Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network is hearing that Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa has every intention of entering the 2020 NFL Draft, despite the serious hip injury he recently suffered against Mississippi State.
“I am told by people who are close to him [Tagovailoa] that Tagovailoa is telling people that he is very likely to enter the 2020 NFL Draft,” Pauline said. “This shouldn’t be a surprise – maybe it’s just an affirmation to some people. But I think right now, the chances of him returning to Alabama, from what I’m hearing from people close to him, are very, very slim.”
While the expectation from Alabama has been that Tagovailoa is expected to make a full recovery from hip surgery, Pauline explains that it’s going to take time before there’s a clearer idea of how this injury will impact the young quarterback moving forward.
“Everybody wants answers about his injury now – you’re not going to get them for a long time,” Pauline said. “We heard the surgery was successful. That’s successful by the surgeon’s standards. But is it good enough for NFL teams and their standards? There’s going to be plenty of speculation and talk. It doesn’t matter until he gets to the NFL Combine medical exams because Combine medicals are a different beast altogether and they vary by team.
“We’ll have a better, clearer picture once the teams conduct their medical exams. After that, maybe some leaks will come out. His doctors can say now that everything is going to be OK but until the team doctors look at the hip, the X-Rays, do their diagnosis, and then give their opinions to the scouting staff and general manager – nothing matters.”
Earlier in the week, Dr. Lyle Cain mentioned Tagovailoa underwent successful hip surgery Monday morning and is expected to make a full recovery.
Per ESPN’s Laura Rutledge, Cain explained Tagovailoa’s dislocated hip injury is completely different than former RB Bo Jackson, whose NFL career was infamously ended by a dislocated hip and resulting avascular necrosis (AVN).
Cain says Jackson continued to play on his injury and did further, irreparable damage, while doctors acted quickly for Tagovailoa.
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer talked to NFL evaluators who said Tagovailoa’s injury likely affected his draft stock.
“It affects [his stock] for sure,” an anonymous AFC executive said. “He should come out for sure. The story is far from being written—I think this pushes [Joe] Burrow and [Justin] Herbert ahead of him for sure, but barring a Bo Jackson injury, I still think he goes top half of Round 1.”
Breer also spoke to Dr. Jess Flynn, who said that while there’s a risk for Tagovailoa developing career-ending AVN, that risk is less than 10 percent in cases like his where his dislocated hip was relocated within six hours.
Flynn adds there is still a significant risk of Tagovailoa’s hip becoming a long-term issue.
Tagovailoa is one of the top quarterback prospects in the country and had been in the discussion to be the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft before the injury.
For his career, Tagovailoa has completed 69.3 percent of his passes for 7,442 yards, 87 touchdowns and 11 interceptions over the course of three seasons and 32 games. He has also rushed for 340 yards and nine touchdowns.
We’ll have more regarding Tagovailoa as the news is available.