How the Tua Selection Went Down

The selection of Tua Tagovailoa by the Miami Dolphins wasn't particularly surprising, but it did come after a lot of different speculation
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The selection of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa by the Miami Dolphins, it seems, was months in the making.

But it didn't happen before a whole of different scenarios were brought up, some including Tagovailoa ending up with the Dolphins and some having the team going in a different directions.

At one time or another, the Dolphins were rumored to be trading up for Tagovailoa; they were rumored to be trading up for Justin Herbert; they were interested in taking an offensive tackle at number 5; they were looking to trade up to take a tackle, and that tackle was believed to be Andrew Thomas from Georgia.

The two men most in charge of the Dolphins draft — GM Chris Grier and Head Coach Brian Flores — say they have no idea where all those ideas came from.

"We always talked about going through our process and doing it," Grier said after the draft. "Brian and I had a few laughs (about) a lot stuff that came out. At the end of the day, you block it out. For us, it’s just noise on the outside. We kind of work through it and we just kind of go through our process.”

“Like Chris said," Flores explained, "we didn’t know where a lot of this stuff was coming from, to be honest. You guys probably know better than we do as far as where this information was coming from. It was very interesting, to say the least. It’s something that we talk about, really, on a daily basis. ‘Did you see that? Did you hear this? That’s interesting.’ That’s really more of my question to you guys (in the media). Where did all this come from?”

Sep 29, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores looks on against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Grier did acknowledge after the draft having conversations with the Cincinnati Bengals about the possibility of a trade that would allow the Dolphins to move up to number 1 to get Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, but those talks didn't go far.

In the days since the end of the draft, more information has leaked out about what went on with the Dolphins and the other teams at the top of the first round, and one of the teams in the spotlight was the Detroit Lions.

Lions GM Bob Quinn told radio station 97.1 The Ticket this week there was no concrete trade offer from the Dolphins for the third pick, and he didn't want to take Tagovailoa and then try to work out a trade because he wasn't totally certain that's who the Dolphins wanted.

"How do I know Tua was (the Dolphins) guy?" Quinn said. "How do I know they didn't really want an offensive tackle, which they had talked a lot about. There are so many maybes in that conversation, that's why it doesn't happen in the NFL.

"We don't trust each other as GMs. I worked with Chris Grier for a year. My first year in the league, Chris was in New England in 2000. So I know Chris. Ultimately, it's a game of poker. On draft weekend, I take no one's word. I couldn't sit there and truthfully, for the Lions organization, consider something like that because you never know what's going to happen."

As it turned out, the Lions ended up taking Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah, followed by the New York Giants taking Andrew Thomas fourth overall.

Grier said the Dolphins liked both Tagovailoa and Herbert, and the same goes for the Chargers picking at number 6.

Chargers GM Tom Telesco told Pat McAfee on Tuesday he would have taken Tua at 6 had the Dolphins gone with Herbert.

Telesco also said he didn't buy the idea of the Dolphins looking to move up for an offensive tackle.

In the end, it worked for the Dolphins, who felt comfortable enough with Tagovailoa's physical condition to make the move for him at number 5.

Flores told Mike Tirico on "Lunch Talk Live" on NBCSN on Monday that the video of Tagovailoa's recent workout was "important" in validating the confidence in making the pick.

"It kind of reinforced and confirmed some of the things our doctors had mentioned to us," Flores said. "It was important. It was good to see it. That's nine minutes, it's very different from having a two-hour, two-and-a-half-hour practice or playing the game, but I thought he looked good from where he was when he initially got the injury and where he was at that point.”

In the end, it all worked out and the Dolphins ended up with who they seemed destined to land.

Grier told SI Senior NFL Reporter Albert Breer that Tua was "the right guy" for the Dolphins.

“You've done so much work on everything, so you feel good about everything,” Grier said. “It's weird. It was a sense of calmness. We've done all our work, we felt good about our process, so we identified Tua as a guy that we wanted to take. When he was there, we felt very good about it. There was no apprehension or nervousness, we're very excited to get a player we targeted at this spot. Yeah, it's a key position. Everyone understands you got to have one to win in this league, and we felt good about Tua."