On talent alone, Tua Tagovailoa is one of the three best prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. Unfortunately for the former Alabama star, alarming concerns over his durability have now led to the worst-case scenario for his draft stock.
According to The Athletic’s Bob McGinn, it’s known around the league that three NFL teams have removed Tagovailoa off their draft boards completely. He isn’t just no longer considered a first-round target, three front offices removed him from their draft board entirely.
The most prominent medical concern surrounding Tagovailoa is his surgically-repaired hip. While he received clearance from multiple doctors and looked impressive in his quarantined Pro Day, teams are fearful that he will eventually need his hip replaced.
There is also a concern for avascular necrosis, which occurs when bone tissue dies due to the lack of blood supply. Given it can take years for the issue to develop, Tagovailoa could be fine early in his career and then his hip starts causing him problems in his fourth NFL season.
When NFL evaluators around the league were asked by The Athletic to grade their concern for Tagovailoa’s long-term availability, three rated it at a 10, seven put it at an eight and four ranked it at a seven.
The durability concerns aren’t just because of the hip injury. He also underwent surgery for left and right high-ankle sprains, suffered a sprained knee and a hand injury during his collegiate career. It then becomes a question of whether or not Tagovailoa will make it to his second NFL contract.
If he never suffered any of those injuries, Tagovailoa might be making a case to be the No. 1 overall pick over Joe Burrow. Instead, he is being pushed further down draft boards as the 2020 NFL Draft nears. At this point, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Tagovailoa experiences a dramatic slide on draft night.