Tua Tagovailoa made his first NFL start Sunday, a game that saw the Miami Dolphins defense excel in a 28-17 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.
Tagovailoa, the first-round draft pick, completed 12 of 22 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown.
The performance drew criticism from one former NFL executive.
Michael Lombardi, who was the Cleveland Browns general manager in 2013-14, said the following about Tagovailoa and the Dolphins:
“I think it makes a lot of sense, [VSiN host] Pauly [Howard], because look, how good do you think Tua is,” Lombardi said on VSiN Live. “You watched the game yesterday. Tua was nice. They’re trying to make him be the second coming of any quarterback. He throws a 5-yard completion and Scott Hanson on the Red Zone was going absolutely berserk like he just saw the Red Sea parted. I mean seriously, the guy threw a high school play, and he completed it.”
“That’s not why you draft the guy the [fifth] pick overall. You want to see unique talent, and the way Justin Herbert plays, even in a loss, that’s unique talent. The way Joe Burrow has played in games, as rookies, that’s unique talent.”
“You’ve got to ask yourself the question as you sit there as a Miami Dolphin executive, and as a Miami Dolphins coach, is Tua better than Justin Fields. Because you’re going to end up with a top five pick. Is Tua better than the North Dakota State quarterback. You’ve got to ask yourself those questions and generate honest answers, or else your franchise is going to be stuck in time. … Is he good enough to win a Super Bowl, I think that’s the answer they need to get answered with Tua.”
In addition to be a former GM, Lombardi also was a scout for the San Francisco 49ers and Browns during the 1980s and held various other roles for the Browns, Raiders, Eagles and Patriots, the stint with New England coming in 2014-16.