MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The Dolphins need to find a quarterback of the future. Miami has the 5th pick in the first round of Thursday’s NFL draft. Alabama star QB Tua Tagovailoa was hyped for over a year as the perfect player for Miami to tank for. The time has come and Tua is likely to be available for the Dolphins in that spot. What could go wrong?
What seemed to be a match made in heaven has now become maybe the biggest question before the draft. Where will Tua go and would Miami really pass on him?
There’s no doubt that the QB’s injury history is worrying some teams, including the Dolphins. Miami general manager Chris Grier said this week about weighing talent over injury history, “historically, it can go all over the place. For us, you always weigh the talent. You talk about the kid, the person, the work ethic. You do look at the injuries and you do take into the factor the position he plays. Again, you just never know.” He wasn’t talking specifically about Tua, but it does shed light at some of the big issues the Dolphins could have with selecting a quarterback coming off major hip surgery.
Is Tua healthy? Can he stay healthy? Long time sports agent Leigh Steinberg represents Tua and joined Local 10 Sports Sunday for a lengthy discussion on Tua’s health and future.
Steinberg made clear that the two doctors who have worked with Tua the most have given him a clean bill of health. According to Steinberg, “they’ve said that the chance of a recurrence or something to continue to plague him is minimal. We expect him to be ready for training camp and the regular season.”
The agent pointed to the video sent to all NFL team’s of Tua’s pro day. “What they see is a healthy, energetic Tua who is ready to help a team.”
He added that Tua could go to a team, like the Dolphins, where he could sit for a year and wait behind a veteran QB.
Steinberg has been in the business for over 40 years, so he’s well aware of rumors and smokescreens as the draft approaches. To the speculation that his client could slip in the draft, Steinberg said, “it’s fair for teams to use whatever method they want to evaluate a player. There’s a generalized amnesty on truth telling by team officials this time of the year.”
When asked point blank if he still felt Tua would be a top 10 pick, Steinberg said, “absolutely. He should be picked in that very first group of picks in that first round.”
He wouldn’t speculate on whether Miami could be that team, but he praised the Dolphins ownership and future.
The bottom line is this; the Dolphins enter the draft with one of the biggest decisions the franchise has made in the last two decades. They tried to build around Ryan Tannehill, and while he had a solid career in Miami, he never turned out to be the guy to lead the franchise to that next level.
Could that be Tua? Only time will tell.
But, if the Dolphins decide to pass on Tua after over a year of fans begging for him to get that chance, Grier and the front office better find the player who will be that guy. Otherwise, they may all be looking for a new job sooner than later.
A reminder: You can watch the first round of the NFL draft on Local 10. Coverage begins at 8 p.m. on Thursday night. Rounds two and three will also air on Local 10 on Friday.