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Booger McFarland Shares His Opinion On Tua Tagovailoa-Justin Herbert Debate

Tua Tagovailoa vs. Justin Herbert

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - AUGUST 31: Tua Tagovailoa #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide warms up prior to facing the Duke Blue Devils at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on August 31, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 22: Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Oregon Ducks passes the ball during the third quarter of the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Autzen Stadium on September 22, 2018 in E (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Had Tua Tagovailoa not suffered a hip injury midway through the 2019 season, we'd be having an interesting debate between he and Joe Burrow. Instead, analysts and, reportedly, teams are very split on Tua vs. Oregon's Justin Herbert as the draft's second quarterback.

This could be a very good NFL Draft for quarterbacks. The Cincinnati Bengals are widely expected to take Joe Burrow at No. 1. The Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers draft fifth and sixth in the first round, and both could find their next quarterbacks as well.

Herbert is probably the safe pick. The Ducks star has a strong arm, the build of your classic NFL pocket passer, athleticism, and he's incredibly smart. However, he was not the same dynamic playmaker, nor was he as productive as Tua was when healthy.

We've seen some strong rebukes of the idea that teams should go for Herbert over Tua in recent days. Dan Orlovsky said that doing so means teams are "willing to chase mediocrity instead of greatness." Louis Riddick says the only reason that Herbert is "in the conversation" with Tua is the health concerns. Now, ESPN's Booger McFarland of Monday Night Football has weighed in in similar fashion. He called the gap between the two players "astronomical."

"For people to say ‘I’m going to take Justin Herbert over Tua Tagovailoa,’ the gap between those two, to me, is astronomical," McFarland said during a panel on Get Up. "It’s like an ocean. Tua is much better at all the things it takes to play the quarterback position."

McFarland understands the draw of taking a guy like Herbert, who checks many of the boxes teams look for. He just thinks Tua is better at most of them, down the line.

And I get it. Herbert has the ideal size, he’s big, he’s mobile. But when you talk about being able to lead a team and do what the quarterback requires to be done for your football team – throw it accurately, make good decisions, take care of the football, the ability to anticipate throws – Tua Tagovailoa does that better than almost anyone except Joe Burrow in this draft. And if you’re taking Herbert before him, you’re making a huge mistake.”

A few teams have reportedly removed Tua from their draft boards entirely. There are also indications that the Dolphins and Chargers could pass on Tua, which could send him tumbling down the board on Thursday, potentially. Still, this could all be posturing, at least from some teams.

We'll find out where Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, and other top prospects will go next Thursday, April 23. The first round of the NFL Draft will begin at 8 p.m. ET.

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