• Brian L. Barefield

"FLUNKED" Former NFL GM: Teams Don't Trust Tua Tagovailoa Can Stay Healthy

Most NFL fans know that the month of April is when any and everything will be said about college football players who are waiting to hear their names called in the NFL Draft.

One year we were told by a former NFL executive that future NFL MVP Lamar Jackson should switch from the quarterback position where he won the Heisman Trophy to wide receiver because that executive didn’t believe that he could play that quarterback position in the NFL.

Another year we heard that future NFL Rookie of the Year and former Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray would not have success in the league because he was too short and wouldn’t be able to adapt to losing after being so successful in high school and college.

So, we shouldn’t be surprised by the latest chatter when it comes to former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He had amazing career stats in two full seasons as a starter for Alabama (7,442 yards passing, 87 touchdowns), but was hampered by injuries during those years.

Those injuries include:

· Right high ankle sprain

· Left high ankle sprain

· Sprained right knee

· Broken left index finger

· Dislocated right hip

Some teams who have a need for quarterback are hesitant to draft him especially when they haven’t seen him workout in person due to the coronavirus pandemic that has many NFL scouts quarantined. Tua didn’t perform at this year’s NFL Combine and didn’t have a pro day so the only way teams have been able to evaluate him is from game tape.

That led former Cleveland Browns General Manager Michael Lombardi to make a reference on the “GM Shuffle” podcast that he knew of two NFL teams that have “flunked” Tagovailoa based off of his injury history.

“Look, I’m not disputing the evaluation,” Lombardi said. “I’m saying that, if you’re picking a quarterback, it’s really hard to pick a good one. It’s even harder with a guy who can’t stay healthy. That’s my point. Two teams I’ve talked to have flunked him. They flunked him on not just the hip, but on the multitude of injuries. The risk far outweighs the reward.”

While some scouts have echoed those same sentiments off the record, Tagovailoa has shown that his talent and leadership skills on and off the field should put NFL general managers minds at ease.

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