In the latest installment of our ‘Scouting the 2020 NFL Draft‘ series, we take a look at the potential first overall pick next April in Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa.
The 2020 NFL draft will have a handful of talented quarterbacks who are more than just first-round worthy; at least two will begin the season in the conversation for the No. 1 pick. That conversation starts with Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.
The former five-star recruit and nation’s top-ranked dual-threat quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa has risen to superstar status in just two seasons at Alabama and only one as the starter. He appeared in eight games in 2017, completing 63.6% of his passes for 636 yards, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions. He started all 15 games in 2018 and improved his completion rate to 69% en route to 3,966 yards, 43 touchdowns and just six interceptions.
Physically, Tagovailoa meets the minimum height requirements to play QB in the NFL. He measured in at 6-0 and a thicker-than-expected 230 pounds in March. He has more than enough bulk to withstand NFL punishment and there should be little-to-no concern about his ability to handle a 16-game schedule.
Athletically, Tagovailoa is a quicker-than-fast prospect who has traits similar to Russell Wilson when escaping the pocket. He won’t threaten defenses with field-flipping ability, but he’s more than capable of salvaging plays with his legs and turning would-be losses into big gains.
Tagovailoa posses a strong, compact, over-the-top release and he maintains balanced footwork through his throw. He has very good feet that he can quickly reset in the eye of pressure. His arm strength is NFL-ready. He can make all the throws on the route tree, including the challenging deep out and bucket throws down the field. His passes won’t knock over his receiver, but they’ll arrive with time to spare.
Tagovailoa’s best trait is his accuracy. He consistently throws his receivers into favorable situations and has enough velocity behind his passes to beat cornerbacks who have a good read on his target. He’s also extremely calm and collected regardless of the situation. He never gets rattled. Tagovailoa is ready to compete on Sundays with schooled veterans.
Overall, Tagovailoa is a franchise-caliber quarterback prospect who, assuming he stays healthy and doesn’t have a shockingly bad season, should be selected with one of the first few picks of the 2019 NFL draft. He’s in line with recent first-overall selections Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, and might be the most talented natural quarterback of the three.