On January 6th, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa announced that he is declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft. This comes as no surprise, even though the star quarterback suffered a season-ending hip injury against Mississippi State that put his entire football future in question.
The fear with Tua declaring was him slipping in the draft, losing out on millions of dollars, but he has the Draft Insurance Policy that states if he were to slip in the draft due to an injury, the star QB would be able to recuperate some of the money that he would miss out on if he slips. With the insurance policy, it made the writing on the wall for Tua, especially with concerns after his injury. Now that he has declared, here are the 5 best fits for the star signal-caller for the Crimson Tide.
The Dolphins finished the season 5-4 after a 0-7 start, with wins over two playoff teams- Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots. The Dolphins offense features talent with wide receiver DeVante Parker and tight end Mike Gesicki. Parker had a great season putting up over 1,200 yards and 9 touchdowns, and Gesicki had a breakout sophomore season, racking up 570 yards receiving and 5 touchdowns. Tagovailoa has the arm strength and scrambling abilities that make DeVante Parker an appealing and top wide receiver to have at his arsenal. Parker ranked fifth in deep-ball receiving (20-plus yards) this season with 412 yards, so imagine the ability with Tua who has great deep-ball accuracy.
The other factor that makes the Dolphins a great fit is Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzmagic can be a great mentor for Tua in adjusting to the league and learning the system, but the biggest factor is that he can play while Tua is recovering from his hip surgery and getting ready to play. Fitzpatrick can be a difference-maker for the Dolphins and Tua. Brian Flores is a great coach to help get the most out of a young quarterback, plus the hiring of Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey was a great hire for a young quarterback, as Gailey will be a great mentor for young players.
Los Angeles Chargers
With Phillip Rivers hitting free agency this offseason after posting an 88.5 passer rating, the third-worst of his career. The Chargers offense has a ton of talent. Running back Austin Ekeler is probably going to return as he is a Restricted Free Agent, and he is a great pass-catching back for any quarterback. Then add Keenan Allen, who has been a top wide receiver in the league for years and Mike Williams, who has become a dynamic deep threat. The offense brings a bunch of appealing pieces to the table for Tagovailoa that will make him succeed very early in his career.
The other aspect that is tempting for the Chargers to take Tua is Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is under contract for the 2020 season, mean ing he can play while Tua recovers and rehabs his injury while learning the system and adjusting to the NFL. If the Chargers believe he is the guy, they will probably have to trade up, but adding offensive line help is needed for them as well to succeed with a new quarterback.
The Panthers just hired Matt Rhule as head coach after three years at Baylor, where he went from 1-11 in 2017 to 11-3 this year. The Panthers have great weapons, including one of the best running backs, if not the best in the league, Christian McCaffrey, and young wide receivers D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel. These young pieces could easily help Tagovailoa adjust and get ready for the NFL, along with being their quarterback for the future. McCaffrey is a beat in both the run and pass game, but Tua’s ability to use his legs brings similarities to Cam Newton, having a strong arm and mobility.
Kyle Allen and Will Grier struggled to show the potential of being the future quarterback for the Panthers, but by drafting Tagovailoa, you add him into a young offense with great weapons and get your quarterback for the future.
New England Patriots
With Tom Brady’s future uncertain with the Patriots, the front office could look at adding a quarterback to the roster. Fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham, out of Auburn, throwing for 14 yards and 1 interception, that ended up being a pick-six, in his four throws this season. Unless the Patriots see serious long-term upside from Stidham, they can look to add another quarterback. With Tua’s injury, it could cause him to slip in the draft, but if the Patriots want to add him, they will probably have to trade up to get him.
Remember that Saban used to work with Belichick, which could make Tua appealing for the Patriots. If the Patriots were to make a move and draft Tua, who threw for 87 touchdowns for an old friend of their legendary head coach, the offense could become accommodated to the strong arm and mobility talents of Tagovailoa.
New Orleans Saints
With Teddy Bridgewater probably leaving New Orleans for big money elsewhere after his 5-0 record as a starter this season, the Saints will need to get a new quarterback to backup the soon to be Hall of Famer Drew Brees.
Adding Tua Tagovailoa makes complete sense for the Saints as he is Brees-esque and has scouts saying he is a left-handed Drew Brees. Going to the Saints is a perfect match as Tua has time to rehab his hip injury while learning from one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.
It is unlikely Tua slides to the No. 24 pick in the draft, but Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton have been aggressive before in trading up, as they did in 2018 to draft defensive end Marcus Davenport. Will they be willing to do it again? Even though the Saints only have picks in the draft this year, they can still trade up and add the lefty from Alabama. The question now is, will the Saints give up some of the future to move up and snag Tagovailoa to be the successor to the all-time great Drew Brees?