NFL Draft Betting: Where Will Tua Tagovailoa Land?
Tua Taglovailoa's career at Alabama didn't end the way he or Nick Saban planned, but his career with the Tide was one for the history books. His legacy started in 2017 relieving Jalen Hurts in the 2017 College Football Championship versus Georgia, leading the Tide to a 26-23 OT victory sealing his legacy in Tuscaloosa. After suffering a season-ending hip injury (posterior wall fracture) versus Mississippi State this season, he finished his career 22-2 as a starter with both losses coming to No. 2 LSU in 2019 and No. 2 Clemson in the 2018 College Football Championship Game.
Taglovailoa landed No. 1 in Alabama's all-time record book for career completion percentage (69.3), career passing touchdowns (87), most touchdowns in a single game (6), passing touchdowns in a single-season (43), and third in passing yards for a career (7,442). He capped off his junior season getting on pace to break his 2018 career-highs of completions (245), passing attempts (355), passing yards (3,966), passing touchdowns (43), rushing yards (190), rushing touchdowns (5), and total touchdowns (48) in his first season as a starter. The most impressive aspect of his game has to be his ability to see the game, read defenses, and his touchdowns to turnovers ratio -- In 32 games he finished his career with an absurd 87 passing touchdowns to 10 interceptions.
NFL Draft experts are expecting numerous teams to make an attempt to trade up to make a play for Tua. FanDuel Sportsbook is listing Taglovailoa at over/under 2.5 picks, as chances are the Washington Redskins, holding the No. 2 overall selection could make a deal and fall back for a team in need of a franchise quarterback. Oregon's Justin Herbert, Clemson's Isaiah Simmons, and Ohio State's Chase Young and Jeffrey Okudah are the projected top-five selections alongside Taglovailoa after LSU's Joe Burrow goes No. 1 to Cincinnati as most expect. Let's take a look at his five suitors inside the top-10 and whether or not he goes top two overall.
The Tua Sweepstakes
No. 2 Washington Redskins: Ron Rivera takes over in Washington as we could see a situation similar to 2018-2019 in Arizona when they drafted Josh Rosen then Kyler Murray in back-to-back years. Washington drafted Dwayne Haskins last season with the No. 15 overall pick and whether or not Rivera trades the No. 2 overall pick this season, we could see a trade up to No. 2 or No. 3 from various teams if they believe Tua is the answer. River traded for Kyle Allen who was Rivera's quarterback with Cam Newton hurt. I think we see a team trade up here before Washington takes Tua, but Chase Young would be my selection no matter who selects at No. 2.
No. 3: Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford is the man under center for Detroit, but for how long? Could we see the Lions follow division foe, the Packers' quarterback plan and groom Taglovailoa behind Stafford? At 32-years-old, Stafford has a roster bonus of $10 million due in 2021, and we could see the Lions and Head Coach Matt Patricia get younger and take a chance on Taglovailoa after Stafford missed eight games this season, ending his 136-game streak that's lasted since 2011. This move would make a lot of sense for Detroit moving forward with the question marks surrounding Stafford returning from his first major injury in 10 years.
No. 5: Miami Dolphins: Miami seemed like a sure-fire No. 1 overall selection halfway through the season, but Ryan Fitzpatrick really played his heart out. The Dolphins started out 0-7 but finished 5-4 giving them a 5-11 record. The Dolphins also traded for Josh Rosen from Arizona last draft -- after the Cardinals selected Kyler Murray -- so a second-straight draft day trade for Rosen is unlikely, but not impossible. Miami is certainly an option to trade up, but they could be content with whoever falls to them at No. 5 with three top-10 quarterback talents in Burrow, Herbert, and Taglovailoa.
No. 6: Los Angeles Chargers: The Chargers announced they will trust in Tyrod Taylor as their starter, but there's no reason not to go after Taglovailoa after losing their franchise quarterback of 15-plus years. Philip Rivers signed with the Colts after a 5-11 season completing his career as their starter since drafting him fourth overall in 2004. The Chargers are perhaps the most ideal team to trade up with Washington or Detroit, unless they plan to wait on Taglovailoa to Herbert to fall to No. 6. Taylor owns a record 23-21-1 for his career, and at 30-years-old he's not the future of Los Angeles, but more of a scapegoat if the season goes sour.
No. 9: Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars dealt Nick Foles to Chicago after an injury-riddle season in which they played Gardner Minshew 14 games. Jacksonville is in complete rebuild around running back Leonard Fournette after making deals sending starters and veterans out of town. The next move for the Jaguars would be trading up for a franchise quarterback or drafting a threat out wide at No. 9 for Minshew. After No. 6, three quarterbacks should be off the board so a trade would imminent if Taglovailoa is their man.
Where He Lands
Out of the five suitors, it is likely Miami and Los Angeles attempt to strike a move from their No. 5 and No. 6 spots if they are to land Taglovailoa. With three quarterbacks all slate to go top-10, chances are two of them go back-to-back No. 1 and No. 2 overall are unlikely. Since 2000, the No. 1 and 2 selections have been quarterbacks three times (2016, 2015, 2012), and three quarterbacks have gone top 10 three times in the last 10 years (2011, 2012, 2018).
The top-three talents in this draft are undoubtedly Joe Burrows, Chase Young, and Taglovailoa, but with his major hip injury this season, I find it hard to believe he will go top two overall before either the best offensive or defensive players in the entire country last season. My prediction, Tua will be drafted No. 4 via trade to Los Angeles, if Detroit passes on Nick Saban's latest project or selects Oregon's former quarterback, Justin Herbert.