NFL mock drafts are largely useless, except The 300s Mock Draft from Mattes, but nobody really knows what the hell is going to happen in the draft. Joe Burrow is definitely going No. 1 overall, but after that its anyones guess which way the draft unfolds. With that being said there has been some chatter around the potential of the Patriots going against everyone’s expectations and trading up to draft Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa.
Is that really a possibility?
Over at Pro Football Talk Peter King has the Patriots trading up to No. 13 to snag a sliding Tua after the Dolphins take Oregon QB Justin Herbert at No. 5. Well that would assume Detroit (could use a young QB), Jacksonville (could definitely use a QB), and the Chargers (Tyrod Taylor is QB1 right now) all pass on him. Even with the medical red flags considered, I find that pretty hard to believe. King’s breakdown of the scenario below:
Ben Volin also has the Patriots trading all the way up to No. 3 to draft Tua, which would require an absolute truck load of picks and/or players.
Scenario: Patriots offer Joe Thuney and picks 23 and 87 for the No. 3 pick and the rights to Tua. Could the Lions bite? https://t.co/HQErYnBvEf— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) April 3, 2020
I don’t think that would even be enough to get up to No. 3, especially considering Thuney’s on the franchise tag for one year at $15M.
In the past 20 years Belichick has traded up in the first round four times, but not since 2012 when he traded up twice to land Dont’a Hightower and Chandler Jones. They do have 12 draft picks and obviously BB loves to wheel and deal having made 77 draft day trades over the years so the Pats will likely be moving one way or the other.
On Sports Illustrated Bert Breer has the Dolphins taking Justin Herbert at No. 5 and Tua going No. 6 overall to the Chargers, but hedges by saying it’s a hunch because the Chargers GM Tom Telesco is “as cagey as they come.” Meaning they could legitimately take a Tackle here and ride with Tyrod Taylor at QB or it could just be the Chargers trying to throw people off the scent. Breer does go on to say though,
“And if Tagovailoa doesn’t go here? I really don’t know how far he’ll fall.”
That would seem to be the prime scenario for the Patriots and potentially fit in with King’s prediction. Tua slides a bit so the Pats don’t have to give up the farm to trade into the Top 5. Maybe Tua does fall to No. 13 and Bill swings a deal with San Francisco who just so happen to owe the Pats a franchise QB after the Jimmy G deal.
And with reports of the Patriots being nowhere close to an extension with Joe Thuney, who they franchise tagged, maybe he gets included to sweeten the deal for SF along with a few picks. This almost makes too much sense because what kind of team is going to trade for a guard on a one year $15 million deal? Oh I don’t know, maybe a team that feels like it’s on the cusp of a title and maybe even lost a close one in the Super Bowl last year?
The biggest knock on Tua leading up to the Draft has obviously been his health after dislocating his hip last season at Alabama. He’s also has had surgery on both of his ankles and has broken his wrist twice.
Belichick has NEVER been shy about drafting guys in the first round with blatant injury histories though, sometimes bordering on malpractice as the GM. Sony Michel has been on the field, but already had a repaired ACL when the Pats took him in 2018 and just this past offseason had a “minor” knee surgery quietly. In 2014 Dominique Easley already had two ACL tears when he was coming out of Florida and wouldn’t ya know it, could never stay on the field for the Pats because of ACL injuries. So don’t let injury history make you think Belichick won’t take a guy with potential because he will.
Plus then we have the well known Belichick mouthpiece Michael Lombardi with this quote below.
“That’s got to get around, that at least one team failed the physical on Tua,” Lombardi said on The GM Shuffle podcast. “Others have to be concerned now as well. … It’s not just his hip. … I mean, he’s brittle. You can’t deny it. … Look, I’m not disputing the evaluation. I’m saying that they flunked him on not just the hip [but] on the multitude of injuries. The risk far outweighs the reward.”
Is that Bill using an NFL media pundit to try and tank Tua’s stock value around the league?
Jesus christ did I just talk myself into Bill Belichick trading up to draft an injury prone QB? I think I did. If Tua slides and the team can get him without completely mortgaging the future with a Ricky Williams type trade then I say absolutely do it. I’m of the mindset that you should draft a QB every single year because they’re that valuable. Throw as many darts at the board as possible until you hit the bullseye because until then it doesn’t really matter how strong the rest of your roster is. With Tom Brady gone, that should be a draft strategy the Patriots strongly consider. Does Tua’s injury history and size concern me? Sure, but this is also a league that just saw a 5’9″ guy in Kyler Murray go No. 1 overall last year as QBs get hit less and less every year. Tua’s ceiling is so high as he was the hands down No. 1 pick heading into last season and was the 1A after Joe Burrow’s monster year before his hip injury. So if you can get him without completely hamstringing yourself, do it.
Scared money don’t make no money.