Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa reportedly hasn't decided whether he'll enter the 2020 NFL draft or return to school for his senior season after his junior year ended prematurely due to a dislocated hip.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport provided the update:
"With Tagovailoa expected to make a full recovery, it's worth noting he has not yet made a decision about his future, sources say. One consideration is returning to school even if that doesn't including playing. Another, of course, is entering the draft.
"If he does, according to five high-ranking executives, Tagovailoa is still expected to be taken in the first round, with all believing he'll end up in the first half of the round. He may not be the top three pick he was slated to be before the injury, but the fall from the ailment is not expected to be catastrophic—pending the results of his medical evaluations."
One good bit of news is that Tagovailoa's chances of developing avascular necrosis, the injury that ended Bo Jackson's career, sits at about just five percent since his hip was reduced within six hours of dislocating it, a surgeon told Rapoport.
Or as surgeon Dr. Chip Routt of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, who surgically repaired Tagovailoa's hip, told his family, he was "more likely to get mauled by a bear than get AVN."
As for his timetable to return, Tagovailoa is looking at six weeks of "extremely limited activity" followed by six weeks of rehabilitation. In about three months, if his recovery has sufficiently progressed, he could then potentially resume football activities such as running or throwing, per Rapoport.
There even remains the possibility that he could throw for NFL teams before April's draft, if he decides to forego his senior season at Alabama and enter the NFL.
As for his draft stock, it appears it won't take a major nosedive, as Rapoport noted:
"That said, none of the personnel executives polled believe he falls out of the first round. One said the best-case scenario for Tua is to go late in the first round to a team with a veteran QB already. Another said the sweet spot are picks 10 to 12, with someone trading up to take him. Another said the injury history affects him, but in this QB-needy league, not enough for him to fall out of the first day."
On his latest big board, B/R's Matt Miller had Tagovailoa at No. 10 overall, behind LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (No. 2) but ahead of Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert (No. 12). They were the only three quarterbacks in the top 32.
Coming into the season, Tagovailoa sat near the top of most big boards, though he has been overshadowed by Burrow's Heisman-worthy season. Still, Tagovailoa still threw for 2,840 yards, 33 touchdowns and three interceptions in 2019, completing 71.4 percent of his passes, all gaudy numbers. Quarterback-needy teams near the top of the first round will give him a long, hard look if he decides to leave school.