Where Does Tua Tagovailoa Stand?
By: Spencer Naley
With a wild season approaching its finale, we look at the rookie play callers and how they stack up going forward. 2020 gave us plenty of hurdles to jump but it also delivered some new QB prospects worth rostering. Here is my top 5 from the 2020 rookie class moving forward.
- Justin Herbert
What he has done this year was impressive just from a league standard standpoint, let alone a rookie without an offseason. Herbert’s talent is clear, he has elite weapons in K. Allen, and when healthy, Austin Ekeler and Mike Williams. Ekeler and Herbert shared a field together only 8 games and that’s counting week 4 when he went out with injury. Herbert is getting Joe Lombardi as his new OC this year and that should only vault his already great first season. There will be some adjustments to be made with a new coaching staff but Lombardi was the quarterback coach in NO. This was the same offense with D.Brees and running back A. Kamara playing a major role as a receiving threat, sound familiar?
As for Herbert, all he did in year one was finish 10th in the league in passing tds and 6th in passing yards, coming 38 yards short of Andrew Luck’s record while tossing 7 more TDs and 8 less INTs. He did this all playing behind the worst offensive line in the league. Herbert could be a top 5 QB for years to come. He’s in a clear top tier of 2 out of this class and has earned his top spot.
- Joe Burrow
If you just want to google this man smoking a cigar and put him first based on nothing else, I will not argue it. Knee issue and bottom 3 offensive line be damned, Burrow has top 3 all-time swaggers and that is worth enough for me. Let us not overlook any elephants, Burrow tore his knee to shreds (ACL, MCL, and partial tears to his PCL and meniscus) and that comes with its own risk but there is reason to be optimistic. On Dec 2 Burrow had a successful surgery. Colin Cowherd was a month ahead of schedule back in January. Assuming health from here his offensive line should improve and he may have the best weapons of anyone on this list. Tee Higgins is a year 2 breakout candidate and T.Boyd is quietly solid week in and week out. Burrow did have a bit of a fumbling issue, but I expect that to improve with experience and O-line play. He was the number one draft pick for a reason. With good health, he could easily be the number one player from this class and is the only one I would consider over Herbert at this time.
- Tua Tungoviola
Tua lands here at 3 more because of C.Wentz’s contract than my belief he is a clear cut better dynasty asset than Hurts. Mia has the number 3 pick and has the option to pair him in a trade for Watson or build around Tua rather than trade him. The opportunity to be the day one starter should be present wherever he lands. Should Mami plan to build around him, the WR weapons available in this class are as good as ever. Pair that with the assumption he improves as a player with an offseason in his second year, and he will easily outperform his current value. His 64% completion puts him ahead of the likes of B.Mayfield, D.Jones, both the Eagles QBs and he has enough mobility to be a threat for those valuable QB rushing yards. Still, if Hurts is the clear-cut starter by next season, I’d consider sliding Tua down one.
- Jalen Hurts
Winning 1 of 5 as a starter is rough. His completion issues are also rough. The team he plays for had to decide between the guy’s job he is trying to take, Carson Wentz, or their head coach. Doug Pederson was fired. None of this bodes well for the young QB. Do not hold too much of that against him, he did get a chance to start and showed a rushing upside that deserves notice. He ran for 301 yards on 51 carries over 5 starts with 3 TDS. He was playing with an absolutely decimated roster and has shown the work ethic through college to improve. Even if he is not starting immediately next season Wentz’s health is not exactly a pillar of reliability for the Eagles, his opportunity seems imminent. Try and acquire him any time him being the 2nd option hits headlines.
- Jordan Love
Aaron Rodgers is under contract until 2022 and is likely going to win MVP this year. Even with all the turmoil, it seems the Pack intends to keep Rodgers there for the next few years. I don’t know how likely it Is he is there beyond 2022, remember Green Bay traded up to draft Love when they could have gotten more weapons for Rodgers instead. Jordan love has an NFL arm and sitting behind one of the most talented to ever do it cannot hurt no matter how much he doesn’t want you there. He would have been drafted higher but his 2019 season at Utah State was a disappointment. He threw for 32 touchdowns and 6 interceptions in 2018, in 2019 he had 17 interceptions and just 20 touchdowns. The Packers have shown enough belief in him with spending their 1st round draft pick on him that I would take him over Jacob Eason in Indy. The Colts are likely to find a QB on the free-agent market this season and no other quarterback has a clearer path to starting in this class.