Let's Keep an Eye On Tua Tagovailoa, Whose Decision Could Shake Up the QB Draft Market

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Let’s Keep an Eye On Tua Tagovailoa, Whose Decision Could Shake Up the QB Draft Market

Chicago Bears

One of college football’s quarterbacks has yet to make a decision on whether or not he’ll enter the 2020 NFL Draft. And until Tua Tagovailoa makes a decision, the situation is worth monitoring.

After Alabama’s Citrus Bowl win against Michigan, Tagovailoa tweeted when his decision would be made:

https://twitter.com/Tuaamann/status/1212539546061221889?s=20

Tagovailoa was a virtual lock to be a top pick in the draft before he suffered a season-ending hip in jury in Alabama’s win against Mississippi State. And while he still figures to get a first-round grade, where he would land on draft day is now very much up in the air. LSU’s Joe Burrow has surpassed Tagovailoa as the consensus top overall pick, but there is no shortage of teams that could use a first-round pick on a quarterback.

For example, the Dolphins, Chargers, Panthers, Colts,  and Buccaneers could conceivably take Tagovailoa at any point in the first round. But from the player’s perspective, it is easy to imagine a scenario where Tagovailoa declines overtures from the NFL, returns to college, and rebuilds his prospect stock into becoming a locked-in top-5 or top-10 pick. Remember, there is a sizable difference in the salaries of a quarterback taken in the first 10 picks and beyond. Just look at the 2018 class of first-round quarterbacks for example.

Here is a layout of the first-round quarterbacks, where they were picked, their total contract, and signing bonus (data via Forbes) from 2018:

  • Baker Mayfield, 1st … $33,158,294 … $22,185,523
  • Sam Darnold, 3rd … $30,685,571 … $20,387,178
  • Josh Allen, 7th … $21,228,952 .. $13,693,282
  • Josh Rosen, 10th … $17,841,032 … $10,196,480
  • Lamar Jackson, 32nd … $9,589,930 … $5,044,895

As you can see, the quarterback pay-scale slides with each pick. So if Tagovailoa believes he can go back to school and play his way into a top-3 pick, he could stand to gain millions upon millions of dollars by deciding to return to Alabama.

There have been enough positive medical reports to put an end to whispers that hinted that Tagovailoa could have fallen out of the first round. And if he fell out of the top-10, he could land in a more ideal situation than being made out to be a savior in Cincinnati. Teams like the Chargers or Raiders could use the splash that could come with replacing a veteran quarterback as they enter a new stadium. And it isn’t hard to imagine a team like the Packers or Patriots using their draft capital to trade up to take Tagovailoa and have him sit behind an all-time great for a year (or more). Ideally, neither of those two scenarios play out because the last thing the football world needs is Green Bay or New England getting lucky and hitting the quarterback jackpot once again.

It has been a while sine we have been treated to a prospect whose decision could sway the draft and college football worlds simultaneously. A return to Alabama would keep the Crimson Tide among the favorites, while also putting Tagovailoa (assuming a healthy return) in the mix for a Heisman Trophy. And if he goes back to school, that could impact which (and how many) quarterbacks go behind Burrow in the first round. Which, in turn, would impact what options would be available in Round 2. So, yeah, let’s keep our attention on what Tagovailoa decides on January 6, as it could impact a great many things on the football landscape.



Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.