Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) smiles as he watches second stringers finish an NCAA college football game against Auburn during the second half Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Tua Tagovailoa near ready for the NFL

It is safe to say the 2019-2020 college football season did not go to plan for Tua Tagovailoa.

Now, he is preparing to be a top-5 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Injury-laden Career

In 2017-2018, Tagovailoa delivered Alabama their 17th National Championship. He won Offensive MVP of the game.

Tua was the Heisman-frontrunner in 2018, amassing 43 touchdowns with only six interceptions. However, his campaign limped into the end with a sprained right ankle that led to surgery.

This past season, Tua once again had Heisman, and National Championship, hopes. A dislocated hip against Mississippi State ended the QB’s season abruptly.

Despite the injuries, Tagovailoa made the decision to enter the 2020 NFL Draft.

Since his surgery to repair his dislocated hip, the biggest concern for the Hawaiian QB is obviously his health. Over his career at Alabama, his statistics were worthy of a first-round pick. Tua averaged a QB rating over 193. He will finish his career with 88 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. To round it off, he had a completion percentage of 68 at Alabama, and it only increased in his three years of playing.

Despite recurring injuries throughout his career, Tua Tagovailoa’s doctors have states they do not believe he is injury prone. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

NFL Draft Preparations

Even though Tagovailoa’s doctors have not cleared the star to play, he is still at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

The event gives the QB a chance to make a case for himself, and show to owners that he will be healthy.

Tagovailoa’s doctors came forward and said that he is not injury prone, despite the recurring lower body issues experienced at Alabama.

Tua addressed the media before the draft to discuss his return to being healthy. He wants to focus on his lower body as a whole, not just the hip or ankle he injured at Alabama.

Tua does not plan on throwing at the NFL Combine that is happening this week. He wants to ensure that he is entirely healthy before showing teams his talents at the QB position.

Alabama will showcase their NFL talents on March 24 at their Pro Day. Tua’s personal pro day will be April 9, exactly two weeks before the NFL Draft. There, he will showcase his ability to throw and run in front of NFL coaches and scouts.

Possible Destinations

His freshman year in Tuscaloosa, Tagovailoa played backup to Jalen Hurts before coming in during the CFP National Championship Game to beat Georgia in overtime.

Tua announced he would not be opposed to being a backup, even if a starting job is ideal.

Taking a year to learn from a veteran has been successful in recent years. Perhaps the most glaring example is Patrick Mahomes, who sat out a year behind then Chiefs-starter Alex Smith. Mahomes was the tenth overall pick in 2017, won NFL MVP in 2018 and led the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl win in 50 years this past season.

So, where might Tua end up?

Joe Burrow from LSU is almost guaranteed to be a Cincinnati Bengal with the first overall pick, and Tua is projected to go second in the position. Bookies in Las Vegas currently have odds as to where Tagovailoa may end up.

The Lions and Dolphins both have older quarterbacks. While the Dolphins’ Ryan Fitzpatrick has a contract expiring after this upcoming season, Matt Stafford from the Lions is tied down until 2023 with an average salary hit of almost $27 million.

It is likely that, unless the Dolphins or Lions make moves, Tua will not be the starter come week 1 of the NFL season, but will gain knowledge from seasoned veterans.

About Kyle Fansler

Originally from Seminole in the Tampa Bay area, Kyle is a contributor for ESPN Gainesville as well as local NPR and PBS affiliate WUFT. Kyle wants to get into sports with a lofty dream of being a sports broadcaster. He was raised playing soccer and baseball while watching hockey and football, so the knowledge about various sports is fairly extensive.

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