Over the last two seasons, LSU's Joe Burrow and Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa were two of the best quarterbacks in college football. Both are heading to the NFL and are likely to be among the first picks on the opening night of the draft Thursday.
This year's draft class has several talented quarterbacks, and it wouldn't be surprising to see four get selected in the opening round. Burrow and Tagovailoa are most likely to be the first two taken because of their strong showings while playing for top programs.
While Burrow is likely going to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 1, things are less certain for others, including Tagovailoa. Here's a look at where mock drafts are predicting several of the top signal-callers to get drafted.
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
One of the biggest changes in ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.'s most recent mock draft featured Tagovailoa.
While many are predicting Tagovailoa to be selected by the Miami Dolphins at No. 5—including ESPN's Todd McShay and Bleacher Report's app users—Kiper has Miami passing over the former Alabama quarterback and instead selecting Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. That leaves Tagovailoa to go to the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 6.
"He'd create some much-needed buzz around a team that is competing with the Rams in a huge market," Kiper wrote. "The Chargers also have Tyrod Taylor to play right away, so Tagovailoa could take his time with his rehab from the [hip] injury that ended his season in November."
McShay noted the injury concerns regarding Tagovailoa, who not only underwent hip surgery last season but also dealt with hand and ankle injuries during his time with the Crimson Tide, the latter of which required surgery in 2018. But McShay still thinks the Dolphins will draft Tagovailoa, writing that "when he is healthy, he's special."
Despite those concerns, it would be surprising for the first six picks of the draft to pass without Tagovailoa being drafted, with his most likely landing spot being either the Dolphins or the Chargers.
Justin Herbert, Oregon
There are some discrepancies with where the experts are projecting Justin Herbert to be drafted, although most have him as a top-10 pick.
Kiper thinks the Dolphins will select Herbert at No. 5, noting that there's "been some buzz around Herbert to Miami, and it's real." Perhaps the Dolphins would consider the former Oregon quarterback as a safer pick than Tagovailoa considering he doesn't have an injury history.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has Herbert going to the Chargers at No. 6, which has been a popular prediction in many mock drafts. Los Angeles is likely seeking a new franchise quarterback, and if Burrow and Tagovailoa are already off the board, that leaves Herbert as the best available in many onlookers' eyes.
McShay isn't as high on Herbert, however, as he has the Chargers passing on him to take Utah State quarterback Jordan Love, which leads to Herbert going to the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 9. Gardner Minshew is likely to be Jacksonville's starter this season, but the team could still consider drafting a quarterback despite Minshew's surprising ascension to the starting job as a rookie last season.
Jordan Love, Utah State
Love is likely to be the fourth and final quarterback drafted in the first round, but there are several possibilities for where he could be picked.
As previously mentioned, McShay projects him to go to the Chargers at No. 6. The ESPN analyst thinks it's possible Herbert will be selected in that spot, but he noted that Love "has the arm to make NFL-caliber throws."
Kiper and Miller have Love getting drafted later in the first round. Kiper is predicting the former Aggie to go to the Las Vegas Raiders at No. 19, while Miller has him getting drafted by the New Orleans Saints at No. 24. If either of those teams drafts Love, then it would likely be for the future, as Las Vegas (Derek Carr/Marcus Mariota) and New Orleans (Drew Brees) have at least one veteran on their rosters.
One other possibility is brought up by Kiper, as he notes that a team could trade up to draft Love, which could make him unavailable when the Raiders are on the clock at No. 19.