Tua Tagovailoa has yet to play an NFL snap. That would suggest that it’s a bit early to make any rash judgments about his No. 3 overall draft selection by the Dolphins. But that didn’t stop former Steelers defensive back and ESPN analyst Ryan Clark.
After Justin Herbert — the third QB taken in the 2020 draft behind Joe Burrow and Tagovailoa — wowed on “Monday Night Football,” Clark spoke about his newfound love of Herbert.
“This dude is a star,” Clark said. “I didn’t think he was last year when I watched him in person (against) Arizona State. But to see what he’s doing now, I’m starting to ask the question, ‘Did the Miami Dolphins make the wrong pick?'”
At the time of Miami’s selection, it was everyone’s logical choice. Burrow had burst onto the scene for the national champions, LSU, and was the consensus No. 1 overall pick by the Bengals. Dominant defensive end Chase Young from Ohio State went next to the Washington Football Team. Tagovailoa’s stock had fallen a bit from before the 2019 college football season, in part because of a serious hip injury. But his record-setting career at Alabama made him the logical No. 2 QB off the board.
Miami has yet to put Tagovailoa into action during the 2020 season, and the Dolphins haven’t been overly specific as to why. It certainly can’t hurt to get Tagovailoa further away from the hip injury that ended his college career, and Ryan Fitzpatrick has proven adept at keeping QB seats warm throughout his NFL career.
What’s been less expected is Herbert’s immediate emergence. He was viewed as the biggest project among the top-three quarterbacks, possessing a big arm but some accuracy issues and coming from a system offense. Tyrod Taylor was set to hold down the Chargers’ starting job until an accidentally punctured lung before Week 2 sent Herbert into action.
All Herbert has done is throw for 250 or more yards in each of his first four NFL starts, something only done previously by Patrick Mahomes and Kurt Warner, according to ESPN. Herbert’s latest outing was a near upset of Drew Brees on “Monday Night Football,” when Herbert threw for four touchdowns and avoided an interception for the first time in his short career.
Meanwhile, the last NFL analysts have seen of Tagovailoa in game action remains in a Crimson Tide uniform. Herbert’s immediate impressions deserve praise, for sure, but Clark’s quick pivot to suggest that the Dolphins made the wrong pick with a small sample size for Herbert and none for Tagovailoa is probably moving just a bit too fast. At least let Tagovailoa make an NFL throw before pushing him aside.
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