2020 NFL Draft Profile: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Tua Tagovailoa

Quarterback, Alabama Crimson Tide
6-0, 217
40 time: 4.85e

OVERVIEW

Tagovailoa was the nation’s top dual-threat quarterback prospect at St. Louis High in Hawaii before becoming a legend at the end of his freshman year in Tuscaloosa. He earned MVP of the College Football Playoff national title game when he came off the bench at halftime and rallied Alabama to victory over Georgia, delivering a 41-yard TD strike to DeVonta Smith in

Tua Tagovailoa
Feb 25, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (QB17) speaks to the media during the 2020 NFL Combine in the Indianapolis Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

overtime. He ousted Jalen Hurts as the starter in 2018, when he set an FBS record with a passing efficiency rating of 199.4 (broken in 2019 by Joe Burrow). Tagovailoa never repeated as national championship, as the Crimson Tide lost to Clemson at the end of the 2018 season and didn’t make it back to the playoff in 2019, when Tagovailoa suffered a serious hip injury on Nov. 16 that initially cast some doubt as to his 2020 plans. He ended his Alabama career with a 69.3 completion percentage, 7,442 passing yards, 85 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Tagovailoa was not healthy enough to work out at the NFL Scouting Combine, but reports say all signs are positive in his recovery from hip surgery. He has resumed throwing a football and hoped to hold his own pro day workout in April, although it’s unclear if that will happen given the coronavirus pandemic.



ANALYSIS

Tagovailoa is one of the most pro-ready quarterbacks to come out of college in the past decade. Processing speed is truly special for a prospect. Quick through his progressions and regularly reaches his second and third read. Flashes tremendous placement to all levels of the field, particularly deep. Elite feel for pressure and knows how to avoid it without losing his cool. Creates throwing platforms even when chaos surrounds him. Capable scrambler who can pick up first downs with his legs. Makes most of his throws with great anticipation. Crisp mechanics for his upper body and lower body. Throws a beautiful spiral that rarely wavers off its intended line. Resets his feet properly before letting passes loose. Has a silky-smooth arm motion with no wasted energy.

Tagovailoa has significant medical concerns. He suffered a dislocated hip that ended his junior season and battled through constant ankle injuries during his time at Alabama, creating worries about long-term durability. Medical evaluation will be heavily influential in where teams place him on their draft board. Arm strength is best classified as average to above average. Tries to play hero ball a bit too often rather than just throwing it away or taking the check-down. Accuracy has some inexplicable bumps from time to time. Played with an elite supporting cast that may have bolstered his production. A little short for the position.

PRO COMPARISON

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints — Few quarterbacks have the combination of accuracy, footwork and processing ability that Brees continues to show through a decorated NFL career. Tagovailoa may not be at that level yet, but he’s quickly ascending toward it. The golden-armed lefty may lack elite physical gifts, but he makes up for it in every other aspect of his game. Assuming health, he should be an immediate starter in the NFL and could push to be a top 10 quarterback early in his career.



Projection: First round

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)