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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
Post Draft Analysis
ESPN Insider Draft Analysis (paid subscription)
NFL.COM Draft Analysis
NFL Draft Bible Analysis (paid subscription)
Pro Football Focus Draft Analysis (paid subscription)
Pro Football Network (Tony Pauline) Analysis
Walter Football Analysis
Bleacher Report Analysis
The Dolphins were already plenty strong at corner with Xavien Howard and Byron Jones already solidified as starters, so expect Igbinoghene to compete for a job as the nickelback. A two-year starter and accomplished track athlete — as noted by The Athletic's Dane Brugler, Igbinoghene's father (Festus) was once the fifth-rated jumper in the world and his mother won bronze at the 1992 Summer Olympics as part of the Nigerian women’s 4x100 relay team — at Auburn, Igbinoghene (5'10/198) actually didn’t make the transition to corner until 2018 but still allowed only 6.9 yards per target as a true snap sponge (89.5%) in his last two seasons. He's also guaranteed to vie for reps on special teams at the next level after averaging 31.4 yards per return (20/628/2) over his career. Igbinoghene needs more development and may be exposed by savvy route runners early, but he undoubtedly has the traits and athleticism of a high-upside prospect.
Pro Football Focus *
Repeat it with me: You can never have too many coverage players. The Dolphins added Byron Jones to Xavien Howard in the cornerback room already this offseason, and they show here that they’re not done. Brian Flores’ man-heavy scheme, brought over from his days in New England, prioritizes speed and movement skills at the cornerback position. Igbinoghene has those things in spades. It’s the other aspects of the cornerback position that concern you. He doesn’t have great ball skills or instincts, but he is still very young and has the things you can’t teach.
NBC Sports (Chris Simms) *
Well I guess the dolphins are patriots south east and are gonna yet to have the best secondary in football. Noah Igbinoghene is gonna be an awesome slot corner. Man the dolphins are gonna be hard to throw on.
CBS Sports (Pete Prisco) *
Grade: A+. The captain of my Better-Than-Team. I think this pick is outstanding. He's a great press man guy. He tackled 10 times better than I expected from a track guy.
Sporting News (Vinnie Iyer) *
The Dolphins again pass on big needs at safety and running back in a reach pick for a nickel back to place between expensive starting cornerbacks. Igbinoghene (5-10, 198 pounds) stands out as a physical cover man for his size. He closes well on receivers at the end of their routes, which translates to good finishing burst against the run, too.
Pro Football Network (Tony Pauline) *
I mentioned all week Noah Igbinoghene was moving up draft boards, but no one expected him to end up in round one. He’s well-sized, feisty, and possesses solid ball skills. And while Igbinoghene is a solid corner, it’s surprising he was selected before Jaylon Johnson and Kristian Fulton.
Pro Football Network (Andrew DiCecco) *
With Kristian Fulton and Jaylon Johnson still on the board, the Dolphins make a stunning pick at 30, taking Auburn’s Noah Igbinoghene. The 5-foot-10, 198-pound cornerback is a chiseled and extremely physical defensive back. The former wide receiver is still a developing player but has the upside to become a high-level starter as a nickel defender with proper coaching.
GM Chris Grier (247 Sports) *
“Best player on the board for us. We felt really good about Noah. We got to know him. This is a passing league as everyone says. You can never have enough corners … (head coach) Brian (Flores) came from a really good defensive team when we hired him, and they had a lot of corners. At the end of the day, the way this league is offensively, it’s a premium position and the more you have, the better. It breeds competition. (He’s a) competitive kid that we really liked in the process.”
Igbinoghene brings good size with average arm length and above-average top-end speed. He is a tough press-man corner at the line of scrimmage and does a good job of rerouting wide receivers. Igbinoghene is better in man than zone coverage and excels in reading receivers in their routes. He does struggle to locate the ball, and he is frequently late and loses track of his leverage. And while he is a former wide receiver with adequate ball skills, he did not intercept a pass in 26 starts at the cornerback position. Igbinoghene is aggressive against the run and a solid tackler in space. He is a likely No. 3 or No. 4 CB as a rookie and has the potential to develop into a No. 2 starter. -- March 2020
Igbinoghene has good size, decent length and great top-end speed. He's a tough press-man corner who does a good job of rerouting wide receivers. He's better in man coverage than he is in zone, and he failed to intercept a pass in 26 starts at corner even though he's a former receiver. He is a solid tackler and aggressive run-defender. -- Steve Muench
Igbinoghene (pronounced IG-bin-OG-gah-nee) is the son of two Olympic-caliber track athletes from Nigeria. His mother, Faith, won a bronze medal with the Nigerian 4x100 relay team in 1992 and finished fifth with that team in 1996. His father, Festus, attended Mississippi State and won five SEC titles in the long and triple jumps. Noah was a standout in high school track, breaking the Alabama state record in the triple jump and finishing second in the nation in that event as a senior. He was a top-25 wide receiver recruit nationally and first-team all-state selection as a senior, as well. Igbinoghene began his career at Auburn on offense, playing in all 14 games of the 2017 season at receiver (six receptions, 24 yards, 4.0 average) while serving as the team's primary kick returner (25 returns, 571 yards, 23.8 average). He moved to cornerback for the 2018 season, starting nine of 13 games played (50 tackles, 1.5 for loss, one interception, 11 pass breakups) while continuing to contribute as a kick returner (11 returns, 311 yards, 28.3 average, one touchdown). Igbinoghene competed on the Auburn track squad in 2018, as well, finishing seventh in the long jump at the SEC Indoor Championships. He decided to head to the NFL after his junior campaign, when he started all 13 games (42 tackles, one for loss, seven pass breakups) and brought back one of nine kickoff returns for a score (nine returns, 317 yards, 35.2 average).
Stocky but explosive receiver-turned-cornerback whose play generates both intrigue and concern. He's extremely physical from snap to whistle with the strength to alter route timing from press. He's a good athlete with a plus burst to close. He's naturally aggressive to ambush catch tries. Staying in phase on the vertical plane is a challenge and pattern recognition is surprisingly average. Improvement is likely with more experience and technique, but playing with downfield poise is not guaranteed. He's good in run support and offers early special teams help as he continues to learn his craft.
NOAH IGBINOGHENE | Auburn | CB | #4 | JR | 5103 | 198 |
0938 |3168 | 7518 | 4.48 | Trussville, AL | Hewitt-Trussville HS |
11.27.99 | NIC | 7.3/8.4 | Rd2
After beginning his Auburn career at wide receiver, Noah Ignoniqhene has shown some big time growth at the cornerback position over the last two seasons. With an exciting
athletic profile, Igbonighene is a super twitchy player who possesses some of the smoothest transitions in the cornerback class. Explosive through the hips, he is able to turn and run with
anyone attacking vertically. Igbonighene is extremely sticky in coverage in trail technique, staying in phase well throughout the entirety of reps. His wide receiver background shows up big
time in coverage. He has a nice understanding of route concepts and the soft spots offenses are trying to attack. Currently Igbonighene’s best fit is in an off man system that allows him to
maintain eye discipline and transition downhill. He is also a competent run defender, showing little hesitancy to throw his weight around. While the upside is high, there is some rawness to
Igbonighene’s game that will need to be hammered out early. He does not have much experience in press man coverage. The reps he has, he is not able to work laterally well enough to cut
off momentum of various releases. When taking on blocks in the run game, he does not use his hands well enough, getting stuck on blocks far too often. Igbonighene is a high upside pick at
the next level. There might not be as much immediate return as you might like but down the road, he could be considered amongst the best defensive backs in the 2020 NFL Draft class.
Son of Faith and Festus Igbinoghene. Both of his parents were Olympic track athletes. Coached by Josh Floyd at Hewitt-Trussville High School in his hometown of Trussville,
Alabama. A top 60 wide receiver according to ESPN, 247 Sports and Rivals, and a top 25 receiver by Scout. Also recognized as a top 25 player from Alabama via ESPN, and a top 15 Alabama
player as evaluated by 247 Sports, Scout and Rivals. Ran track throughout high school as well. Studied in the College of Science and Math at Auburn.
While also competing in track for the Tigers, Igbinoghene played in 26 games and stood as both a corner and kick returner. Recorded 92 total tackles, 19 passes defensed, one
interception, and one forced fumble. Scored two kickoff return touchdowns at Auburn and averaged just over 31 yards a return on 20 attempts.
Two-year starter who made 42 tackles and broke up seven passes as a junior in 2019. Made 50 tackles with one interception and 11 pass breakups as a sophomore. Switched from wide receiver to cornerback before the 2018 season. Competed in the triple jump and the long jump for Auburn track and field in 2018.
Physical cover cornerback who also doubles as a return specialist. Quickly flips his hips to transition with opponents and loses nothing from the line of scrimmage. Effectively reads and diagnoses plays, stays with the action and competes to break up throws.
Shows the ability to stay downfield with opponents, works to get his head around to locate the pass in the air and has an explosive closing burst of speed to the play. Effective in zone coverage, quick up the field and gives effort against the run. Wraps up tackling and brings ball carriers down at the point of attack. Game-impacting kick returner.
Needs to polish his overall technique. Inconsistent with his back to the ball.
Igbinoghene was a solid cornerback for Auburn who displayed consistent progress the past two seasons. He possesses the size and speed to be a nickel corner and return kicks.
Noah Igbinoghene*, CB, Auburn
Height: 5-10. Weight: 198. Arm: 31.75. Hand: 9.38.
40 Time: 4.48.
Projected Round (2020): 2-3.
4/22/20: Team sources say Igbinoghene impressed them during the 2019 season. He was the Tigers' top cornerback and played well against a tough schedule. Igbinoghene had 42 tackles with seven passes broken up on the year. In 2018, he totaled 45 tackles with an interception and 11 breakups. Evaluators say Igbinoghene is a better athlete than player at this point, but he has a good skill set with lots of upside to develop.
Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
Igbinoghene started his Auburn career as a receiver, catching six passes and returning kickoffs as a freshman. He explained why he switched to defense at the combine.
"After my freshman season, three people said something to me about it. ... First I was sitting at my barber ... and my barber said something to me about it, because he used to play at Auburn. ... Then my pastor said something to me about it, and I said, ‘OK, this is kind of weird to me a little bit.' Then actually I met with Coach [Kevin] Steele ... he was down at the cornerback position, and he asked me to do it. I did it, and in six practices, I was starting."
Some NFL team should hire Igbinoghene's pastor and barber for its scouting department. Also, I really miss my barber. And yeah, my pastor, too.
Anyway, Igbinoghene's mother won a bronze medal for Nigeria for track and field in the 1992 Olympics, his father was an NCAA track star, and he was a high school standout in the triple jump. The tape shows a track athlete turned wide receiver turned cornerback, but the athleticism is obvious, and Igbinoghene likes to mix it up, both when pressing and when tackling.
This is an odd pick for the Dolphins, who signed Xavien Howard to a huge extension last year and then added Byron Jones as a free agent. But there is something to be said for building around one strong unit; for the Dolphins, the secondary is now that unit. And in the short term, they can stick Igbinoghene on special teams and in a nickel-dime role while they groom him as a starter. Unless his barber and pastor have better ideas, of course.
Post Draft Analysis
ESPN Insider Draft Analysis (paid subscription)
NFL.COM Draft Analysis
NFL Draft Bible Analysis (paid subscription)
Pro Football Focus Draft Analysis (paid subscription)
Pro Football Network (Tony Pauline) Analysis
Walter Football Analysis
Bleacher Report Analysis
Yahoo! Sports (Ed Edholm) *
The Dolphins are rolling the dice on greatness. Durability questions cloud — and dominate — Tagovailoa's evaluation, but he's a quick processor with uncanny accuracy who should find ways to thrive if healthy.
Draft Grade: A
Walter Football *
The Dolphins once didn't sign Drew Brees because they deemed him too risky. A few years later, they passed on Matt Ryan because they wanted to go the safer route with Jake Long. This time, they didn't make the mistake. The Dolphins medically cleared Tua Tagovailoa, so he had to be the choice at No. 5 overall. What makes this an A+ is that the Dolphins didn't have to trade up for him. The Miami front office did a great job of not panicking and getting its franchise quarterback.
Draft Grade: A+
Pro Football Focus *
After months of speculation, we finally got our answer — Tua Tagovailoa is a Miami Dolphin. Even with the injury, Tagovailoa was the second-ranked player on the PFF Draft Board because he does everything you want at an elite level. Tagovailoa’s accuracy, decision-making and pocket presence are light years ahead of Justin Herbert, who was reportedly also in the mix at Pick No. 5. Still, Tua was the only quarterback to post back-to-back 90.0-plus passing grades over the last two seasons. Sure, the injury is something to be worried about, but this was 100% the best possible scenario for the Dolphins.
While Tagovailoa is generally quick and decisive in the pocket, his best work comes when he can confirm his receiver’s leverage and put the ball in a good spot where his guy can get it. This skill translates well to systems with option routes where Tua can take the extra split second to ensure that his receiver is on the same page before throwing with accuracy against the leverage of the defender. This isn’t to say that he can’t throw without anticipation, but he has an excellent feel for seeing his receiver and then throwing accurately with his quick release.
NFL Network (Daniel Jeremiah) *
I come down to two words: urgency and twitch. That’s what you see when watch Tua. It’s quick eyes, quick decisions, quick feet, quick release. Another thing I love about him is it’s never too big for him. The moment has never been too big for him.
NFL Network (Kurt Warner) *
When you watch him play between the lines, what jumps out at you is the quickness by which he plays the game. And it starts with that left arm. His ability to get the ball out of his hands. His short- to mid-range accuracy is deadly. And then you talk about the quickness of his feet. In the RPO [run/pass option] game, I’m not sure I’ve seen that many quarterbacks at the college level that are better in the RPO game at being able to read the linebackers, set his feet and get the ball out accurately.
ESPN (Louis Riddick) *
They hit a home run. I’m glad they wound up taking him. There are so many things to like about him. He has so many traits that really transfer to the NFL, the touch on the deep ball. Don’t underestimate Tua’s arm. He can throw the ball with velocity, throw on the move.
ESPN (Mel Kiper Jr.) *
Turn on the tape and he’s phenomenal a super-accurate passer with everything NFL teams look for from their long-term starting quarterback. He needs to be more aware in the pocket [to avoid injuries]. So anticipatory a thrower. He’s not [simply] accurate; he’s precise, he’s a dart thrower. Left-handed Drew Brees. He needs to medically redshirt.
ESPN (Kirk Herbstreit) *
Love his decision making, his accuracy. How many times have we seen him make a throw where the receiver would catch the ball in stride? He’s going to have to learn to get down on some plays. But as far as everything you would look for being that franchise quarterback, he’s got it all.
ESPN (Jesse Palmer) *
The most important thing a quarterback has to have is great decision making and Tua certainly has that: 88 career touchdown passes, 11 interceptions. And I love the way Tua plays fast. He drops back quickly. He reads coverage quickly. The ball gets out of his hand fast. It just seems like he’s playing at a different gear that everybody else. To me, Tua has everything. There’s no doubt they’ve found their franchise quarterback.
CBS Sports (Pete Prisco) *
Grade: B. I understand why they picked him. The tape is good at times. There's also a lot of bad on that tape. He's not a big guy, he's a little brittle. To dismiss the medicals is ridiculous.
Sporting News (Vinnie Iyer) *
The Dolphins come full circle on Tagovailoa (6-0, 217 pounds) as their future franchise QB after creating several smokescreens. With Ryan Fitzpatrick under contract as a veteran bridge for one more year, they have time to get Tagovailoa up to speed physically and mentally should he need more time to heal. When healthy, Tagovailoa is an accurate, mobile, deep-ball throwing QB with the upside of Russell Wilson, only throwing with his left arm.
NFL.com (Chad Reuter) *
Tagovailoa’s injury history might have caused him to drop a couple of spots, but teams will regret not moving up to get him. The Dolphins did not pass on Tua, despite the injuries, avoiding repeating the mistake they made with Drew Brees in free agency back in 2006. Is this pick a risk? Yes, but greatness often starts with a risk. His accuracy is off the charts, his athleticism is excellent and his character impeccable. Build around this guy.
NFL.com (Greg Rosenthal) *
Tua's quick release, quick eyes, quick feet resetting in the pocket and quick decision-making make him look like a left-handed Drew Brees. More than a decade after Nick Saban passed on the chance to bring Brees to Miami because of injury concerns, Flores and Grier righted a wrong -- and they may have just snapped the post-Dan Marino Dolphins quarterback curse.
NFL Network (Bucky Brooks) *
“I like the thought of [new Dolphins offensive coordinator] Chan Gailey being able to work with Tua. He implemented the spread offense in Kansas City back in the day. He’s going to have a lot of fun with Tua. A lot of quick rhythm throws designed to let Tua get the ball out to the playmakers. He’s a fantastic RPO [run-pass option] quarterback. Chan Gailey will have lots of tricks for him in his playbook.”
NFL Network (Deion Sanders) *
“The Tua I’ve seen at Alabama since stepping on the scene has been wonderful. He’s not injury prone. This guy is a flat-out winner. He’s smart, he’s professional, he’s articulate, he’s going to say the right things. He’s going to enhance your organization. I love everything about this kid. I think he’s going to be a phenomenal success in Miami.”
Trent Dilfer *
“I’ve never personally seen a prospect as good as Tua. I think the kid is beyond special. A lot of guys are twitchy but they may lack power. There’s a lot of guys that are powerful but they lack twitch. Tua is the ultimate combination of both for me. He has Russell Wilson-type twitch in his eyes, where he actually sees things before they happen. If you watch enough film, watch the times he throws the deep over route... where he throws them before his eyes are actually there.”
Tagovailoa started 24 of 29 possible games over his last two seasons and completed 70% of his throws with 76 touchdown passes and nine interceptions (a ridiculous 8.4-1 ratio). While he lacks ideal height, he has fast eyes, outstanding field vision from inside the pocket and natural instincts. His release is quick and compact, and he with good arm strength. His touch and accuracy are elite on all three levels, and he displays rare anticipation and timing. Tagovailoa has a great feel for trajectory and throws a beautiful deep ball. He is also a twitchy athlete with a very good feel for pressure, and he has above-average mobility in the pocket and good quickness to tuck the ball and run for first downs. He has excellent poise under pressure, as the moment is never too big for him, and he bounces back from mistakes. Durability is obviously the biggest concern. He was not the same quarterback late in the 2018 season when dealing with lower-leg injuries. He has had a knee injury, two ankle surgeries and a season-ending hip injury in 2019. Tagovailoa is a special talent -- very similar to a left-handed version of Drew Brees. His field vision, suddenness and natural accuracy are unique traits. Ultimately, his medical reports will decide where he is selected. -- March 2020
Tagovailoa is a left-handed quarterback with excellent field vision, accuracy and athletic ability. He has a quick, compact release and good arm strength. He shows excellent poise under pressure and the moment is never too big for him. He compares favorably to Drew Brees. -- Steve Muench
The Dolphins traded a second-round pick for Josh Rosen last year, but he lost the starting job to 37-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick. Neither is the long-term answer. While Miami finished 12th in passing yards per game, it finished 25th in scoring offense and 27th in total offense. The return of Fitzpatrick means the Dolphins don't have to rush Tagovailoa. Most importantly, Tagovailoa is arguably the best quarterback in this class if he's healthy. You can't pass on him if you are comfortable with the medical. -- Steve Muench
Tua Tagovailoa (pronounced TOO-uh Tongue-OH-vai-LO-uh) became a household name as a true freshman, replacing Tide starter Jalen Hurts at the start of the second half of the 2017 National Championship Game to lead the team to a comeback victory (14 of 24, 166 yards, three TD, INT). As a follow-up, Tagovailoa won the Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year awards in 2018, along with SEC Offensive Player of the Year and second-team Associated Press All-American honors. He started all 15 games, completing 69 percent of his passes (245 of 355) for 3,966 yards, 43 TDs and six INTS. His junior season was cut to nine starts (180 of 252, 71.4 percent completion rate, 2,840 yards, 33 TDs, three INTs) as he fought through an ankle issue and then suffered a hip injury that ended his season but was not considered career-threatening. It was no surprise that Tagovailoa starred early in his career in Tuscaloosa. The Hawaii High School Player of the Year in 2016 (3,932 yards, 43 passing TDs) and son of an American Samoan father was a five-star recruit and the top dual-threat quarterback nationally, as well as the MVP of the Elite 11 competition.
Talented dual-threat quarterback with winning background, explosive production and loads of experience in high-leverage games. He may be pigeon-holed into a spread or RPO-heavy attack, but he's actually a clean fit in a pro-style attack filled with play-action and roll-outs. He has the release, accuracy and touch needed to work all three levels successfully and can become a more disciplined, full-field reader to piece the puzzle together against NFL coverages. He needs better poise when pressured, but his escapability not only moves the chains, it creates chunk plays in the air and on the ground. Teams assessing his draft value will need to sift through mounting durability concerns and decide whether he is a "face of the franchise" talent without the abundance of talent surrounding him.
TUA TAGOVAILOA | Alabama | QB | #13 | JR |
6000 | 217 | 1000 | 3048 | 7528 | 4.58 |
Ewa Beach, HI | St. Louis HS | 03.02.98 | NIC | 8.3/9.7 | Rd1
If you were to poll the prominent key decision makers in the NFL, most would likely concur that the ‘Crimson Cannon’ is the premier draft-eligible prospect in the land early in the
college football season. Ever since being inserted into the National Championship game as a freshman, Tagovailoa has been near flawless, guiding The Crimson Tide to an undefeated mark,
while showing all the attributes of a future franchise quarterback. While he is no doubt a dual-threat signal-caller, Tagovailoa does an excellent job biding his time in the pocket, reading
through his progressions and making the smart decision. This allows him to spray the ball around the field and get an array of players involved on offense. Not only can he make all the
throws but part of the allure of Tagovailoa is his rare ability to make the ‘special’ throws. The Hawaii native is cool as a cucumber under pressure (similar demeanor to Marcus Mariota) and
earns high marks for having outstanding character. A mature individual, who handles the media masterfully, while treating others with respect on and off the field—a true pleasure to be
around, plus a phenomenal overall talent. Tagovailoa clearly doesn’t possess ideal height but the value of that measurement has certainly been devalued in the current NFL climate. If
anything is going to threaten the future success of Tagovailo, it is going to be his durability concerns. The ankle injury during the 2018 season was highlighted extensively. With his most
recent hip injury that cost him the end of the 2019 season, health is becoming a major concern for Tua moving forward. How these physical ailments affect his game from a playing style
perspective remain to be seen. The way the lefty-throwing Tagovailoa operates, along with his innate ability to scramble and re-occurring clutch performances is very reminiscent of Steve
Young, making him one of the premier draft-eligible prospects in America.
Tagovailoa experienced a season ending hip injury in 2019 in their matchup with Mississippi State, suffering a right hip dislocation with a fracture to the posterior wall of the socket
in 2019. This is the same injury that former Raiders Bo Jackson suffered that eventually led to the end of his career. According to reports at the NFL Combine, his medical evaluation came
back ‘looking great’ and MRIs were clean, his hip fracture was healed and there was no loss of blood flow. Dr. Norman Waldrop was quoted as saying, he has no reason to think that he’s not
going to have anything but an exceptional recovery [from his hip injury]. Previously, he suffered a high ankle sprain during the 2018 SEC Championship Game, which required surgery—he
actually injured both ankles in that game. However, Tagovailoa was back on the field in just a few weeks, in time to lead Alabama to the national championship. His ankle procedure is a
rather new method that very few athletes have experienced. The ‘tightrope’ surgery was done by Dr. Thomas Clanton and involved the insertion of screws into the tibia and fibula, bonding
them like one would a pair of two-by-fours with a nail. In tightrope fixation, surgeons slip a high-strength suture through small holes in the bone, fasten it with small metal buttons and then tighten it as you would a zip tie, as described in Sports Illustrated (January of 2019). Current Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Cam Robinson was the first player to undergo the surgery.
Was rated as the nation's top-ranked dual-threat quarterback according to 247Sports, 247Composite, Scout and ESPN. MVP of Nike's 2016 "The Opening," participated in the
U.S. Army All-America Bowl and the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge; named MVP of the 2016 Elite 11 quarterback competition. Finished his career with 8,158 passing yards, the most in Hawai'i high school football history, while adding 84 passing touchdowns; contributed 1,727 rushing yards and 27 scores over his three-year career. Threw for 3,932 yards and 43 touchdowns as a senior in 2016, helping St. Louis and head coach Cal Lee capture the 2016 HHSAA District 1 State Championship.
In 33 career games (22-2 record as a starter), he completed 474-of-684 passes (69.3%) for 7,442 passing yards, 87 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, for a rating of 206.9.
** Why did you end up throwing left-handed as a kid? My dad was the only lefty in our family and he wanted me to be a lefty as well so he switched the way I threw. I didn’t touch the
ball with my right as far as throwing, just threw with my left. I don’t think I would be here if I was a righty.
** What do you think about NCAA three-year rule, do you think you should have been able to come out earlier? Nah, I think the three-year rule is good. It’s different with basketball and baseball, I’d say, only because now you’re getting hit by guys of these nature. These are grown men. They have to feed their families. They’re trying to make a living as well. Gaining as much experience, gaining as much knowledge as you can from your college coaches is probably the best thing.
** Did your dad make you a lefty only for football, or for other sports also? My parents tried to put me in other sports. My dad wanted me to play baseball. I played tee ball for about a
year and a half. I couldn’t do it. I played first base and I played outfield. Well, I played outfield and I was picking weeds. It was too slow for me. I couldn’t do it. They put me at first base
thinking I’d get a lot more action. I was picked weeds again. It just didn’t work for me.
PASSING BY DEPTH:
Two-year starter who earned Second Team All-America honors, led the SEC with 43 touchdown passes and completed 69 percent of his passes for 3,966 yards with six interceptions as a sophomore in 2018. Earned Second Team All-SEC honors and completed 71.4 percent of his passes for 2,840 yards and 33 touchdowns with three interceptions as a junior before a dislocated hip ended his season.
A polished quarterback with a long injury history that includes a serious hip issue from last season. Remains poised under the rush, steps up in the pocket to buy time and naturally looks off the safety. Displays complete command and control of the offense, uses all his weapons and leads the team extremely well. Knows what’s happening on the field, quickly releases the ball and delivers passes that immediately get to the intended target.
Displays timing, puts passes in front of receivers and lets them run to the throw. Goes through progressions and takes the safe underneath outlet if nothing else is available. Keeps his feet active, displays outstanding pocket awareness and senses the rush. Easily moves outside the box to give himself a better view of the field and buys time for receivers. Makes good decisions and does not force the ball to covered targets. Flashes the ability to drop the ball in the bucket and nicely place passes into the receiver’s hands.
Durability has been a major issue throughout his college career. Stands to improve his downfield accuracy and pass placement.
When healthy and on the field, Tagovailoa was a productive quarterback who naturally led the Alabama offense up and down the field. While he lacks pocket stature, he possesses all the other traits and qualities necessary to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. The hip injury suffered late last season is a big question mark and will be viewed differently around the league, but from a passing and intangible point of view, Tagovailoa is the top quarterback in this year’s draft.
Tua Tagovailoa has immense arm talent from just about every aspect of his game that you look at. Has very good arm strength, shows good touch on passes that require such, and throws from different platforms and arm angles. From an arm talent standpoint, he has one of the best arms in this class. The only knock I can give him in this category is that when he played hurt (and he did, we have a lot of tapes), his arm strength wasn’t nearly as strong as the top arms in this class. 17/20.
Tua is very accurate with the football. Not only can he throw people open, but Tua can make tight-window throws. His placement is extraordinary. He’s definitely a pinpoint quarterback. Struggled to place the ball through injuries at times. 21/25.
Tua’s pocket presence and awareness are through the roof. He owned the pocket and showed extraordinary ability to work through pressure and maintain his composure. His footwork is good and consistent. 18/20.
Tagovailoa is a very mobile guy when healthy. He still is through injury, but it is slightly limited. His ability to create time outside of the pocket is extraordinary. He buys himself time and is more than an ample runner. Tua throws very well on the move and maintains his accuracy. 19/20.
Football IQ/Field Vision:
Tua sees the field very well and doesn’t often miss receivers. He creates for his receivers at times too, with his extraordinary ability to move defenders with his movements and eyes. He understands the defenses that he plays against and can pick them apart. Tua does well with simple coverages but has shown the ability to be fooled by disguised coverages. He spent the entire 2019 offseason working on adjusting to those coverages. 11/15.
Tua is an extraordinary leader and his personality is infectious. Not many people have been able to calm or temper Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Tua has and it’s incredible to watch. He grew up sleeping with a football. 5/5.
There aren’t many quarterbacks that come out of college as technically sound as Tua has. His father has coached him his entire life and it shows on tape when you see just how many of the nuances that he has already mastered. The arm talent is there, the intangibles are there, and he’s a brilliant play creator. The only real red flag is the injuries that have consistently marred his playing time. If Tua can overcome injuries, he’s going to be a star in the NFL. He’s a top ten prospect in my book.
Injury Rating: (-3)
Ceiling Rating: (4)
Overall Grade: 92
Tua Tagovailoa*, QB, Alabama
Height: 6-0. Weight: 217. Hand: 10.
Projected 40 Time: 4.70. Projected Round (2020): Top-10.
4/21/20: Tagovailoa has received positive medical reports about his injured hip, but because of COVID-19, he wasn't able to work out for NFL teams before the 2020 NFL Draft. He posted videos of him being unrestricted throwing passes and moving around well. All signs reportedly show that he is rehabbing well from his hip injury.
Disaster struck for Tagovailoa and Alabama when he went out for the season due to a dislocated hip suffered against Mississippi State. His injury is rare and not common in football, but the medical prognosis was that Tagovailoa will make a full recovery and resume football activities in 2020.
Earlier in the 2019 season, Tagovailoa suffered a high ankle sprain against Tennessee and had surgery the day after the injury. Given the hip injury on top of the others injuries he had over his career, there will be major medical and durability concerns for Tagovailoa in the leadup to the 2020 NFL Draft.
In 2019, Tagovailoa completed 71 percent of his passes for 2,840 yards with 33 touchdowns and three interceptions. He had two rushing touchdowns as well. Tagovailoa was superb, doing a tremendous job of getting the ball in the hands of his play-makers and making good decisions with impeccable ball security. All season, he threw the ball accurately, showing good field vision, anticipation and patience. He is an aggressive passer who challenges defenses downfield while throwing an accurate deep ball.
8/15/19: Tagovailoa has a quality arm that can make any throw required in the NFL. After his heroic effort to win the 2017 season's National Championship for Alabama, Tagovailoa was even better as a sophomore, completing 69 percent of his passes for 3,966 yards with 43 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also is a good athlete with some running ability, notching five rushing touchdowns in 2018. His mobility and athleticism allow him to buy time and escape sacks. There are also times that Tagovailoa shows an ability to scramble and make throws off platform to move the chains. Tagovailoa looks like a future NFL starter and probably will be a team's young franchise quarterback come training camp of 2020.
Tagovailoa is an aggressive passer who doesn't hesitate to challenge defenses downfield. He throws a very good deep ball, showing a quality arm and an ability to place his passes well downfield. He may not have an elite cannon, but his arm looks good enough. In the pocket, Tagovailoa shows patience and doesn't panic when his first read is covered. With presence and feel, Tagovailoa has the ability to function in a vertical passing offense.
Tagovailoa is a steady passer who generally has good accuracy. He does well for the most part on his short and intermediate passes to hit receivers on the run on slants and crossing routes.
Tagovailoa has some things he can seek to improve, and he definitely has upside to develop as he gains more experience in only his second season as a starter. There are plays on which he could pull the trigger a little faster and anticipate his receivers breaking open rather than waiting an extra second. In the NFL, he won't have as much time to throw as he does at Alabama. His footwork and mechanics could use some development, but he has a very good starting point for a quarterback entering the NFL. Tagovailoa is also left-handed, and his pro receivers will need time to adjust to him as the vast majority are used to a right-handed quarterbacks. Additionally, his offensive line is going to need a very good right tackle because he will be the blind-side protector for Tagovailoa.
Tua Tagovailoa, Quarterback, Alabama
Bleacher Report's Pinpoint-Accurate Quarterback Comparison:
Southpaw Jeff Garcia; Jittery Mark Brunell.
Tua appeared so suddenly in January 2018 and vanished so quickly when he suffered his severe injury last November that he's the quarterback equivalent of a unicorn. Yes, the highlights were mesmerizing, and "Tank for Tua" was a fun rallying cry when the Dolphins were trading office furniture for draft picks. But did we really see what we thought we saw? Is Tua the Drew Brees-caliber talent he looked like over Saturday afternoon beers? Or are we misremembering how much he benefited from Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, DeVonta Smith and the best year-in, year-out program in college football?
Make no mistake:
Tua has an exceptional arm, fine mobility, a knack for breathtaking throws and the demeanor to handle big-game situations. He also has a bad habit of sailing throws and getting antsy in a collapsing pocket. His mechanics are wonky, especially when he's forced to throw on the move. Quite a few of his highlights involve Jeudy adjusting perfectly to a back-shoulder catch or Smith/Ruggs beating an All-SEC cornerback by a stride to get open. And of course, there's both the major hip and back injury last year and recurring ankle injuries before that.
If this all sounds more negative than the typical Tua scouting report, it's because he comes with such exceptionally high risk. Even if he were fully healthy, Tua would likely need a Patrick Mahomes/Lamar Jackson redshirt year to clean up his raw mechanics. Factor in the health concerns, and Tua's bust potential is as high as his boom potential.
Tua could turn out to be the quarterback he appeared to be for about 25 college games. He could also be a meteor who streaked across our Saturdays. The comps above suggest something in between: Garcia and Brunell were both tough, mobile gamers who could rack up wins and numbers when surrounded by Pro Bowl-caliber weapons. The Dolphins would be happy if Tua turns into a quarterback like that.
In any case, we probably won't be able to even guess which direction Tua is headed in until sometime in 2021. This selection will look like either an A++ or something much lower in a few years. Under the circumstances, we’ll hedge our bets, even though the Dolphins chose not to.