Joe Burrow remains the heavy favorite to go No. 1 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals, but there seems to be some momentum for Tua Tagovailoa.
The Alabama quarterback's health remains the major issue with his candidacy to be a top draft pick. The hip injury he suffered during last season's Mississippi State game was frightening, and one that could be tough for many to recover from. Luckily, it sounds like his rehab is going very well. A recent report by Ian Rapoport called the Feb. 10 evaluation for Tua "as positive as possible."
Had Tagovailoa not gotten hurt late last season, there'd be a very interesting debate to be had between he and Joe Burrow. The LSU product is coming off of an unmatched statistical season and a national title. He also beat Tua's Alabama team head-to-head. Tua has shown more over a longer period of time, while Burrow went from off most boards to the potential No. 1 pick in one season, though he did it against a very, very difficult schedule.
Even with the injury, NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah thinks that Tua Tagovailoa remains "in the mix" to go first overall. He says that the Bengals "absolutely have to consider him," even with Burrow available. The LSU quarterback used to play at Ohio State, and is from Ohio, which has made his connection to the team picking No. 1 even stronger, but of course if they think Tua is the better player, they should probably take him. From 247Sports:
“He’s (Tagovailoa) a very talented player and that’s a healthy debate that’s going to take place between him and Joe Burrow in draft rooms across the league,” Jeremiah said. “If you’re the Cincinnati Bengals, you absolutely have to consider him and do your due diligence. Not just medically, but do the full evaluation because you get one crack at this thing to take a quarterback with the first overall pick. You have to do your homework. He’s in the mix.”
“Things can be progressing with the hip and that’s a good sign but teams are not going to go off what any agent or independent doctors say. They’re going to have their own doctors look at him to see where he is medically. But is he in play for the number one overall pick? Absolutely at this point in time.”
Jeremiah went further into where Tua stands among the NFL teams. He says that there are teams that have him "above Joe Burrow" on their draft boards. Jeremiah's NFL colleague Bucky Brooks recently put him atop his quarterback rankings, ahead of Burrow.
While it only matters what one team thinks for the No. 1 pick, it does signal that it is very likely that Tua will still go very high. There has been some speculation that a second quarterback could go as high as No. 3 to the Detroit Lions, if they decide to move on from Matt Stafford.
The 2020 NFL Draft runs from April 23 to 25.