When teams evaluate the talent entering the NFL Draft, there are times when general managers just fall in love with a prospect. We saw it happen last year with the New York Giants and quarterback Daniel Jones. Despite most scouts labeling Jones as a late first round pick at best, Giants GM Dave Gettleman pulled the trigger on Jones with the sixth overall pick in last year’s draft.
This year, it appears we may see something similar play out early in the first round. Rumors are circulating that the Miami Dolphins may prefer Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert over Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa at No. 5. While this could just be a smoke screen by Miami, it wouldn’t be shocking to see them actually go with Herbert over Tua.
The question marks surrounding Tua’s long-term health are legitimate concerns, but all signs are pointing towards him being ready to go once OTAs and training camp start. Although Herbert may not have any concerns surrounding his health, his inconsistent play throughout his senior year and his lack of development over his four-year college career should be just as alarming.
He clearly has the arm talent and athleticism to be a competent NFL quarterback, but his poor decision making and inability to quickly read defenses should turn teams off. After starting four years at a major college program like Oregon, those type of issues should’ve been corrected by year two or three.
Herbert will wow you with some of the throws he can make, but he’ll leave you more frustrated than anything after watching his tape. His coaches seemed to coddle him, as he was barely asked to push the ball down the field or go through complex progressions in the passing game.
Just about 23 percent of his pass attempts were screen passes. To put that into context, the only quarterback who threw close to that many screen passes in the NFL last season was Kyler Murray, who attempted a screen pass on just about 18 percent of his throws.
Based off the film, the stats, the eye test or any other measurable you want to throw out there, there’s no reason any team should seriously consider taking Herbert over Tua Tagovailoa.
Not only does Tua possesses the great athletic ability that Herbert does, but Tua’s mental game is just as strong as his physical, which is something that’ll take years for Herbert to develop at the next level.
He’s a fine developmental quarterback, and he’ll do fine if he’s put in a quarterback friendly system where’s not asked to carry the offense. But, taking Herbert over a stud prospect like Tua would be foolish and the Dolphins should revisit the tape if this is a serious consideration.