It’s looking like Thursday could be a long night for Tua Tagavailoa. Once destined for top overall status, the Alabama QB’s stock appears to be plummeting with the draft just days away. According to Bob McGinn of The Athletic, at least three teams have removed Tagavailoa entirely from their draft boards, citing injury concerns stemming from last year’s hip surgery.
Tua looked reasonably healthy during his recent Pro Day, though many teams still aren’t convinced that’s the case. Per Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, the Dolphins—once enamored with Tagavailoa—now prefer Oregon’s Justin Herbert and could select him when they step to the podium with the fifth pick in next week’s draft. There are obviously lingering concerns over Tagavailoa’s dislocated hip (the injury that effectively ended his time in Tuscaloosa), though it’s the left-hander’s overall durability—or lack thereof—that has teams skeptical of his NFL longevity.
“He’s a super kid,” an anonymous AFC personnel director said of Tua. “But there’s three, four or five red flags staring us all in the face saying, ‘You know what? This guy’s not going to be all that he’s cracked up to be.’” That seems to be the prevailing sentiment surrounding the former Heisman runner-up, who also battled a high-ankle sprain (which prompted a pair of surgeries) and a broken index finger throughout his ‘Bama tenure. On top of his troubling injury history, the Hawaii native also faces questions about his size—he measured just 6’0” at the Combine—and smarts after posting the lowest Wonderlic score (13) of this year’s quarterback prospects. Though far from a statue, Tagavailoa certainly doesn’t offer nearly the mobility of a Herbert or Jordan Love, who are better suited for the modern NFL in that regard.
Tagavailoa’s glowing collegiate resume includes a National Championship and an All-American selection in 2018. But in the cutthroat, “what have you done for me lately?” world of the NFL, that might not be enough to land him a seat in the top five or—if things keep going the way they’re headed—even in the top 10.