On Monday, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa announced his decision to declare for the 2020 NFL Draft.
Before Tagovailoa suffered a hip injury against Mississippi State this past season, the Hawaii native was expected to be a no-brainer top-three pick in the draft. Now however, with the injury looming over him, Tagovailoa’s draft status remains uncertain. We can still expect him to be drafted in the top 10, though, meaning that the New York Giants, with the number four overall pick, must prepare for all possible scenarios.
Let’s run through the first four picks. The Cincinnati Bengals, with the number one pick, are expected to take Heisman trophy winner Joe Burrow. The Redskins won the Chase Young sweepstakes and should pick the star pass rusher out of Ohio State.
The Detroit Lions, with the third pick, could take cornerback Jeffrey Okudah leaving the Giants with tackle Andrew Thomas from Georgia. There is a chance that the Lions look to swap their pick with a team that needs a quarterback. The Lions already have QB Matthew Stafford returning in 2020, who performed well this past season under new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. The Lions are also in greater need of improving their secondary, which takes us back to Okudah. So, if the Lions stay at number three and pass on Tagovailoa, the Giants are in a greater position to swap with a quarterback-needy team.
Then we have to consider the teams drafting right after the Giants. The Miami Dolphins have the fifth pick, followed by the Los Angeles Chargers and the Carolina Panthers. There is a chance that all three of these teams could give the Giants a trade down possibility because they are all in the market for quarterbacks.
The Dolphins are unlikely to stick with 37-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick into the 2020 season. But if Miami is worried about Tagovailoa’s injury and decides to draft a quarterback, Oregon’s Justin Herbert is also a potential option.
The Chargers have the sixth overall pick. With 16-year veteran Phillip Rivers entering free agency next season and probably on his way out, the LA team is in need of a quarterback who can set the standard for the future of the organization. Tagovailoa has the potential to live up to that responsibility, injured or not.
The Panthers have the seventh overall pick. Cam Newton missed most of the season with a foot injury, forcing the Panthers to try backups Kyle Allen and Will Grier. But even Grier was injured by the end of the season, forcing the Panthers to stick with Allen, who left much to be desired in the team’s 29-3 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. If the Panthers decide Tagovailoa is their guy, Carolina could attempt to jump over the Chargers and Dolphins in the draft order.