Most, if not all, of the news regarding the health of Alabama QB prospect Tua Tagovailoa has been positive. The combine, updated reports after medical check-ins and more have pointed toward the fact that his health will not play as big a factor as previously expected.
However, the most recent news is that a team with a top-10 draft pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, scheduled for April 23-25, failed Tua on his physical. Michael Lombardi and Adnan Virk shared this report on the most recent episode of the "GM Shuffle" podcast.
"You've had reports [that] one team in the top 10 has failed Tua Tagovailoa's physical," Virk said. "At least one team has said 'listen... this guy is not ready to go.' What do you think they saw? Obviously he's coming off a serious injury here, [and] that's got to get around... others have to be concerned now as well."
Lombardi responded that he thinks this must mean that there's more than just Tua's hip injury playing a role in his pre-draft health concerns.
"It's not just his hip," Lombardi said. "It's his ankle. It's his wrist... he broke his wrist the first day of spring ball one year, and then they fixed it, he came back and he rebroke it again.
"I mean, he's brittle! He is brittle. You can't deny it. You can say he's a really good player, right, but it's easy for Mel [Kiper] and Todd [McShay] and everyone else to turn the card and say he's a good player because they don't look at this list of busts in front of them. They don't look at the Mark Sanchezes, the Josh Freemans, the JaMarcus Russells, the Brady Quinns, the Jason Campbells, the J.P. Losmans... they don't look at these names. They all were hot picks!"
The above group of quarterbacks mentioned by Lombardi were all first-round picks, with JaMarcus Russell going first overall and Mark Sanchez going fifth. None of them lived up to their draft hype, and most of them were never even considered legitimate NFL starters throughout their careers.
The praise around Tua has been incredibly high, and Lombardi isn't necessarily disagreeing with that aspect of his scouting.
"I'm not disputing the evaluation," Lombardi, formerly the general manager of the Cleveland Browns and a front office executive at a number of teams, said. "I'm saying that if you're picking a quarterback, it's really hard to pick a good one. It's even harder with a guy who can't stay healthy!
"Two teams that I've talked to have flunked him. They've flunked him on not just the hip, [but] on the multitude of injuries. The risk far outweighs the reward."
The Dolphins, the Lions, the Redskins and other top-10 teams have been linked to the possibility of drafting Tua to be their franchise quarterbacks. However, one of the many difficulties that the coronavirus pandemic has brought upon the NFL is that of pre-draft workouts, meetings, physicals and more that have hindered the normal scouting process. The Crimson Tide quarterback has specifically said that it's been a difficult process, though he's additionally said that he feels "100% percent" ahead of the draft.
Whichever team drafts Tua knows that the ceiling is incredibly high, but Michael Lombardi and apparently a pair of NFL teams feel that the risk is too much not to consider.