The health of Tua Tagovailoa has been a frequent talking point of late with many wondering how the quarterback’s recovery from hip surgery will affect his draft position. It’s been four months since Tagovailoa dislocated his hip in a win over Mississippi State—an injury that would ultimately end his storied career at Alabama. And while Tua isn’t out of the woods yet, the talented 22-year-old continues to check off all the boxes on his road to recovery.
The SEC’s 2018 Offensive Player of the Year let it rip in a collection of Instagram clips posted Monday night, showing off some fleet footwork in addition to his usual pinpoint accuracy. The projected first-round pick looked sharp as ever, running through a series of drills testing both his mobility and pocket awareness. Hurling dimes in an empty gym doesn’t mean Tua is ready to command an NFL huddle this second, though it’s another step forward for the prized left-hander and good timing too with the quarterback-needy Redskins, Dolphins and Chargers all due at the podium next month.
The silver medalist to Heisman winner Kyler Murray as a sophomore, Tua burst onto the scene with an emphatic performance in the 2018 National Championship, coming off the bench to relieve a struggling Jalen Hurts in the second half of Alabama’s overtime victory. He led the Crimson Tide back to the title game a year later, though this time he was bested by the Trevor-Lawrence-led Crimson Tigers. The Hawaii native was putting together another stellar year in 2019 before injuries (a sprained ankle hobbled him in a hard-fought loss to eventual National Champion LSU) caught up to him. When healthy, Tua has garnered favorable comparisons to future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, a similarly under-sized talent (Tagovailoa measured 6’0”/217 at the Combine in February) known for attacking defenses with surgical precision.
Tagovailoa’s durability concerns are warranted—even Tua’s agent feels he could use a redshirt year to get his bearings. The potential for a one-year apprenticeship exists in Miami (the most common destination for Tua in industry mock drafts), where the decorated SEC performer could continue his rehab while studying under incumbent Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is signed through 2020. With Miami, Los Angeles and Washington (Dwayne Haskins’ underwhelming rookie year has some questioning his long-term future with the organization) all armed with top-six picks, Tagovailoa shouldn’t be waiting long to hear his name called on draft night.