After a recent hip injury, do the Tennessee Titans have a chance to see Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa fall into their lap in the 2020 NFL Draft?
Prior to suffering a hip injury last weekend, there was no shot that the Tennessee Titans could land Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Before the start of the season, Tagovailoa was the consensus No. 1 quarterback in next year’s draft, however LSU signal-caller Joe Burrow exploded onto the scene in 2019 and took that title from him. At worst, Tagovailoa would have been the second quarterback taken off the board.
But now his future is up in the air. A serious hip injury and a checkered past with injuries overall could hurt his draft stock and teams at the top of the draft could be more wary of taking him as a result, despite the fact that Tagovailoa is expected to make a full recovery.
So, could the Titans find themselves with a chance to select Tagovailoa outside the top 10, whether that be at their default draft position or by trading up?
It’s possible, but of even having the slightest chance to do so will hinge on one very important thing: Tagovailoa could decide to stay in college for one more year and try to improve on his current draft stock by proving he can stay healthy.
In that case, this entire dream is squashed before it gets off the ground, however let’s just assume for the moment that Tagovailoa comes out anyway.
When you look at the current top 10, there are a few teams that are a lock to take a quarterback. The Cincinnati Bengals (No. 1) and Miami Dolphins (No. 4) are two of those teams. Beyond them, teams like the Denver Broncos (No. 6) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 7) are also possibilities.
The Bengals will certainly go with Burrow, but there’s no telling what the Dolphins will do if presented with Tagovailoa at No. 4. It’s very possible Tagovailoa’s injury history scares them, in which case they could roll with Utah State’s Jordan Love or Oregon’s Justin Herbert.
From there, the Broncos are not certain to be looking quarterback. They do have 2019 second-round pick Drew Lock, who has spent his first season in the NFL on injured reserve but could return soon. The Bucs are another wild card, as they may or may not re-sign Jameis Winston.
Let’s say the Dolphins draft Herbert or Love, the Broncos decide to stick with Lock and the Bucs keep Winston. In that situation, Tagovailoa would be outside the top 10, making it a much easier situation for the Titans to trade into.
If the season ended today, the Titans would own the No. 15 overall pick, and if the scenario I just mentioned plays out, that leaves them five picks from Tagovailoa. The only real concern from there is the Los Angeles Chargers, who are slated to pick at No. 11 and could be in the market for a quarterback if they decide to move on from a declining Philip Rivers.
Should Los Angeles not be looking to draft Tua, general manager Jon Robinson should be aggressive and trade whatever is necessary to move up and leave no chance for anyone else to grab him.
Sure, Tagovailoa has his fair share of concerns, but the Titans would have a chance to draft a player with unquestioned elite ability that could be a generational talent for great value. Those types of players don’t fall into your lap everyday.
The good thing with taking Tagovailoa whether he’s totally healthy or not at that point is that the Titans have a chance to set themselves up to ease him in. Re-signing quarterback Ryan Tannehill would give the team a stop-gap for one season, and the Alabama star will have whatever time he needs to get right, if it even takes that long.
We’ve already seen the Titans GM be willing to take a chance on an injured player like he did with Jeffery Simmons in 2019, and taking the same approach with a superbly-talented quarterback makes even more sense.
Now, do I think Tagovailoa would just fall into the Titans’ lap without them having to do anything? No, but he has become a lot more realistic of an option in recent days for Tennessee.
With that said, a lot still has to go right for the Titans, even in the current climate – and that’ll be especially true if the Titans pick lower in the first round because they finish the season strong.
However, if everything falls into place and the Titans are staring at a chance to land him, Tagovailoa is a risk the Titans must take.