Alabama announced quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has undergone successful surgery on his dislocated right hip and will begin his rehabilitation program this week:
The junior quarterback suffered the season-ending injury in Saturday's 38-7 win over Mississippi State.
For Tagovailoa, the injury was devastating on a number of levels.
For one, his season—and perhaps his college career—came to a close. For another, his Heisman chances ended as well. And it's possible that his injury history—he's had multiple issues with his ankles during his college career and had surgery on his right ankle in October—and recovery from his dislocated hip could negatively impact his draft stock.
"Yes, the injury will be a major factor," one NFL evaluator told Kalyn Kahler of SI.com regarding Tagovailoa's draft stock. "It will all be based on the team doctor's recommendation to the general manager. Period."
"If he's on pace to be back for the start of next season, I think he'll be fine," another scout told Kahler. "And all it takes is one team to take a chance on him... Example: Jaylon Smith."
Smith, a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, went from being a top-10 pick in the 2016 NFL draft to a second-round selection after a torn ACL and MCL late in his junior season. But Smith has been excellent in his professional career after missing his entire rookie season.
Smith decided to forgo his senior season to enter the draft. If Tagovailoa believes he could drop out of the first round, of course, he could return to Alabama for his senior year, giving him a chance to reenter the conversation for the top overall pick.
The obvious risk, of course, would be suffering another injury that would put his professional career in jeopardy.
And it's hard to imagine Tagovailoa's stock falling too far. He has been superb in his college career, throwing for 7,442 yards, 87 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions, completing 69.3 percent of his passes. He's also rushed for 340 yards and nine scores. Add in winning a national title as a freshman and leading them to the postseason again last year, and he's one of the most decorated players in college football history.
Injury or not, it seems likely that an NFL team would take a chance on him in the first round. But it's far more of a question than it was a week ago.
The latest episode of Stick to Football is live, with some big time Tua Tagovailoa news and a Round 1 NFL Mock Draft!