A week ago, Tua Tagovailoa went through a thorough medical exam with an independent doctor agreed upon by NFL team physicians. The NFL Network reported the results were “overwhelmingly positive,” but not everyone is convinced.
The former Alabama superstar quarterback remains a roll of the dice. Just ask former Dolphins and Jets executive Mike Tannenbaum.
“It would be irresponsible to take him in the top 10,” Tannenbaum told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
One-time NFL general manager Mike Lombardi echoed that sentiment.
“It’s not just his hip,” Lombardi said on his “GM Shuffle” podcast. “It’s his ankle. It’s his wrist. He broke his wrist the first day of spring ball one year. … He’s brittle. He is brittle. You can’t deny it.”
On ESPN, former Jets and Bills coach Rex Ryan went even further.
“I think this is the biggest gamble in the history of the NFL Draft,” Ryan said.
The 22-year-old Tagovailoa appeared in just nine games last year because of a high ankle sprain and dislocated hip, both of which required surgery. The year before, he also suffered a high ankle sprain that led to a minor operation.
“He’s a really good player,” Lombardi said. “I’m not disputing the evaluation. I’m saying that, if you’re picking a quarterback, it’s really hard to pick a good one.
“It’s even harder with a guy who can’t stay healthy. That’s my point. Two teams I’ve talked to have flunked him. They flunked him on not just the hip, but on the multitude of injuries. The risk far outweighs the reward.”
Tagovailoa’s agent Leigh Steinberg said on 790AM The Ticket in South Florida on Thursday that the quarterback’s “health concerns are overblown,” he’s been ruled in “fine” health by two doctors and “there’s no recurrence that’s going to happen here.” He expects Tagovailoa to be a “very high pick.”
At the NFL combine, Tagovailoa didn’t take part in any drills because he hadn’t been medically cleared at the time. He was planning to take part in Alabama’s Pro Day in April before it was canceled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.