Joe Burrow is almost definitely going to be the No. 1 pick in tonight's NFL Draft. NFL legend Deion Sanders would opt for Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa if it was his call, though.
If Tagovailoa hadn't suffered his mid-season hip injury, this would be a very close call. Burrow had one of the best individual seasons we've ever seen, but Tua's career was probably more impressive in total, based on the numbers. Career-wise, Tua's numbers are better than just about everybody.
"He would be my No. 1 for obvious reasons, because he gives me more film for me to judge his potential of success," Deion Sanders said during a recent NFL Network appearance, per 247Sports. ""I like everything about Tua. He has a portfolio that says, 'You know what? This guy's a winner.' He has a portfolio that says, 'You know he can overcome adversity."
Both quarterbacks have been lauded for their leadership and media savvy. Deion says that is the thing that impressed him most about Tua. "The thing I love about him the most is the way he handles himself in front of the microphone, in front of his teammates, and when his back is up against the wall," he continued. "He's gone through something traumatic with his injuries, and he's bouncing back. I love this kid."
Health aside, long-term success is definitely the biggest nod to Tua Tagovailoa over Joe Burrow. The Ohio State-turned-LSU star actually played in more college games (38 vs. 32) in college, but 10 of those were in mop-up duty for the Buckeyes.
Burrow's 2019 stands out, with his 5,671 yards, 60 touchdowns, and just six interceptions. A year before that, Tua was a Heisman-level player, as he was before injury this fall, while Burrow was an effective game manager, completing under 60-percent of his throws for 2,894 yards, 16 touchdowns in 13 games, and 7.9 yards per attempt.
If Tua hadn't gotten hurt, the debate would be much more interesting. Deion Sanders certainly knows football though, and he'd be willing to take the risk with the Crimson Tide star.