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Michael Lombardi thinks Tua Tagovailoa injury risk outweighs upside

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa could be a top five draft pick, but teams are still sorting out his injury history.

Injured quarterback Tua Tagovailoa of the Alabama Crimson Tide leaves the field following warmups prior to the Vrbo Citrus Bowl against the Michigan Wolverines at Camping World Stadium on January 1, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

NFL Draft prospect Tua Tagovailoa is projected as a potential top five pick, but there has been some concern surrounding his injury history. He dislocated his hip last fall, but has also dealt with ankle injuries and other issues. He did not miss any game action prior to last season, but the injuries are a red flag. Prior to the hip injury, the Montgomery Advertiser listed out his reported injury history: broken finger (March 2018), sprained knee (October 2018), quad injury (November 2018), left ankle (December 2018), high right ankle sprain (October 2019).

Now, former NFL executive Michael Lombardi is trying to raise more red flags. On a recent podcast transcribed by the Miami Herald, Lombardi said that at least one team failed Tua’s physical, and Lombardi brought up other injury concerns, of which the Herald confirmed one.

“That’s got to get around that at least one team failed the physical on Tua others have to be concerned now as well,” Lombardi said on his GM Shuffle podcast. “What they saw...is they saw the fact it’s not just his hip. It’s his ankle. It’s his wrist.

“He broke his wrist the first day of spring ball one year. And then they fixed it, he came back, and he broke it again.”

It’s important to note that Lombardi can at times be a bit of a blowhard. He is connected thanks to an extensive NFL past, but he also can talk a big game. It’s not to say he’s making this up, but his comments are worth taking with a grain of salt.

A team failing Tagovailoa in a physical is not the end of the world. As Hall of Famer Kevin Mawae noted, he was failed in a Combine physical and said he wouldn’t last five years. It’s only one example, but all it takes is one team liking a player to prevent a slide.

Of course, if teams are sufficiently concerned with Tagovailoa’s injury history, a slide is possible. I doubt we see it because teams are desperate to find their quarterback of the future, but it’s not entirely off the table that it happens. I just wouldn’t bet on it.