Opinions on Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa are all over the place at the NFL Combine. We’ve seen an incredible range of Tua NFL Draft rumors and projections in recent days.
ESPN’s most famous draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. is way in on Tua. He believes that the Washington Redskins should take the Alabama product at No. 2 overall, even after going with Dwayne Haskins in the first round last season.
Not everyone is on board with that idea, of course. Former first round pick (and famous NFL Draft bust) Ryan Leaf appeared on Pat McAfee’s radio show to weigh in on the 2020 quarterbacks during the combine. After McAfee mentioned that Lead didn’t have Tua Tagovailoa in his top five, he revealed that he is all the way out on the Alabama QB. He said that he is fine with Tua’s ability and demeanor, but has concerns “in his gut” that his abilities won’t translate to the NFL, citing his injury history in SEC play.
Kiper and Leaf’s ESPN colleague Louis Riddick has weighed in now. He appeared on The Dan Patrick Show today, and said that Kiper’s idea of Washington taking Tua over Chase Young, and effectively undermining Haskins, would be “ridiculous.” He also doesn’t see it happening, as he believes Daniel Snyder “loves” the Ohio State pass rusher.
He doesn’t dismiss the idea of Ron Rivera wanting his own quarterback, even with a second-year guy in the building. However, Snyder’s love of both Haskins and Young could work against that idea.
“If they draft Tua, and they pass on Chase Young, who I know for a fact that the most important man in that organization, being the owner, loves… I think it’d just be ridiculous. I really do. But we’ll see.”
Riddick says that Chase Young “at his best,” is the best player in the draft. He also believes that taking Tua would really undermine Haskins, who had to play through an awful coaching situation last year. It wasn’t much of a secret that Haskins was Snyder, and not former coach Jay Gruden’s, guy, so dismissing him after a bad rookie season might be premature.
“That could possibly happen with Dwayne Haskins, Ron could just not take a liking to him and hold last year against him. Whatever, whatever terminology you want to use to start over. I think it would be ridiculous. I think that would be totally throwing context out the window as to just how dysfunctional that place was last year.
“From the get-go, from the very first time that it was announced Dwayne Haskins was going to be their quarterback. It started leaking out immediately that he wasn’t the choice of the coaching staff and/or some people in the scouting department and that it was Dan’s choice. You do those kinds of things, what do you think is going to happen to the kid? You think he’s going to always, at that young age, show the right attitude, the right work ethic, the right demeanor? Of course he’s not going to. But people just throw that stuff out the window.”
Heading into the combine, it looked pretty clear cut that LSU quarterback Joe Burrow would go No. 1, followed by Chase Young to Washington at No. 2. Tua was seen as close to a lock to go somewhere between No. 3 and 5, depending on trades and whatnot.
Now, some think Tua Tagovailoa could go No. 2 in the NFL Draft. Some believe that Justin Herbert or Jordan Love could be the second or third quarterbacks off the board. There is more uncertainty than we’ve seen in months, and that makes the proceedings plenty of fun for those of us looking at the NFL from the top down.