QB Tua Tagovailoa declaring for the NFL Draft should help Cardinals
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa declared for the 2020 NFL Draft on Monday during a nationally-televised news conference, and his decision to leave Alabama after his junior season will be felt beyond Tuscaloosa — and wherever he ends up starting his pro career.
That includes Arizona.
The Cardinals, fresh off drafting their own franchise signal-caller in Kyler Murray, own the No. 8 overall pick in the draft. Tagovailoa’s decision to declare coming off a serious hip injury that ended his college career prematurely should help Arizona in one way or another.
Tagovailoa was widely-regarded as a potential No. 1 pick heading into his junior season, and that didn’t change during it. He completed 71.4% of his passes for 2,840 yards, 33 touchdowns and three interceptions in 2019.
A dislocated hip, which has received positive tests as he’s rehabbed, might push Tagovailoa down the draft order.
Tagovailoa and LSU quarterback and Heisman-winner Joe Burrow remain the top two quarterbacks in the draft class. Tagovailoa might not fall as far as the Cardinals’ first-round pick, but even if he doesn’t, it would lead one more player at a position of need to fall into Arizona’s lap.
Whether that’s offensive tackle (Andrew Thomas, Tristan Wirfs or Jedrick Wills), receiver (Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb) or another position, Tagovailoa’s declaration will impact the Cardinals.
The quarterback’s decision might even improve the trade value of Arizona’s No. 8 pick. The third quarterback on the board, Justin Herbert, has not done a lot to push his stock into solid top-20 territory. However, as they always say, all it takes is one team to overvalue him. If more than one team sees Herbert as a franchise quarterback, maybe the Cardinals can do something to trade down.
The Colts and Buccaneers at 13th and 14th in the current draft order are the two most obvious teams that might be inclined to draft a quarterback of the future. The Dolphins (5th, 18th), Raiders (12th, 19th) and Jaguars (9th, 20th) all have multiple first-round picks that could come into play in some way or another as well.
Maybe that’s not involving the Cardinals directly. But Tagovailoa’s entrance and injury concerns make for a more unpredictable 2020 draft.