4 Reasons Tua Tagovailoa Is Going to Be a Bust in the NFL

| February 19, 2020 4:35 am PDT
Why Tua Tagovailoa Is Going to Be a Bust

Despite seeing his junior season cut short due to a hip injury, Tua Tagovailoa’s name is still floating around as the potential top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The former Alabama quarterback isn’t working out at the 2020 NFL Combine, and he might not even throw a pass before the draft takes place.

Yet nothing has stopped GMs around the NFL from clamoring about the idea of drafting Tua Tagovailoa as their franchise quarterback. Even Todd McShay thinks Tua could be better than Joe Burrow.

However, I see it differently. A lot differently.  

Forget about considering Tua for the first overall pick; I wouldn’t touch Tagovailoa with a 10-foot pole in rounds 2 or 3, either.

That statement is sure to raise an eyebrow or two, and I’ll probably be made fun of for making such a bold declaration. Then again, my buddies at SDSU laughed at me back in 2009 when I predicted Kawhi Leonard would be a perennial All-Star in the NBA, and that premonition seemed to pan out okay.

Frankly, I have 4 reasons why Tua Tagovailoa is going to be a bust in the NFL, and I’m happy to share them with you.

Who Was the Last Great Alabama QB?

Of all of the high praise that Nick Saban has received in Tuscaloosa, he’s far from a quarterback whisperer. In fact, the Crimson Tide head coach doesn’t really develop QBs at all when it comes to preparing them for the next level.

That’s not really up for debate, either; that’s a black and white fact. Just go look back for yourself.

The following list showcases all of the Alabama starting quarterbacks (prior to Tua Tagovailoa) since Saban took over in 2007.

Alabama Starting Quarterbacks Under Nick Saban
Jalen Hurts
Blake Barnett
Jake Coker
Blake Sims
AJ McCarron
Greg McElroy
John Parker Wilson

You could argue that AJ McCarron was/is a serviceable backup, but even that’s a stretch. These other guys all balled out during their time at Alabama, yet none of them have a presence in the NFL.

Perhaps Tagovailoa will break the trend, but I’m not putting a single egg in that basket.

Tagovailoa’s Lingering Hip Injury

The hip injury Tua Tagovailoa suffered on November 16th, 2019, was likened to the type of injury sustained from an extremely severe automobile accident. Tua’s hip was essentially dislodged from the socket — something that typically only happens when incredibly brutal force is applied.

In terms of how Tua has been healing since his hip surgery in mid-November, only time will tell. His team of doctors isn’t going to publicly put out anything that negatively affects his draft stock, and we may not see him throw a football before the draft takes place. However, protecting Tagovailoa is the only thing that makes sense at this point.

Tua will be present at the combine and can answer questions, but he won’t take part in any workouts.

Remember, he’s an undersized QB who had procedures done on both of his ankles as a collegian, and that was before he busted his hip against Mississippi State in November. While other quarterbacks can concentrate on their crafts at the combine, Tua is more than aware of how serious his hip injury is and is just hoping to emerge unscathed.

“No one can really tell if it’s going to heal correctly, if it isn’t. That’s why I think at the Combine…my main focus is to win my medical. That’s pretty much it. Everyone else is going to be there to win the 40, win the bench press. My main concern is to go over there and win my MRI, win my CT scan there.”

So he’ll be six months removed from the injury, and dropping back to throw passes isn’t even on the radar. Yeah, not exactly the type of baggage I want surrounding a guy who is supposed to be my franchise QB.

The Realistic Timeline for Tua to Contribute

Due to the aforementioned hip injury, don’t expect to see Tua Tagovailoa under center when week 1 gets underway in early September. In fact, his rookie season will likely be nothing more than a redshirt year, as any team that selects him will be ultra-careful while allowing his hip to fully heal.

Here’s the problem.

The NFL is a “what have you done for me lately” type of business where organizations don’t necessarily have time to wait around with the hope that a certain player may or may not develop. Especially now in a time where winning with a QB under his rookie contract is what everybody’s after.

Quarterbacks with prototypical size and sincere arm strength come through the draft left and right, not to mention that veterans on the waiver wire are angling for jobs all the time. 

It’s possible Tagovailoa hits the ground running when he inevitably gets an opportunity, but there’s also a chance that he quietly fades off into oblivion. 

The Game Will Only Get Faster

I have no reservations whether or not Tagovailoa can throw the deep ball accurately, and he has demonstrated his ability to process the defense and deliver the football on time. Where Tua didn’t excel was anytime he had to maneuver in and outside of the pocket and make plays with his feet.

The NFL is evolving, whether you or I like it, and the days of quarterbacks making a living taking three-step drops are numbered. Ryan Leaf was asked by Dan Patrick on the DP Show if he’d take a chance on Tua Tagovailoa, and I’ll repeat what the former #2 pick in the 1998 NFL Draft had to say below.

“The game’s changing. It’s more about getting outside the pocket, doing things differently, and every time he did do that, he got pulled down, he got chased down, he got injured. And that for me is a red flag, it just is.”

Tua is used to playing behind a stalwart offensive line that dominated the trenches. He’s likely to wind up in a situation with a protection scheme that’s less than stellar, meaning he’ll have no choice but to try and evade tacklers and extend plays with his legs. I’m talking about those same lower extremities that were battered and bruised during his time at Alabama.

If Tagovailoa thought the edge rushers in the SEC were fast, wait until he sees the speed possessed by defensive ends and outside linebackers in the National Football League.

The game is only going to get faster.  

Final Thoughts

I’m not trying to rain on Tua’s parade; I just have extreme caution when considering him as a future stud in the NFL. Touts are claiming Tagovailoa is in the running to surpass Joe Burrow as the #1 pick, so a mediocre career clearly isn’t the end goal.

I understand the hype, and I’m all for aiming high, but I chuckle at the people who talk about Tua and draw comparisons to Drew Brees. Personally, I view Tagovailoa as an overrated prospect who won’t last in the NFL.

In the event that Tua Tagovailoa is selected with the first pick in April, he could very well join the list of the biggest #1 pick busts in NFL Draft history.

Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for GamblingSites.com on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

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  1. Slim Shady November 28, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    Michael Wynn, if you’re gonna be a sports writer or any writer on the internet, never ever get involved in the comments section dude. Nothing to gain, people only go to comment sections to argue and be antagonistic. Drop your hot takes and move on

  2. Albert Fartknocker October 24, 2020 at 9:32 pm

    Tua’s gonna suck. Jesus Christ what are the dolphins thinking

  3. John Thomas September 8, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    Yo… Mike, I hope this is just a hobby for you and you don’t really consider yourself a “sports writer”….. because this article is STRAIGHT dog sh*t full of someone who clearly knows nothing about football trying to drown us with your bullsh*t hot takes. GamblingSites.com fire this chump immediately and do everyone a favor.

  4. Ted Reddick July 16, 2020 at 11:37 pm

    From your Burrow article
    “Saying that Joe Burrow will be a bust in the NFL might sound a little harsh, and I don’t anticipate it pans out as such”

    So you don’t think Burrow will be a bust. But Tua will cause of some QB who went to school at Alabama 10 years ago.

    Tua has 4 NCAA records. Career passer efficiency. Yards per Attempt, Yards adjusted per attempt and career TD-INT ratio (Even though Fields will likely break this)

    I will revisit this in 3 years when Tua is a 2 time pro bowler with a ring.

  5. Michael Wynn July 15, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    I am far from a Bama hater and having nothing against Tua. Did you read this article where I laid out why I think Burrow could also be a bust?


    I get it that Bama fans are clouded and can’t see past Tua’s flaws, but they’ll be exposed soon enough

  6. Ted Reddick July 2, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    “ Succeeding at the NFL level is about a lot more than standing behind a great O-line and locating open receivers.”

    Tua does a lot more than that. All those receivers were wide open against LSU? Or Auburn 2018?

    Please. You are dismissing Tua’s skill acting like he just throws to wide open guys when clearly film shows different.

    And reading through your articles you don’t mention anything about Burrow being a bust cause of his weapons

    Just another BAMA hater. Roll tide

  7. Michael Wynn July 1, 2020 at 8:11 am

    I hear you – which is why I am not just going off of college stats.

    Give me Love over Tua all day.

    I am trying to project what I see at the next level, and I don’t envision Tua being successful. Succeeding at the NFL level is about a lot more than standing behind a great O-line and locating open receivers.

    I guess only time will tell…

  8. Ted Reddick June 27, 2020 at 9:25 pm

    Jordan love went in the first round throwing 20 tds to 17 ints.

    AJ macaron went in the 5th round and had great stats.

    Nfl scouts look at more than just stats. Traits like accuracy pocket presence and other stuff matters to

  9. Ted Reddick June 27, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    Do you feel the same way about Burrow with Justin Jefferson, jamarr chase, Marshall and the running back helaire? And the joe Moore award winning o line? You make it seem like Tua had all the talent and Burrow had done.

    If you elimate tuas games against cupcakes like west Carolina and only keep SEC opponents, Oklahoma and Clemson he had 66% completion 56 tds and 8 ints. He has great anticipation and accuracy. With or without jeudy

  10. Michael Wynn June 26, 2020 at 9:24 am

    That’s my point. If Tua went to a school like Arizona State or Utah his numbers wouldn’t have been bloated like they were due to playing in Alabama’s high-octane offensive scheme. All he did was stand behind the pocket behind top-notch protection and play pitch and catch with studs. Let’s see him run around and get chased by NFL pass rushers