2020 Raiders Draft Prospect
Name: Tua Tagovailoa
School: The University of Alabama
Weight: 220 pounds
Note: We’ll be referring to the prospect by his by last name. If his last name were Jones, the same policy would stand.
Instead of bird-dogging one target, Tagovailoa scans the field quickly to see breaks and gauges separation. With controlled eyes and head movement, he does not tip his intended target. Instead, he surveils the plays, making a split-second decision, followed by a quick throw.
When evaluating this prospect, this trait will make Jon Gruden love him. Tagovailoa’s ability to put the ball on a wideout, in order to create yards after catch immeasurably helped the Crimson Tide. On the fly, he make quick adjustments that account for the speed of defenders. In plain terms, the ball gets there. On the whole, Tagovailoa excels in ball placement throughout the entire route tree. Deeper than that, his confidence in his touch places defenses at a slight disadvantage. From a mechanics standpoint, his delivery appears tight and clean. On deep throws, you will not see an exaggerated windup and heave.
Above-average in this trait. While Tagovailoa doesn’t possess a howitzer on his shoulder, he makes every throw well. More importantly, he couples outstanding velocity with accuracy. As a result, he will fit the ball between defenders and into small windows.
Coming of the hip injury, don’t expect too many designed run. Yet, will shows nimbleness and the ability to gain solid yardage in space. On top of that, Tagovailoa shows excellent touch on passes while on the run, extending the play, helping receivers find an opening.
When the rush approaches, Tagovailoa doesn’t display panic or fear. He will slide and shift, in order to allow himself a little more time to find the open receiver. Although not a trait that needs constant examples, the former Alabama standout will take a hit. In fact, playing in the SEC ensured he’d see multiple NFL-ready pass rushers during the season.
In drafting Tagovailoa, the only concern is a major one. During his career at Alabama, he suffered multiple injuries, including a hip dislocation and posterior wall fracture that ended his 2019 campaign. Tagovailoa’s durability remains the only red flag on a sterling prospect. Granted, that cause for concern should remain high, pending further testing.
For all of his abundant physical attributes, Derek Carr enters his seventh year and the team does not look any better with him. By now, 2016 should not stand as the lone bright spot in a career this deep. Yet, despite his most ardent defenders must realize that Carr does not look like the long-term answer. From the moment Jon Gruden returned, he began disassembling Reggie Mckenzie’s work. The roster took the shape preferred. In other words, Gruden did not draft Carr. Therefore, he’s not his guy. You can read any coachspeak quote you wish.
Yet, look at what Jon Gruden made his career on ESPN from and coaching: QB Guru. Tagovailoa gives Gruden his first legitimate chance to develop a first-round quarterback into the player that he can hang his legacy on. On the field, Tagovailoa would excel in the scheme, taking shots downfield, behind a stout running game and elite tight end. Plus, when the play breaks down, Tagovailoa will slide outside the pocket and gain positive yardage without reticence. In addition, Carr could act as a bridge while Tagovailoa recovers from injury.
If you could craft a perfect quarterback for Jon Gruden in this draft, that would be difficult. Tagovailoa presents every quality that Gruden wants his signalcaller to possess. First, the accuracy at all three levels of the field would give the Las Vegas Raiders a head start into the new era. Tagovailoa’s calm demeanor under the rush gives the Silver and Black something special. He feels the blitz, but doesn’t look rattled by it.
More importantly, instea of some outward show of phony bravado, he takes chances vertically with ease and nary a scintilla of remorse. Gruden preaches aggression from his quarterbacks. Talking about taking deep shots and actually standing in the pocket to deliver them remain mutually exclusive. Tagovailoa lets his play do the talking on the field. He leads with results and purpose, placing faith in his wideouts to get loose downfield and also running full route trees underneath. If Tua Tagovailoa lands anywhere near the Raiders, they need to strongly consider him a first-round option.