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Chris Simms Defends His Controversial Tua Tagovailoa Ranking

A closeup of Tua Tagovailoa crouching on the football field.

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 29: Tua Tagovailoa #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide warming up prior to the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Tua Tagovailoa remains the most intriguing player in the NFL Draft. The star quarterback was fantastic at Alabama, but lingering injury concerns are the biggest red flag for him going forward.

He was knocked out of the season early by a hip injury that looked very frightening at the time. Luckily, surgery was successful, and he has started to resume throwing in the last few days. While he should probably sit out next season to be safe, based on the injury that was sustained, he should be back to 100-percent soon enough. If he gets there, some analysts, including Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN, believe he's the most talented quarterback in the NFL Draft, and should go as high as No. 2 to Washington, behind LSU's Joe Burrow.

NBC Sports' Chris Simms doesn't see it though. The injury concerns are his biggest issue with Tua Tagovailoa. At the next level, he's going to likely face more pressure in the pocket, with less protection than he had against Alabama, and the hip was not the first relatively serious injury he sustained in college. While some believe he is the QB1, Simms has him below Burrow, Oregon's Justin Herbert and Utah State's Jordan Love.

"He's fast, but he's not real fast," Simms told ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio. "His size is an issue to me. Yes, his injury history is an issue to me. But size, ability to throw in the pocket with people around him, make big throws down field with linemen in his face. You're not going to see that."

Simms also called Tua's arm strength into question a bit. "It's a good arm, but it's not a great arm," he said. "Again, I think you have to be careful when you watch Alabama. It's a very good offense schematically, and it has some of the best talent that you're going to find."

"To pick him at No. 5," referencing the spot currently inhabited by the Miami Dolphins, the team most frequently connected to Tua, "man, I wouldn't feel comfortable with that as a GM."

Simms called Tua's film "the second best watch" among the draft's quarterbacks in large part to the players and talent around him. He doesn't see it translating, in large part because of the increased injury risk and his struggles to deal with adversity in the pocket. Florio clearly agreed on the injury front, at the very least.

It'd be pretty shocking to see him falling all the way to the fourth quarterback spot in next month's draft, but crazier things have happened, especially at that position.

[NBC Sports]