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December mock drafts show how much things will change for the time being

Quarterbacks remain the most valued position in the NFL. Could that move Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert up the draft board?

Tua Tagovailoa of the Alabama Crimson Tide stands on the sidelines during the final seconds of the first half against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium on November 30, 2019 in Auburn, Alabama. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The 2020 NFL Draft is a little under five months away, and with the 2019 college football season still a month away from completion, storylines will change plenty. The most significant story that will maneuver in the coming months is that of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

The one-time consensus No. 1 pick dislocated his hip in November and is expected to get back to football activities sometime in the spring. It will impact if and when he might be able to perform for NFL teams in the lead up to the draft, which could leave some teams unwilling to roll the dice on him.

Tagovailoa’s draft prospects are going to result in him showing up all over the first round in 2020 NFL mock drafts, and even out of it entirely in some. And yet, as new information arrives, we’ll see those change week to week.

We have one such example this week at the Sporting News. A week ago, Vinnie Iyer had Tagovailoa out of the first round entirely in his mock draft. Today, Iyer is comfortable with the news coming out about Tagovailoa’s recovery that he now has the quarterback going third to the Miami Dolphins in his latest mock draft. Here’s what he said about the pick.

Now that we know Tagovailoa (6-1, 2018 pounds) should make a full recovery from his scary hip injury, he has to be the pick for the Dolphins because of his bright future. And it doesn’t hurt that Miami can keep Ryan Fitzpatrick to serve as the bridge QB should Tagovailoa need extra time to get to full strength. There have been some silly concerns about Tua being a product of the offense around him, but he is an accurate, mobile, deep-ball throwing quarterback with the upside of Russell Wilson, only throwing with his left arm. The Dolphins can’t afford to wait to see whether they will draft high enough to land Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence in 2021.

The Dolphins are going to draft a quarterback high in the 2020 NFL Draft, and Tagovailoa makes sense if they’re comfortable with his injury recovery. Nonetheless, it’s rather amusing how much Iyer changed within the course of a week. And he won’t be the only one shaking up mock drafts in the coming months. If we hear about a Tua setback, the whiplash will be real as people adjust again.

For the time being, Tua is the second quarterback off the board for Iyer. He has Joe Burrow going No. 1 to the Cincinnati Bengals, Justin Herbert No. 6 to the Denver Broncos, and Jalen Hurts No. 29 to the New Orleans Saints. The Broncos need a long-term answer at quarterback, but they did trade up high in the second round this past year to draft Drew Lock. The rookie debuted in Week 13 and helped the Broncos get a win, but will they see enough to pull the trigger on a quarterback high again? I doubt it, but you never know with general manager John Elway.