Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa remains underlooked in the NFL
Tua Tagovailoa, the 23-year-old signal-caller for the Miami Dolphins, is entering his second year in the league. Let’s face it, Tagovailoa arguably has more close eyes on him than any other QB in the league.
The soon-to-be starting QB was a shiny product under Nick Saban and then was selected fifth overall by first-year head coach Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins. Tagovailoa was a glamorous stature headed into year one.
Exiting year one, the reflection on Tagovailoa is that he didn’t quite live up to expectations. Tua was benched numerous times and he couldn’t quite blow any defenses out of the building. However, there were glimpses of Tua’s arm talent and his leadership was on display at times.
It’s evident that Tua has the keys to the offense headed into 2021.
Fins nation begs to ask: How productive will Tua be? There are many rankings that don’t hold the slightest of confidence for the QB benched in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Pro Football Focus ranked Tua 29th out of 32 eligible QBs. Chris Simms projected Tua as the 40th best QB in the league. It’s very clear: The football world is sound asleep on Tua.
Is Tua destined to be an abysmal QB in the 2021 campaign? Does he hold minimal tools amid an offense that won’t lift off? I believe that’s not the case.
- Jaylen Waddle AND Will Fuller will bring sizable change
Tua wasn’t in a position to stretch the field to the slightest in 2020. His yards per attempt were good for 30th in the league. His decision-making could have been sharper at times, but the explosion wasn’t there anywhere in the offense. Will Fuller is one of the top deep threats in the NFL and Jaylen Waddle is undeniable leaps ahead of Henry Ruggs coming out of college and ready to reunite the spark between himself and his former college QB.
Tua’s completion percentage was also biting the dust last year. He was 26th in play-action completion percentage. He has the arm strength and accuracy (#2 in the league) to hit his wideouts, he just needs to grow in the scheme, especially with more talent around him.
- Bigger offseason
It’s clear that everybody had a shortened offseason last year due to COVID. Nonetheless, the players that suffered the most from forming a lack of chemistry were unequivocally young signal-callers. Tua showed that he had lots of pocket passing potential at times of the season, but Ryan Fitzpatrick’s experience significantly outweighed Tua’s passing talent.
Justin Herbert was also expected to sit the rookie year behind modest veteran Tyrod Taylor, but he was forced to start after Taylor’s injury early in the season. Expect Tua to take the utmost advantage of learning the scheme headed into season two. He showed that he has the potential and now he has the tools around him, he just needs to grow mentally. Even if Tua has a noticeable improvement in his feeling of the scheme, that should translate to a lot more success.