Should the Jaguars consider drafting Tua Tagovailoa?
The Jacksonville Jaguars have two quarterbacks on the roster who will compete for the starting job. Does drafting Tua Tagovailoa make sense?
And this is how the rumor mill begins. Should the Jacksonville Jaguars take Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa if he is available when the team picks ninth in the NFL Draft in April? It’s a question, eight other teams ahead of the Jaguars will have to answer themselves, given the former Heisman Trophy candidate was injured this season and then decided early this week to declare for the NFL Draft.
For the Jaguars, the quarterback position is not the most pressing need on the team, with their being huge holes on the offensive line and with stopping the run. But given the situation with Nick Foles, which looks like a total flop at the moment, and the hot and cold play of rookie Gardner Minshew, does it make sense to consider this as an option if it presents itself?
Of course, it is. And it may become a decision general manager David Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone have to make.
Jacksonville was one of the teams NFL.com’s Gil Brandt discussed as being landing spots for Tagovailoa in the first round.
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"“The Jaguars already have a veteran (Nick Foles) and an up-and-comer (Gardner Minshew) on the depth chart at QB, but Foles was both injured and benched during the course of the 2019 season, while Minshew alternately showed promise and scuffled while filling in for Foles,” he writes.“Minshew’s resume (including an 11-win season at Washington State) and ability to provide a spark after Foles’ Week 1 injury should not be overlooked, but I’m not sure he’s the kind of quarterback who can lead you to the playoffs. Depending on how the Jaguars feel about Minshew, it would not be unreasonable to restart at quarterback and take a swing on a premium-tier prospect if they have the opportunity (Jacksonville currently picks ninth overall).”"
For this to be any kind of consideration, Tagovailoa would have to fall past Miami with the fifth pick and the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 6. The Carolina Panthers, with the seventh pick, could also be a destination for him. And then there are other teams deeper in the draft who would love to get him and develop him in a potential “red shirt” season.
If he should slip to ninth in the Draft, there should be plenty of discussion amongst other teams looking to trade up as well to grab him. The Jaguars were 16th in the NFL in passing yards per game in 2019 and only scored 18.8 points a contest, which was 26th in the league. Minshew threw for 3,271 yards and 21 touchdowns with only six interceptions.
There is plenty of reason here in Jacksonville to believe Minshew could be a gem that could lead the team back to the playoffs based on his mobility and ability to make plays happen in and out of the pocket. But, then there are times when he looks very much like a rookie, which has hurt the team, especially in the game in London versus the Houston Texans.
"“Tagovailoa has more upside than Minshew and — though it might be hard for anyone who witnessed Minshew Mania to believe — could bring even more hope and happiness to the fan base,” Brandt adds. “Yes, the last QB drafted by Jacksonville in the first round — Blake Bortles — didn’t exactly pan out, but Tagovailoa is a better player than Bortles was coming out of college.”"
The Jaguars appear married to Foles for at least one more year because of his guaranteed money and lofty cap number. It would cost the Jaguars roughly $34 million to release him this offseason. Also, finding a trade partner for Foles would be tricky to make happen.