Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa entered Week 12 of the college football season firmly in the mix to be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, he suffered a dislocated hip and is out for the rest of the season. He underwent surgery on Monday, and he could be back throwing by the spring.
A hip dislocation is a scary injury and his long-term prognosis is very much up in the air. Some people think he should rehab at Alabama and wait to enter the 2021 NFL Draft once he’s able to show he’s fully healthy. Others think that given the NFL’s lack of quality quarterbacks, he’s guaranteed to be a first round pick in 2020, so he might as well enter the draft.
If he does enter the 2020 NFL Draft, he is almost certain to slip to at least some degree. NFL mock drafts are picking up steam, and they’re starting to show us just how far he might slip next April.
CBS Sports analyst Chris Trapasso published his latest 2020 NFL mock draft on Wednesday, and he had what many NFL fans would consider the most maddening result. He has the New England Patriots selecting Tagovailoa with the 31st overall pick of the draft. His analysis of the pick sums things up succinctly.
The other 31 teams collectively drop their jaws at the same time. To get the fifth-year option on him, the Patriots take the injured Tagovailoa to plan for their post-Tom Brady future.
It would somehow be fitting that the Patriots land one of the most dynamic talents to ever come out of college football. They’re on track to secure their 19th straight winning season and Tom Brady seems like he could still have two or three or more years left in him. They can afford to sit on Tua and give him to rehab and prepare to take over when Brady is finally ready to retire. Or, if Brady manages to stick around longer than even the most optimistic projections, then I suppose Bill Belichick trades Tua for a draft haul and we never hear the end of it.
There’s a long way to go before next spring’s NFL Draft. Tua almost assuredly will not take part in drills at the NFL Combine, and he likely won’t be able to do much more between now and the draft. Teams will have a lot to figure out from a medical perspective as they try and project him out. He seems a safe bet to go in the first round, but where exactly is anybody’s guess.