Dolphins, quarterbacks and NFL combine: Tagovailoa's hip evaluation and top of draft order loom large

Safid Deen, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Football

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Joe Burrow knows he has the leverage as the potential No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Tua Tagovailoa has the standout talent -- and the medical issue. Justin Herbert may have the highest ceiling, but his accuracy and leadership skills raise concerns.

And the Miami Dolphins, who own the fifth pick in April's draft, are looking to find a way to land one of these three rising quarterbacks to take their extensive franchise rebuild to another level.

The Dolphins will make some progress toward that effort during the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis next week. But the rumors, mock drafts and smokescreens this week do raise some concern for Miami in the next two months.

Tagovailoa, the Alabama standout who was perceived by many as the top quarterback before he was injured last season, will undoubtedly be the biggest storyline at the combine, which begins Monday.

NFL team doctors will put Tagovailoa through an extensive medical evaluation to see how his hip has progressed from a dislocation and posterior wall fracture suffered in mid-November. He passed the three-month mark in his recovery this month.

While Tagovailoa welcomes the idea of playing for any team in the NFL, a source close to the situation told the Sun Sentinel the young QB believes the Dolphins have a great owner in Steve Ross, great leadership in general manager Chris Grier, a "perfect" coach in Brian Flores and optimism in new Dolphins offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.


However, concerns about Tagovailoa's long-term health, durability and how it affects his mobility cast significant doubt about his ability to lead a franchise in the near and distant future, according to a league source.

Tagovailoa's camp and the Dolphins will keep an eye on the top of the draft order just like eager NFL fans will leading up to April's draft.

Burrow, the LSU standout who won the Heisman Trophy and a national title last season, is presumed to be the No. 1 pick in the draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. The Ohio native, however, did acknowledge this week that he does have "leverage" to potentially force a trade out of Cincinnati.

The Dolphins could match or exceed an offer made by any team looking to make a draft-day trade, with five first-round picks and four second-round picks in the next two drafts among their trade assets.


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