2020 NFL Mock Draft: Chargers Left with Tua Tagovailoa at No. 6
Jason B. Hirschhorn
As the draft process has slowly unfolded, the order of the top quarterbacks in various mock drafts has begun to shift.
For most of the offseason, few if any projections had Oregon's Justin Herbert going ahead of Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa despite the latter's late-season hip dislocation that ended his college career. In recent weeks, reports have surfaced suggesting that teams at the top of the draft actually prefer Herbert whether for reason related to health or performance.
Now, that alleged preference has made its way into mock drafts. In the latest projection by USA Today, Herbert goes to the Miami Dolphins at No. 5 overall, leaving the Los Angeles Chargers to take a different quarterback with their top pick.
6. Los Angeles Chargers
Tua Tagovailoa | QB | Alabama
Even with his injury concerns, Tagovailoa is a no-brainer pick for the Bolts here. Tyrod Taylor is the perfect bridge quarterback for now, which would give Tagovailoa plenty of time to make sure he's at 100 percent and ready for the NFL game. If he delivers on his lofty potential, this could be a huge steal for a team replacing a future Hall of Famer in Philip Rivers.
While Tagovailoa's health remains a concern, the Chargers appear uniquely set up to handle his return. Their coaching staff has demonstrated the ability to mold their scheme to whomever plays behind center -- the offense looked considerably different when Tyrod Taylor played roughly a quarter during last season's blowout win against the Jacksonville Jaguars -- and the presence of a veteran with starting experience should allow Tagovailoa to learn from the sidelines until the team feels comfortable promoting him.
Conversely, the Chargers have used only one starting quarterback since 2006: Philip Rivers. Tagovailoa possesses health concerns beyond the hip injury he suffered last year, and it seems unlikely that he can demonstrate the same level of availability. Granted, the same applies to any signal-caller in this rookie class to varying degrees as Rivers' ability to stay on the field ranks nothing short of legendary. But Los Angeles needs to consider durability when investing a top-10 pick.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH