NFL Draft Rookie Quarterback Snapshot: If healthy, Tua Tagovailoa could shock the world

As we head towards the 2020 NFL Draft, football analyst Liz Loza will deliver a snapshot of the top prospects at each position that will include their pro comparison and best fantasy fit. Here, she profiles the Alabama Crimson Tide’s quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa.

Origin Story

The oldest of four, Tua’s father — a former JUCO defensive lineman — began educating him about all things football when Tua was two-years-old. Known for being a left-handed passer, Tua is actually right-handed but was coached by his dad — a lefty — to throw with his non-dominant hand.

Hailing from Honolulu, Tua graduated (as a five-star recruit) from the same high school as Marcus Mariota, and often remarks what an inspiration the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner has been for his own career. 

Super Power

There’s a lot to like about Tua’s game. His accuracy, however, is next-level, as evidenced by an IQR (a metric created by SIS that factors out what a QB can’t control, such as drops) of 146.6 in 2019 (nine games played) and 140.5 in 2018 (fifteen games played).

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Greatest Weakness

After two ankle surgeries, a hip surgery, a broken nose, and a concussion, the 22-year-old’s durability is certainly a concern. 


A high-character player with widely celebrated leadership qualities, Tua offers potential suitors vaunted intangibles as well as dual-threat athleticism. In possession of an unflappable calm beyond his years, the Alabama product excels at consistently finding a rhythm and advancing the ball, be it via his arm or his legs. 

Despite a slight hitch in his delivery, the 22 year old utilizes a quick release in tandem with fantastically timed footwork to accurately hit all levels of the field. He may not be the biggest (6-feet-tall and 217 pounds) or the strongest (Jalen Hurts was a competitive powerlifter, after all), but he could be the keenest. 

He plays with the confidence and improvisational ability of a man raised to believe football is his destiny. It may very well be … but the potential length of his career is a reasonable concern given the beating his body has already taken. 

Key Stat

As the Tide’s full-time starter in 2018, Tua managed a TD percentage of 12.1% (QB1) with a TD-to-INT ratio of 43:6. 


Drew Brees.

Fantasy Fit

Unless the Chargers move up and snipe the Dolphins, Tua figures to land in South Beach. Despite numerous reports about “overwhelmingly positive” medicals, any team that selects Tagovailoa is going to want to protect him asap. Miami has plenty of early round picks (three in the first) that they can use to shore up the o-line.

There’s certainly risk for the Dolphins, but under a new regime and given Tua’s potential ceiling, there’s no better time to bet big(ish). 

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What about Tua’s game intrigues or concerns you the most? Engage with Liz on social @LizLoza_FF.

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