Will Tua Tagovailoa slide in NFL Draft over injury concerns? 7 landing spots if he falls past Dolphins

first_imgJacksonville Jaguars (No. 9, No. 20)The Jaguars would be a much stronger possibility to catch a falling Tagovailoa should he slip past the Dolphins and Chargers. Jacksonville has confidence in second-year QB Gardner Minshew, and it is eager to correct its expensive mistake on Nick Foles.With that said, with two picks in the first round, the Jaguars can still address a big defensive need a little later and get Tagovailoa, who if healthy would be a certain upgrade over Minshew. If they don’t draft Tagovailoa, it will be because they want to see more of what Minshew can do, knowing Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence is waiting in 2021 should things really go south.Las Vegas Raiders (No. 12, No. 19)With Tagovailoa potentially available, the Jaguars still might eschew his selection. The Raiders have been attached to Tagovailoa’s former Alabama teammate, Jalen Hurts, in the third round. They already have Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota and have more pressing needs early.But this is Jon Gruden, a QB-obsessed coach, and Mike Mayock, a shrewd GM who can take advantage of value. It’s no secret that the Raiders aren’t “all in” on Carr, which explains the intriguing contingency of Mariota. Knowing all that and having a little pick flexibility, they could jump at the chance to take Tagovailoa.MORE: How good is Taulia Tagovailoa, Tua’s younger brother?Miami Dolphins (No. 18, No. 26)Let us take you back to the 2007 NFL Draft, when many thought the Browns at No. 3 overall would select QB Brady Quinn. They went with future Hall of Fame left tackle Joe Thomas, instead, and Quinn kept dropping. The Browns traded back into the first round with the Cowboys at No. 22 and landed Quinn, after all.Quinn didn’t pan out, but at the time, it was a good move for Cleveland to target its top passer after landing Thomas. This could happen in 2020 if the Dolphins go after an elite offensive tackle prospect early and the Chargers grab Herbert. This time, though, the Dolphins would not need to make a trade to get that second chance. First, Tagovailoa suffered a high ankle sprain against Tennessee and had to miss one game. Then Tagovailoa returned to duel LSU’s Joe Burrow, but Burrow, on his way to a Heisman Trophy and a national championship, outplayed him in victory to confirm his status as the new top prospect in the class. Finally, Tagovailoa suffered a serious hip injury against Mississippi State that cut short his final college season.MORE NFL DRAFT 2020:Latest news | SN’s 7-round mock | Top 100 big boardWhile that was going on, it was the Bengals completing the “Bury for Burrow” while the Dolphins improved to 5-11, “falling” to the No. 5 overall pick.Tagovailoa has still been attached most to Miami, but that’s become murky of late. Tagovailoa was not medically cleared to participate in the NFL Combine in February, and with no chance for a recheck on his health because of the coronavirus pandemic, he could not prove to teams on the field he was fully recovered.Beyond any concern for the hip, Tagovailoa has no doubt been hurt on some boards because of perceived durability issues, especially given his 6-0, 217-pound frame. That may or may not be the case for the Dolphins, but most of the latest buzz has Miami preferring Oregon’s Justin Herbert to be their future franchise QB, instead.So what all could happen with Tagovailoa if the Dolphins pass on Tua? Let’s go through all the first-round scenarios should he slide.MORE: Breaking down Tua Tagovailoa’s draft scenariosLos Angeles Chargers (No. 6)This would make the most sense for Tagovailoa immediately after the Dolphins pick, especially if the Dolphins take Herbert. The Chargers have great confidence in Tyrod Taylor as a bridge QB familiar with Anthony Lynn’s system from their Bills days together, but he is signed for only one more season.In the best case for Tagovailoa, he would pull a Baker Mayfield with the Browns in 2018 and beat out Taylor at some point for the job. Worst case, he gets another year to further heal and absorb Lynn’s offense to help ease his transition to starting in the NFL.Carolina Panthers (No. 7)Should Tagovailoa get past the Dolphins and Chargers back-to-back, then the field becomes wide open to draft him. The Panthers did sign Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year, $63 million deal to replace Cam Newton, but they have a reasonable dead-money escape after the 2021 season.The base two-year commitment to Bridgewater, who turns only 28 in November, suggests the Panthers will table thinking about QB until next year’s draft at the earliest. They would have to love Tagovailoa’s upside to deviate from their best defensive player available plan.MORE: How much would it cost to trade up for Tua Tagovailoa? (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/73/be/tua-tagovailoa-021820-getty-ftr_7jz5ugdkf8jg1ba2au8yoq12r.jpg?t=1496520704&w=500&quality=80 At this time last year, Tua Tagovailoa was headed to be the surefire No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Now there is uncertainty about where the Alabama quarterback will go in the first round.Remember when the Miami Dolphins started 0-7 and were supposedly in full “Tank for Tua” mode? A lot has changed since last October. Tagovailoa can learn under Sean Payton with help from Brees. His size obviously isn’t an issue for them, and his left-handedness would be fine, as first-team All-Pro right tackle Ryan Ramczyk can serve as an excellent blindside protector for a long time. Getting Tagovailoa could mean zero bumps in the transition from Brees, maintaining the Saints’ offensive explosiveness.As for Tagovailoa falling into the second round, forget about it. There might be several teams scared away by his future health, but all it takes is one team to believe he can be the transcendent NFL passer he was on track to be a year ago.There’s no way a savvy, QB-needy team such as New England or New Orleans will let Tagovailoa go into a complete free-fall. New England Patriots (No. 23)The Patriots somehow getting Tagovailoa does worry most of the league. Their foes can live with Jarrett Stidham as Tom Brady’s successor, and probably even Washington’s Jacob Eason or Georgia’s Jake Fromm in the third round. But there’s a path where the Patriots go with a high-upside passer early, either Tagovailoa or Utah State’s Jordan Love.They would have to trust Tagovailoa’s availability and ability to handle Josh McDaniels’ complicated offense. But with Tagovailoa, who played for a coach in Nick Saban who has a great relationship with Bill Belichick, New England would have a difficult time passing on such a talent. If he is on the board, he would be a lot more appealing even if there’s good linebacker, edge rusher or wide receiver value late.New Orleans Saints (No. 24)There’s a growing feeling the Saints, who don’t hold.a second-round pick, will be targeting Drew Brees’ successor with their first-round pick. That is more likely to happen if there’s a run on linebackers and they don’t feel like getting a top wide receiver early after having signed Emmanuel Sanders to a two-year deal.Should Tagovailoa go as expected to the Dolphins or Chargers, and if Herbert’s gone, too, then the Saints would have interest in lining up Love to start as early as 2021. Logic says Tagovailoa would be a no-brainer pick if he shockingly lasts this long. (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/6e/e5/tua-tagovailoa-032320-ftr-getty_1qiawlxm9vs2m125epkfzo9l8x.jpg?t=-1546967215&w=500&quality=80last_img

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