Report: Ex-Dolphins Executive Offers Warning on Drafting Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa Brian Spurlock / USA TODAY Sports

With a potential franchise quarterback among the Miami Dolphins’ biggest needs, a former Dolphins executive suggests that the team should be wary about drafting University of Alabama signal caller Tua Tagovailoa.

Mike Tannenbaum appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” and sounded a warning about Tagovailoa’s health, even after the prospect passed medical tests recently conducted by an independent doctor chosen by league physicians.

“You just don’t know [how his health really is]. You want your own doctors, your own trainers, your own strength coaches to work with Tua, see mobility, see range of motion,” Tannenbaum said. “Because we’re in this very unique environment, it would be irresponsible to take him in the top 10 simply because you don’t have information first hand to know exactly where he is.”

Tagovailoa suffered a hip injury that ended his 2019 season with the Crimson Tide, which came after ankle injuries had been a problem on two other occasions during his time at the school.

Following that hip injury, there was uncertainty about whether Tagovailoa would enter the 2020 draft, but he appeared to dispel any concerns at the NFL Combine in February.

Tannenbaum, the Dolphins’ former executive vice president of football operations, acknowledged that Tagovailoa could turn out to be a franchise quarterback. However, the dangers of re-injury and Tagovailoa’s injury history should raise red flags in his opinion.

“It is an opportunity because the upside is so compelling, he is so talented [but] this is a conversation you want to have with your owner and your head coach and say, ‘Hey, if we are sitting here in January and he has to miss another year because this is an injury that’s hard to predict,'” Tannenbaum said. “It’s not a well-vascularized part of the body in terms of you could have re-injury.

“I want the owner to sign off to know if, ‘Hey, if this goes sideways, remember this conversation. This is a huge risk. And by the way, this player has been hurt two other times.’”

The possibility exists that the Dolphins, with the fifth overall pick, may not have the opportunity to choose Tagovailoa if another team selects him beforehand. That would make Tannenbaum’s concern a moot point.

If that does happen, the Dolphins may still be in a position to select either of the other two top prospects at quarterback, outside of presumed top pick Joe Burrow of Louisiana State University.

Those two quarterbacks are Justin Herbert from the University of Oregon and Jordan Love of Utah State University.

The chief reason why the Dolphins need to get this choice right is because of the steep investment it will require to sign whoever they select in the fifth position. In the end, they might conceivably use one of their other two first-rounders to select a quarterback.