The 2020 NFL Draft begins on Thursday and while Tua Tagovailoa appears to be a consensus top five pick, what if he slides like Aaron Rodgers did in the 2005 NFL Draft?
Throughout the entire NFL offseason to this point, many have assumed that Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa would go somewhere in the top five – if not top two. Joe Burrow is the consensus number one overall pick after the mind blowing numbers he put up at LSU, but Tagovailoa is widely regarded as the next best quarterback in the draft.
With all of that said, what if the analysts were wrong about teams being interested in Tua? What if his injuries are more concerning to teams drafting in the top ten than any of us know about? If teams are skeptical about Tua’s health, he could be passed up early on and if that’s the case, he could fall quite a bit in the first round.
As of now, it seems like a near lock that Tagovailoa is going to either the Dolphins at pick five or the Chargers at pick six. It’s possible that either of those teams trade up to get him or that a surprise team trades up and nabs him before the Fins or Bolts can get to him.
If for some reason the Dolphins and Chargers decide to pass on Tua, however, how far could the Crimson Tide quarterback fall in the draft? After the Chargers pick at number six, you could make cases for the Panthers at pick seven and Jaguars at pick nine to take him, but Carolina signed Teddy Bridgewater to a lengthy contract and Jacksonville appears to be content with Gardner Minshew as their signal caller for 2020.
From there, the next two teams who could be interested in grabbing Tua if he’s still on the board are the Raiders at pick 12 and the 49ers at pick 13. It’s doubtful that San Francisco would spend that pick on a quarterback considering they made it to a Super Bowl this past season with Jimmy Garoppolo, but it could be strongly argued he was the reason they lost that game with key missed throws.
The Dolphins then have another pick at 18 and that would probably be as far as Tua would realistically fall. If Miami passed on him once when they were drafting at pick five, they sure as heck wouldn’t let him pass them by again unless they had selected Justin Herbert with the fifth overall draft choice.
If that’s the case, Tua could land with the Raiders at the 19th pick, maybe the Jaguars take a “gamble” on him at pick 20, but if he falls past those two selections, it could get interesting.
New England holds the 23rd selection and New Orleans is right behind them with pick 24. The Patriots lost their quarterback of 20 years this offseason while the Saints will be getting close to losing Drew Brees to retirement in the next year or two. Either of those teams taking a quarterback in the first round wouldn’t be surprising and if Tua Tagovailoa fell this far, they’d be fools not to consider drafting him.
If Tua continued to fall, the Packers could take him at pick 30 (speaking of an Aaron Rodgers-style slide, it comes full circle here) or the Niners could consider again at the 31st pick. San Francisco drafting a quarterback in the first round probably isn’t going to happen, but if a talented prospect like Tagovailoa fell into their laps this late in the draft, don’t put it past them.
Tagovailoa should be a top five draft choice this Thursday night, but injuries could scare teams away and if that’s the case, he could plummet to as far as the end of round one. Don’t expect him to be available on Day 2 of the draft though. These teams who could be looking for their current quarterback’s successor would snatch him up in a heartbeat, as they should.
How far do you think Tua could fall if he made it out of the top ten?