Alabama’s Tagavailoa Declares For NFL Draft, But Where Will Injured QB Be Going?

Assessing Tagavailoa’s injury for future field time When the college football season began in late August, the common assumption was that Alabama quarterback Tua Tagavailoa would play to the...

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/ Ben Margot)

Assessing Tagavailoa’s injury for future field time

When the college football season began in late August, the common assumption was that Alabama quarterback Tua Tagavailoa would play to the standards he’d established and been the first pick in the NFL draft in April.

Tagavailoa’s skills set off frenzies in several NFL cities where the team was encouraged by fans to “Tank for Tua.” In other words, fall on your face now, get the top pick.

A couple of things happened along the way. Tagavailoa suffered a dislocated hip and other damage that needed to be repaired surgically in mid-November. And LSU’s Joe Burrow continued to play so well that he won the Heisman Trophy and now is considered the likely No. 1 overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Washington Redskins, who have the second pick, spent a No. 1 on QB Dwayne Haskins last year. At No. 3 are the Detroit Lions, who are invested financially in Matthew Stafford. The New York Giants, picking fourth, took QB Daniel Jones in the first round a year ago.

That brings us to the Miami Dolphins. While the front office seemingly set a “Tank for Tua” in motion by stripping the roster of key players, those who remained competed fiercely after a terrible start. The Dolphins finished 5-11, good enough (or bad enough) to pick fifth.

They want this guy. They need this guy. They can probably get this guy.

The next two in line in the draft are the Los Angeles Chargers and Carolina Panthers. They’d need to decide whether they are sticking with (respectively) Philip Rivers and Cam Newton, and the Panthers will be naming a new head coach in the weeks ahead. We cannot rule them out of the QB hunt.

Maybe the Dolphins will get their man. They’re loaded with draft picks (from that roster teardown), so they could trade up to ensure they land Tagavailoa. The teams in front of them will surely play on their nerves and entertain offers (or make noise as if they are). There’s also the injury factor, which could drop the QB lower in the draft – the Dolphins also hold the 18th selection in the first round.

“Tank for Tua” might turn out to be “Tank you very much.”

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

Follow @TwistityNews