Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa is almost universally considered a top-tier quarterback prospect in next week’s NFL draft from April 23 to 25, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported Tuesday that there’s chatter he could go outside of the top 10 because of his injury history:
“But the talk has become too persistent and widespread to ignore. It comes from a combination of Tua’s three lower-body injuries in three college seasons, lingering questions about his recovery from last year’s hip surgery, and scuttlebutt regarding other potential physical red flags. And the core problem continues to be the inability of teams to have their doctors examine Tagovailoa.
“Teams don’t want to accept the word of any doctors other than the doctors they employ, since there’s a chance those doctors will skew their assessments in the player’s favor.”
Tagovailoa suffered a hip dislocation against Mississippi State in November, ending his season. He underwent surgery for a high ankle sprain in October and missed one game.
The left-hander also suffered a high ankle sprain against Georgia in the 2018 SEC Championship Game, forcing him to undergo a tightrope procedure. He also suffered a quad injury in November 2018.
When Tagovailoa is healthy, however, his talent can’t be denied. He completed 71.4 percent of his passes for 33 touchdowns, three interceptions and 11.3 yards per attempt for the Crimson Tide last season.
Tagovailoa also has many believers among draft analysts.
Of note, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller lists Tagovailoa as the sixth-best prospect overall and second among players at his position.
Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network believes Tagovailoa will be the third quarterback off the board, going sixth overall to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Since Tagovailoa is unable to travel and undergo physicals for teams in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic, teams have had to trust the latest word on his progress, and the Crimson Tide signal-caller has passed multiple medical checks.
In early March, Tua passed his four-month check-in, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Later that month, he posted a video of himself throwing the football:
On April 2, his representatives told Laura Rutledge of ESPN that the results of Tua’s medical recheck “were overwhelmingly positive.”
A week later, ESPN’s Stephania Bell reported that Dr. Lyle Cain and Dr. Chip Routt, who have been significantly involved in Tagovailoa’s recoveries, said Tua is working out normally and should be good to go for training camp.
The doctors also said the long-term view on Tagovailoa’s hip is “excellent.”
Ultimately, signs point to Tagovailoa being just fine for training camp and the beginning of the 2020 season. We’ll soon find out how teams feel about the quarterback when the virtual draft kicks off.