Tua Tagovailoa’s health could set off Giants’ draft boldness
One player the Giants absolutely, positively will not take could hold the key to their 2020 NFL Draft strategy. That player will be in Indianapolis next week for the NFL Scouting Combine, will not be doing much of anything on the field and yet the Giants could benefit from every shred of positivity that player generates.
The more confident NFL decision-makers are that Tua Tagovailoa will be healthy for this coming season, the more enticing he becomes and the more likely a team out there is willing to trade a package of picks to the Giants to get him.
Now then, Dave Gettleman has presided over seven drafts as a general manager — five with the Panthers and two with the Giants — and has never traded down. Never. He selected 28 players with the Panthers and 16 in his two drafts with the Giants (plus one more in the supplemental draft). However: Gettleman’s new head coach, Joe Judge, was shaken off the Bill Belichick tree in New England, and no one is more aggressive trading down in drafts than Belichick.
Nothing creates a trade-up frenzy as feverishly as the presence of fresh quarterback blood in the water. Joe Burrow of LSU is the presumptive No. 1 pick to the Bengals — as long as Burrow does not pull a John Elway or Eli Manning and insist he will not play in Cincinnati. Justin Herbert of Oregon was named MVP of the Senior Bowl and will be a high pick.
Then there is Tagovailoa. Remember when “Tank for Tua” was all the rage and it was assumed the Dolphins were trying to lose on purpose to land the Alabama lefty? Tagovailoa’s NFL value was thrust into uncertainly when he suffered a severe hip dislocation and fracture Nov. 16 against Mississippi State.
Reports state his three-month CT scan revealed his hip has healed. Tagovailoa will not participate in drills at the combine but will use the week in Indy to meet with teams and explain his physical progress. For many, many players, this flow of medical information is the most important single aspect of the combine.
“I’ll be participating in the combine, but my main goal is not to win the 40, not to win the bench press, but to win my medical,” Tagovailoa recently told NFL Network.
Tagovailoa at Alabama also underwent surgeries on both ankles, broke his nose and suffered a concussion, and, along with the hip surgery, his injury history is the only alarm he needs to silence. As a quarterback prospect, he is everything the NFL is looking for.
If Tagovailoa can assuage the medical fears, teams will be willing to trade up to get him. The Redskins at No. 2 do not need a quarterback and the Lions at No. 3 and Giants at No. 4 are not in the quarterback market. The Dolphins (No. 5), Chargers (No. 6) and Panthers (No. 7) will be thinking quarterback and there’s a chance the Jaguars (No. 9), Raiders (No. 12), Colts (No. 13) or Falcons (No. 16) could be as well. And what about the Patriots at No. 23? Maybe behind all the smoke of moving on from Tom Brady there is actually some fire and if so, it is highly unlikely Belichick is sold on Jarrett Stidham. Moving up 19 spots to the Giants would be difficult to pull off, though.
This could be the right time for Gettleman to trade down, as there is a chance the player the Giants ultimately covet at No. 4 (perhaps linebacker Isaiah Simmons or one of a handful of offensive tackles) is available a few picks later for them to grab.
The Dolphins own three first-round picks — 5, 18 and 26. The Raiders have Nos. 12 and 19. The Giants are not one player away from contending and this is a draft where the players taken from No. 4 to No. 12 could all be eye-of-the-beholder as far as value. Imagine if the Giants could trade down a few spots and still land an offensive tackle (Andrew Thomas, Mekhi Becton, Jedrick Willis or Tristan Wirfs), a Day 1 starting defensive player (Derrick Brown, A.J. Espensa, Javon Kinlaw or Grant Delpit) or as a trade bonus, a weapon for Daniel Jones such as Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb or Henry Ruggs III.
Gettleman values his picks but has never said he is philosophically opposed to trading down.
“It kind of just never happened, I guess,’’ he once explained. “There was nothing ever meaningful enough that would keep me from the player that we had who was there for us to take.’’
All this hinges on teams salivating to get at Tua. The courting heats up next week in Indy.
Source : Paul Schwartz Link