NFL Betting: Which Team Will Draft Tua Tagovailoa?
At the time of writing, the 2020 NFL Draft is set to take place in Las Vegas at the end of April. And as I write this, the favorite to be the first player taken -- and thus the first quarterback taken -- is former LSU Tiger Joe Burrow.
But who will be the next signal caller picked? At present, oddsmakers believe that honor will fall on Tua Tagovailoa.
FanDuel Sportsbook has released odds on which team will select Tua, giving you a chance to make a bet during an otherwise down time for sports. Let's take a look at some of the betting options.
Miami Dolphins (-115)
In the early days of the 2019 NFL season, it looked like the Miami Dolphins and Tua were a match waiting to happen. I'm not suggesting that the Dolphins were active in #TankingForTua. They were really bad and looked destined to "earn" the first overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, which seemed like a lock to be Tua.
But then the Dolphins starting winning some games and fell out of contention for the first pick. But also, Tua suffered a hip injury (that he seems to be over), and Burrow and LSU took the nation by storm with their offensive deeds. This meant that the Dolphins, picking fifth in the draft, may still have a shot at Tua. Talk about fairy tales coming true.
The Dolphins have Ryan Fitzpatrick (under contract for the 2020 campaign) and Josh Rosen as their quarterback options at present. Fitzpatrick was adequate for the team's needs last season, while Rosen didn't show anything during his limited playing time. The Dolphins have done masterful work in acquiring an impressive war chest of draft capital, all of which could count for naught if they don't land the franchise quarterback that has eluded them since the end of the Dan Marino era.
If Miami thinks Tua is their guy, they can take him at five if he's there, or they can move up as high as the No. 2 spot to get him, assuming Burrow goes first. But even if they do draft Tua, the presence of Marino will still loom large as Tua won't be able to wear 13 for the Dolphins.
Los Angeles Chargers (+170)
The Los Angeles Chargers are moving into a new home and moving on from their franchise quarterback of the last decade and a half. Philip Rivers won't be the face of the franchise in the Bolts' new shared stadium, and try as they might, the team will struggle to excite a new fan base with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. Yes, Tyrod could be a bridge option, starting a few games until a rookie is ready. But in the long term, for this team to be successful and financially viable, it needs a young quarterback upon whom to base the whole enterprise.
The Chargers are currently set to pick at No. 6, and while they may like Tua, they might have stronger feelings for another prospect -- like Justin Herbert or Jordan Love . These are players who are more likely to be there when it comes the Chargers turn.
That being said, there are rumors that both head coach Anthony Lynn and general manager Tom Telesco are on the hot seat. Desperate times may call for desperate measures, so the Chargers could decide to move up in an effort to nab Tua.
Didn't Washington take a quarterback in the first round last year? Dwayne Haskins, right?
Well, yes, they did. But hear me out on this for just a minute.
The front office and coaching staff that drafted Haskins has undergone a major facelift in the year that has passed, with many of the major characters having no loyalty to this selection. On top of that, Haskins wasn't particularly good as a rookie. The offense he played on didn't exactly cater to his skills, I know. But among the 34 quarterbacks with at least 200 drop backs last year, Haskins ranked dead last in terms of Adjusted Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back. His mark was -0.11, a long way behind the players tied for the second-worst clip, Mason Rudolph and Daniel Jones (-0.03).
Picking second, Washington will have the chance to take Tua if they want to unless the Cincinnati Bengals shock us all.
There is a recent precedent of a team souring on a quarterback they took in the first round after only a season and then drafting another the year after. The Arizona Cardinals' new coaching staff in 2019 didn't want Josh Rosen, who the team drafted in the first round in 2018, and used the 2019 first overall pick on Kyler Murray.
Sure, maybe this is unlikely. But consider this -- Washington has franchise tagged right guard Brandon Scherff and are rumored to be in on the Jack Conklin sweepstakes. Conklin would likely play right tackle for Washington, giving them a considerable presence on the right side of their line -- or the blindside for a left-handed quarterback like Tua.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+4800)
This is a longshot, as evidenced by the considerable odds on this line. But if you look closely, you could envision a scenario in which it takes place.
The Jacksonville Jaguars' choice at quarterback going into 2020 appears to be between Nick Foles and Gardner Minshew. Foles was awful in his limited action last season, averaging a woeful -0.08 Passing NEP per drop back. While Minshew was a vast improvement (0.06), he's still a player the team spent just a sixth-round draft pick on in 2019.
The front office and coaching staff, all but certainly on the hot seat ahead of the new season, have not gone out of their way to anoint Minshew or Foles as the starter ahead of the 2020 campaign. What if they felt that, with the talent already on their roster (such as it is), Tua could be the key to unlocking the potential of their young playmakers such as Dede Westbrook and D.J. Chark? Maybe the Jags could be tempted to make a few deals to ensure they were in a position to draft Tua, could they not?
Alas, this is almost certainly not likely to happen. But from an historical point of view, the Jaguars are one of a handful of teams whose glory days (such as they were) came when they had a left-hander at the quarterback position. But Tua is not likely to step into the shoes of Mark Brunell, I fear.
Las Vegas Raiders (+4800)
With the draft taking place in Las Vegas, what better team than the Raiders to make a splash and take the second quarterback off the board? It would be exciting, I admit. But it is almost certainly not going to happen.
Many have spoken in the past of the intricacies of Jon Gruden's playbook, and how it is a scheme best handled by a veteran. Derek Carr was a capable facilitator of the system in 2019, at least from an efficiency standpoint. Carr's 0.23 Passing NEP per drop back ranked fourth last season among signal callers with 500-plus drop backs. Despite this, Carr and the Raiders don't seem to be a match made in heaven as the team moves to Sin City.
Still, even with Gruden already eying his next field general, per reports, a player with a few years NFL tread on his tires is a more likely target than a rookie, in my opinion. But if you want to take a stroll down narrative street, the Raiders enjoyed a golden era when Ken Stabler, a left-hander from Alabama, was at the helm of their offense. Plus, the Raiders showed last year that they're willing to make a draft-day splash with their surprise selection of Clelin Ferrell fourth overall. Even though this is unlikely, you never know with the NFL Draft.