Without a doubt, the most polarizing player in the 2020 NFL Draft is lefty quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The undisputed prize of the class entering what was fully expected to be his final season at Alabama, Tua suffered a devastating hip injury that cost him a chunk of his season, a shot at another title, and perhaps the first overall pick in the draft. Not many analysts debate his talent when healthy. Still, coming off major surgery to repair his broken hip paired with ankle surgeries and rumors of wrist issues, he has been plastered with the stigma of being injury prone. Few things can cause more divisiveness in opinion than that. It’s the smoking weed out of a gas mask of things that matter.
Some people believe that Tua is so good that Washington should throw in the towel on 2019 first rounder Dwayne Haskins, pass on Chase Young and go all-in on him. Others believe taking him anywhere in the top 10 is just too big of a risk due to his injury history. So where should fantasy owners hope this ultra-talented but potentially damaged franchise quarterback land? The answer is the Detroit Lions. Only a few people are predicting he lands in the Motor City; however, it would be just what the team needs.
The Matthew Stafford era has run its course in Detroit. He has certainly had his moments. Nevertheless, it's time for both parties to move on to what will hopefully be bigger and better things. By moving on from the 32-year-old veteran, the Lions would both save money and give the team a much-needed breath of fresh air. I won't be shocked if head coach Matt Patricia isn't long for this league either in his current role, which would also be ideal for the offense and the team as a whole. Granted, he did sign an extension. Bad franchises throughout sports sign coaches to extensions, then turn around and fire them. The general consensus is that Patricia more than deserves to be on the hot seat.
Adding to Tua with a strong young offensive corps of wide receiver Kenny Golladay (26), running back Kerryon Johnson (22) and tight end T.J. Hockenson (22), would give them an extremely talented, cheap and young group of offensive studs to attempt to make a serious run with over the next few years. Not only could these young weapons develop and thrive, but Tua could also gain fantasy relevancy of his own and step into stardom in 2021 or potentially even late 2020 depending on how his health checks out. It’s surprising to me that there isn’t more talk around this happening around the league and in the media.
SI’s Jenna West had this to report on the health of Tua:
“Tagovailoa's recovery has gone so well that Chris Cabott, president of Steinberg Sports & Entertainment, the firm which represents the QB, has cleared him ahead of the NFL draft.
"Tua is fully cleared and ready to compete without any restrictions," Cabott told Yahoo Sports.
Tagovailoa is in the final stage of his recovery and will focus on getting his hip back in shape. His physician, Dr. Lyle Cain, said, "Tagovailoa will work on physical therapy and strength training to build up the muscles around his hip.”
When it comes to Tua as a pure talent, if you exclude injury, I couldn't be much higher on him. There is a massive risk here, but he's the kind of franchise-changing player worth rolling the dice. His accuracy is pinpoint, and there isn't a throw on the field he can't make. As long as the offensive line can protect him, and he learns to take fewer unnecessary hits, the sky is the limit for the former National Championship game offensive MVP.
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