Tua Tagovailoa may not be eligible for the NFL draft until 2020, but that has not stopped pro football front offices from looking ahead. The LSU-Alabama matchup is often the first tape NFL scouts put on when they are looking to evaluate a potential NFL prospect from either squad.
Tagovailoa is a sophomore meaning he still has at least one more college football season ahead of him, but the 2018 matchup with LSU will likely stick with him on his eventual path to the NFL. NFL scouts want to see how Tagovailoa will perform on the road in a hostile environment against another top-five team.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller reported what he is hearing about Tagovailoa from NFL talent evaluators.
When Alabama has the ball on offense, scouts won’t just be looking at 2019 draft prospects. They’re also keeping an eye on the 2020 class.
“You try to focus on seniors and some juniors, but it’s impossible to not look at Tua [Tagovailoa] given his athleticism and arm talent,” said an area scout familiar with both schools. Tagovailoa, a true sophomore who isn’t eligible for the NFL draft until 2020, is already the talk of the town, according to scouts assigned to the area.
The Alabama offense flows through Tagovailoa, but the rest of the starters are NFL priorities, too.
“When you go to Alabama [to scout], you just print the depth chart and get notes on the two-deep,” said an NFL college scouting director tasked with assigning schedules and keeping track of draftable players at each school. “That’s how many of them will play on Sundays.”
The NFL Is Already Looking at Tua Tagovailoa for the 2020 NFL Draft
Tagovailoa has a limited sample size for the NFL to evaluate, but so far he checks a lot of the boxes for what teams are looking for at the next level. Heading into Bama’s matchup against LSU, Tagovailoa has completed more than 70 percent of his passes for 2,066 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Tagovailoa has yet to throw an interception through eight games this season. Proponents of Tagovailoa’s game within NFL organizations will likely point to Tagovailoa’s performance in the second half of the national title game as evidence of the Alabama quarterback’s ability to play on the biggest stage. During the championship game, Tagovailoa led an Alabama comeback against Georgia after the offense struggled in the first half under Jalen Hurts.
Earlier this season, ESPN’s Mel Kiper ranked Tagovailoa as his top 2020 prospect and pointed to the Crimson Tide’s matchup with LSU as a crucial component for his draft stock.
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Yes. Tagovailoa has all the tools to be the No. 1 overall pick … eventually. He’s a pinpoint passer who throws with great anticipation and touch. He has good velocity on throws to the boundary. And he has some swagger; his teammates love him, and people around the program rave about his ability as a leader. Tagovailoa, a true sophomore who has at least another year in Tuscaloosa, has 19 touchdown passes and just two interceptions in his career, and he has taken the Crimson Tide offense to a whole new level. His 98.3 Total QBR leads the country.
Now, he’s only 6-foot-1 and 218 pounds, but Baker Mayfield broke the mold in the 2018 draft, and Tagovailoa is bigger than Mayfield. Why can’t Tagovailoa be the top pick? He is that talented. The lefty is a lights-out player with an extremely high ceiling. I’m keeping my eye on the Nov. 3 game in Baton Rouge; LSU won’t be a cakewalk. Let’s see how Tagovailoa does against some NFL-caliber defensive backs.