Tua Tagovailoa Rumors: Nick Saban Has Been 'Singing Tua's Praises' to NFL Teams

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2020

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) passes down field against Texas A&M during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)
Sam Craft/Associated Press

Alabama head coach Nick Saban has reportedly been "singing [the] praises" of Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in conversations with NFL teams ahead of the 2020 draft.

Peter Schrager of the NFL Network reported the update Thursday, but he also noted he doesn't "sense a long line of suitors at the moment" for the Bama quarterback, who slides to the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 16 after a trade with the Atlanta Falcons in his latest mock draft.

Questions about Tagovailoa's health have clouded his draft stock.

He was once viewed as the favorite to come off the board first in 2020 after his breakthrough 2018 season at Alabama, which featured 43 touchdown passes and just six interceptions in 15 games.

The 22-year-old Hawaii native suffered a high-ankle sprain late in that campaign, however, and another one in 2019. Then his final season with the Tide came to an end in mid-November when he suffered hip and nose injuries along with a concussion against Mississippi State.

Tagovailoa tried to push aside concerns about his durability leading up to the draft.

"I feel 100 percent," he told the NFL Network on April 1. "I feel like if there was a game today, I'd be able to go out and perform the same way I was able to perform in previous years. I feel as mobile as possible. I feel 100 percent."

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Tagovailoa finished his career in the SEC with 87 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions across 32 appearances in three years at Alabama. He added nine rushing scores.

He has the tools to become a legitimate franchise quarterback at the NFL level, and getting support from Saban may ultimately help him avoid a draft-night slide.

Here's what Bama's head coach said on The Dan Patrick Show (via 247Sports' Charlie Potter) about the signal-caller Wednesday:

"Tua's a great player. He's very instinctive. He's very accurate with the ball. He's got a great feel for the game. He's got a great personality, really good person, great teammate to have on your team. He's a great leader, and I think he's proven that over and over again. I think that from an injury standpoint, what I try to tell teams is every time Tua's gotten hurt here it's been extending a play where he should have never even got hit.

"So, I think the lesson is self-preservation, and he needs to learn as a quarterback so he doesn't take unnecessary hits is probably what he needs to learn how to do. Now, the guy's a great competitor, so he's always trying to make a play, which you really don't want to take that away from him. But you also want him to know when there's nothing there and there's no sense in taking a hit that you don't need to take."

While trades could shake up the first round, based on the current order, it's still hard to imagine Tagovailoa making it past the Miami Dolphins (No. 5 pick) or Los Angeles Chargers (No. 6).

His potential is too great at the sport's most important position to let him slide too far.