-caller said his doctors have told him he’ll be able to play football again at 100 percent, he did concede that things will never be the same internally. “I don’t think I’d be the same again because there’s, like metal in here, you know?” he said. “I lose some rotation inward, so I won’t be able to twist as much inward and whatnot. I wouldn’t need that as much. When you’re running, you’re almost always opening up your hip. From the doctors say, they expect a full recovery and I’ll be able to go out there and play football again at 100 percent, it’s just I won’t be able to rotate it internally the same way.

While that might sound worse than it actually is, Tagovailoa indicating he’ll have to change at all physically doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence. Interestingly Tagovailoa said he recently talked with legendary running back Bo Jackson at the Iron Bowl, and Jackson told him not to rush the process. Many people initially compared Tua’s hip injury to the one that ended Jackson’s football career, but Tagovailoa called them “two totally different situations with our hips.”

Finally with respect to the draft, Tagovailoa said he is still seriously considering returning to Alabama for his senior season. That being said, he seemed to indicate that he’ll go pro as long as the feedback from teams is good and suggests he won’t fall too far. When asked if he was projected to be a top 10-15 selection he acknowledged “that’d be tough to pass up” but also said “there’s a lot more to it in that aspect,” per Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). We should know a lot more about Tagovailoa’s intentions shortly.

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