Next quarterback up to analyze is none other than Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama’s golden child. We all know the story, Jalen Hurts was struggling a bit vs Clemson in the national championship so Tua takes over in the second half then throws the game-winning 41-yard TD pass in overtime.
Then he played lights out all year (only losing to Clemson in the national championship rematch) which got people so excited all you could see where signs “Tank for Tua” for all NFL teams that began the year losing.
A lot can happen in a year, though. Progress isn’t always linear and sometimes players even take a step back.
So there you go, Tua a former 5-star recruit who even managed to exceed expectations, entered 2019 with QB1 status but did he keep it? How good is he right now?
Here’s what I saw.
(If you aren’t familiarized with my grading system and also want to read Joe Burrow’s piece check out this article!)
Tuanigamanuolepola “Tua” Tagovailoa (6’1 218 lbs) is a junior with almost two full years of starting experience and a lot of big games under his belt. He ended his junior season with 2840 passing yards with 33 passing touchdowns and only 3 interceptions (11/1 ratio), he also added two touchdowns on the ground. His completion percentage was an impressive 71.4% along with 11.3 yards/att.
In the Tide’s matchup against Mississippi State, Tagovailoa led the team to a 35-7 lead before his injury during the 2nd quarter. It was later revealed that he suffered a dislocated hip and posterior wall fracture (along with a concussion and a broken nose). Injury explained better here.
With that in mind, let’s see what are his strengths and weaknesses.
Fundamentals: I really like his footwork and he possesses some clean mechanics, he is a sound fundamental quarterback.
Accuracy: Great accuracy short and in intermediate throws, I really like him on the move, his accuracy doesn’t fall one bit. Deep accuracy comes and goes but he shows that he can make them throws with impressive touch.
Escapability: Has a knack to keep the play alive when it looked they had him, has a variety of moves too.
Pocket movement: He seemingly knows where the defenders near him are at all times if he has any friends playing for the Astros I would look into it. With that information that his brain processes he also moves well inside the pocket and knows when to roll out (although he has a tendency of rolling to his left).
Playing off-script: He really does know how to improvise, a tool that it’s more and more valuable in the NFL, today.
Protecting himself: Tua needs to learn how to protect himself better. His team-first attitude and always wanting the extra yard, gets him hit badly sometimes. As nice as an extra yard is on a given play a qb1 healthy matters more. This + his durability issues makes it a valid concern.
Projection: It’s hard to project Tua Tagovailoa to the NFL because he’s always had guys winning their 1on1’s in college. He’s had the most ridiculous amount of talent at wide receiver that I can remember. They’ve been consistently wide open and have bailed him out when he throws a risky pass. He also had an amazing offensive line who were too much for front sevens to handle on most games. He is not going to have that much of an advantage in the NFL.
Injury History: Even before the hip injury he is currently nursing, Tua has had his share of injuries. Going from a quad injury, a knee injury and a couple of ankle injuries, most of them sprains (knee and ankles).
Durability was a slight concern even before he dislocated his hip, obviously, his medicals will have great impact on where he is drafted.
Accuracy grade: 81.1 (Short-85.6, Intermediate-78.7, Deep- 75, on the run-85)
Mental grade: 76
Fundamentals grade: 87.3
Tools grade: 83.4
Final Grade: 81 (late first-round grade)
College comp: Jimmy Garoppolo playing in a powerhouse instead of Eastern Illinois.
Prediction: Medicals are going to be the key between being the 2nd quarterback picked and the 4th. Realistically I doubt he falls out of the top 15 no matter what, especially now that the old guard of quarterbacks are in the twilight of their careers, and young blood is needed. If they come clean I see him going to Miami at #5. A team like Indianapolis with a stop-gap in a place like Jacoby Brissett makes a lot of sense otherwise.
How he stacks up with the rest of the class? I think he is QB2 on tape, but his medicals could make him drop all the way to QB4 since Jordan Love and Justin Herbert aren’t that far behind. I think these three quarterbacks belong in the same tier, with Tua leading the pack.