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If Detroit Lions want to trade down in NFL draft, Tua Tagovailoa's injury concern may help

Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Football

Concerns about Tua Tagovailoa's injury history could be heating up two weeks before the NFL draft, and that might help the Detroit Lions' chances of trading out of the No. 3 pick.

Former NFL general manager Michael Lombardi, who worked with both Lions general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia with the New England Patriots, said in his "GM Shuffle" podcast that he knows of two teams who flunked Tagovailoa on his combine physical, including one in the top 10.

"It's not just his hip," Lombardi said. "It's his ankle. It's his wrist. He broke his wrist the first day of spring ball one year. And then they fixed it and he came back and he re-broke it again. I mean, he's brittle. He is brittle. You can't deny it."

Tagovailoa is considered one of the top quarterback prospects in this year's draft and is widely considered a trade-up candidate for quarterback-needy teams picking in the top half of the first round.

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is expected to go No. 1 to the Cincinnati Bengals, and Ohio State defensive end Chase Young is the projected No. 2 pick to Washington.

The Lions hold the No. 3 pick and would like to move down to gain additional draft capital.

 

The Miami Dolphins at No. 5 and Los Angeles Chargers at No. 6 are among the teams in the market for first-round quarterbacks.

Lombardi suggested Tagovailoa's injury concerns are serious enough that he could fall in the April 23 draft. Tagovailoa still is on the mend from a fractured and dislocated hip he suffered in November, and he has also had surgery on both ankles. He initially injured his wrist in the spring of 2018 – the injury had been reported as both a broken finger and wrist – and he missed a game with a quad injury the same season.

At the combine in February, Tagovailoa downplayed concerns about his injury history and said he'd be healthy enough to play this fall.

"If I'm not the person for (an) organization, then I'm not the person," he said. "I just feel like if I just be myself going into the interviews, the right team will find me."

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