Tua Time: Dolphins reel in Tagovailoa with 5th pick
The Miami Dolphins selected quarterback Tua Tagovailoa out of Alabama fifth overall in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Dolphins landed the potential next face of their franchise a year after gutting their roster and positioning themselves to secure one of the top picks in the draft. Miami has been searching for a quarterback to build around since Dan Marino retired at the end of the 1999 campaign.
Tagovailoa's draft stock appeared to be in flux over the last several weeks. He was unable to do physical drills at the scouting combine while recovering from a broken hip, and teams were unable to examine him medically in subsequent weeks because facilities were shut down by the NFL.
Injuries plagued Tagovailoa throughout his college career, as he dealt with ankle and wrist problems before the aforementioned hip ailment.
"I'm able to play if need be," he said after being selected, according to the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero.
When healthy, Tagovailoa was as prolific a quarterback as there was in the country. His accuracy to all three levels of the field mesmerized scouts, while his mobility added a dynamic element to his game.
In three seasons with the Crimson Tide, Tagovailoa completed 69.3% of his passes and threw 87 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. The former five-star recruit entered legendary status as a freshman when he came off the bench at halftime of the College Football Playoff National Championship and led Alabama to a comeback victory over Georgia.
Weight: 217 lbs
- Excellent timing and ball placement at all levels of the field
- Arm talent to drive the ball up the seam and to the far sideline
- Throws receivers open with great anticipation
- Efficiently works through reads and makes good decisions
- Isn't fazed by pressure
- Extends plays with quick movements in the pocket
- Shows athleticism to escape and make plays on the run
- Maintains eye level to look downfield while improvising
- Two years of elite production in the SEC
- Recovering from a major hip injury
- Dealt with other nagging lower-body ailments
- Lacks an ideal frame for the position
Tagovailoa was supposed to be the prize of this draft, and he certainly could still be in the long term. He's had NFL teams eagerly awaiting his arrival ever since he stepped in on the biggest stage as a freshman and led Alabama to a national title win over Georgia. The superstar left-hander has the arm talent and accuracy to make and deliver on every throw on the field, and he's particularly lethal when attacking defenses vertically. His raw ability as a passer, intelligence, and athleticism make him an elite prospect and a fit for any NFL offense. Were it not for a major hip injury that ended his 2019 season, Tagovailoa could have been neck and neck for Burrow for the No. 1 spot, perhaps even holding the advantage due to a more extensive track record. He's still not far behind, as he's certainly a potential franchise quarterback.