Joe Burrow or Tua Tagovailoa the better NFL prospect? Mel Kiper Jr. shares his thoughts
Thanks in part to the injuries suffered on the field by Tua Tagovailoa last season, we all know Joe Burrow is all but assured to be selected before the former Alabama quarterback. But does that really make Burrow the better NFL prospect?
That’s something ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. was asked during a recent appearance on ESPN show “Get Up” this week.
“That’s a tough call because it’s not a fair call because of what Burrow did,” Kiper said during his appearance on the show. “Burrow was the better quarterback this year than anybody ever would have imagined. That was probably the greatest year you could have ever had from any quarterback in any year. It’s not like he has a weak arm, he’s got a good arm and you don’t need a howitzer to be a great quarterback or a Hall of Fame quarterback in this league. The way he moves his instincts, his competitiveness, all of that’s off the charts and he played all those teams ranked in the top 10 or top 5, so the schedule was very demanding as well.”
Based on that comment, Kiper believes Burrow may have been the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft even if Tagovailoa was 100 percent healthy entering the draft process. While we’ll never know if that would have been the case, Kiper says the injury concerns with Tua cannot be ignored.
“I think in terms of Tua, those three lower extremity injuries are a concern, that have to be,” Kiper continued. “Certainly, you look at a guy, he’s not physically imposing either, but he’s a pure quarterback. He’s got everything it takes, he can spin it, he’s accurate, he’s precise, he sees the field like no other. If all things would have been equal, and there was no injury concerns, it would have been a debate — Tua or Burrow, it would have been a debate, but it wouldn’t be a lock that Tua was going over Burrow, based on the kind of year Joe Burrow had.”
Finally, when it comes to Tua, Kiper made an interesting comment that some may have overlooked. Nick Saban is coaching in Tuscaloosa in part due to the fact the Dolphins passed on Drew Brees in free agency, leaving the QB to sign with the Saints.
Now it’s up to the Dolphins to select a QB from one of Saban’s Alabama teams that has struggled to stay healthy.
“So, Tua at 5 now, Miami probably figured out we got to be picking one to get Tua, now you’re at five because of the injury,” he concluded. “Ironically, we talked about Miami back when they passed on Drew Brees because of an injury, Nick Saban passed on Brees because that injury, now it’s Nick Saban’s guy with the injury. He should be a Miami Dolphin if he’s there at 5.”