Tua Tagovailoa is one of the most polarizing picks in the NFL draft for 2020. On one end, most agree that talent-wise, he is right up there with consensus number-one overall pick Joe Burrow. Many fans of teams that knew the 2019 season would not be kind to them were already chanting the catchphrase “Tank for Tua.” But 2019 ended up being a rocky year for Tagovailoa as well.
Though he started the year off completing over 70 percent of his passes and throwing 33 touchdowns to just three interceptions, his season ended prematurely after suffering a career-threatening hip injury.
Since then, his draft stock has been volatile. There are rumors that he has fallen completely off some team’s draft boards due to red flags over injury concerns. Most still have him as a top-ten pick, but if he makes it past there, who knows how far down in the first he could plummet. Still, if Tagovailoa ends up in the right spot, he could be an instant fantasy football star. Here are five teams that would make the most sense for him.
Best Landing Spots for Tua Tagovailoa in Fantasy Football
Let’s start right off with a shocker. While it is indeed unlikely that the Cincinnati Bengals forego Burrow in favor of Tagovailoa, it could happen. Remember, just a few years ago, quarterbacks Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold were being talked about as battling it out for the top picks in the draft. Many felt that the Cleveland Browns, who had the first pick, were going to take Darnold. Instead, they shocked most of the NFL world when they went with Baker Mayfield.
If the Bengals do decide that Tagovailoa is their guy, he could thrive with the Bengals. A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd are one of the better receiving duos in the NFL. And Joe Mixon is a great all-around back who would keep defenses honest, prevent them from playing purely against the pass, and provide a safety valve underneath for Tagovailoa.
Cincinnati’s biggest weakness on offense is their line, but Tagovailoa is mobile enough to get things done with his legs.
The next team that has potential fantasy value for Tagovailoa is the Detroit Lions. However, this one needs almost as many stars to align as the Bengals situation. While there might be a slightly higher chance that the Lions actually draft Tagovailoa, his chances of starting year one are a little slimmer. This is because the Lions still have Matthew Stafford. Though he missed half of 2019 with injury, Stafford has been a reliable quarterback for the Lions for the past decade. Tagovailoa would likely sit behind Stafford for at least one season.
That being said, if the team does take him, and he ends up getting the starting job, he could put up some significant fantasy production. Kenny Golladay has been a rising receiver in the league for a few years now, and T.J. Hockenson is coming off a great rookie campaign. If Kerryon Johnson can stay healthy, he’s about as versatile a back as they come. This could be an underrated landing spot for Tagovailoa.
According to most experts, the Miami Dolphins are the most likely landing spot for Tagovailoa. With the fifth pick in hand, and the second team that has been open about their desire to draft a quarterback, this is probably where he ends up unless a blockbuster trades occurs. Miami also has the 18th and 26th picks in the first round, but it’d be a head-scratcher if the fifth overall pick isn’t a quarterback.
There are positives and negatives to Miami taking Tua. Compared to most teams, they don’t quite have the weapons that other teams on the list have. DeVante Parker is an above-average receiver, but other than that, the team needs help. Mike Gesicki had a promising rookie campaign, but his ceiling doesn’t seem quite as high as Hockenson’s yet. Jordan Howard is expected to start at running back this year. He is solid, but one-dimensional, and won’t give Tagovailoa help in the passing game like Mixon or Johnson would.
The positive here is that he is basically guaranteed to be a week one starter.
Los Angeles Chargers
Overall, the Los Angeles Chargers could be the most intriguing team of the bunch to land Tagovailoa. They are only two years removed from a 12-4 finish and playoff push, and most of their team is still intact. Last year, it seemed to their quarterback, Philip Rivers, as the prime piece holding them back. If Tagovailoa does indeed make it to the Chargers at pick number six, there is no doubt they will be tempted to pull the trigger.
They have even better weapons than the Bengals. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are comparable to Green and Boyd, but the Chargers also have Hunter Henry at tight end, giving Tagovailoa an excellent trio of pass-catchers. Although the team lost Melvin Gordon to the Denver Broncos, they really didn’t miss him during his failed holdout. Austin Ekeler has emerged as a surprise sensation at running back – especially in the passing game, which would only help Tagovailoa’s numbers.
The biggest obstacle for Tua should Los Angeles take him would be Tyrod Taylor, who likely starts the year as the starter. But for Taylor it would look like déjà vu, as he endured a similar situation during his time in Cleveland, where Mayfield supplanted him for the job four weeks into the season.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Las Vegas Raiders are the biggest wild card in the Tagovailoa sweepstakes. Though the team still has Derek Carr, who has been a serviceable quarterback, there have been constant rumors that head coach Jon Gruden is not sold on him since he got there. Reading between the lines shows that he is just biding his time until the opportunity arises to replace him with his guy. Could the 2020 draft finally be when he makes his move?
On one end, if Tagovailoa falls out of the top-ten in the draft, Mike Mayock and Gruden might not be able to resist grabbing the high-ceiling prospect. That’d almost guarantee they try to move Carr, likely acquiring even more draft capital. And, with a second first-round pick, they would have a good shot at grabbing a wide receiver to pair with their new quarterback – perhaps even one of Tagovailoa’s former teammates Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs. Pair them up with Tyrell Williams, running back Josh Jacobs, and tight end Darren Waller, and this could be a high-octane offense.
Furthermore, keep in mind that Las Vegas has two first-round picks, both in the top 20. If the team really wants Tagovailoa, they can potentially maneuver a deal to move up and grab their man.
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