There are few coaches in the sports world more respected than Alabama’s football coach Nick Saban. However, he may have just made the biggest mistake of his career. Saban’s team was beating Mississippi State 35-7 and instead of taking his star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa out of the game, he put him back in and he suffered a season-ending injury. While it would’ve made sense to keep most quarterbacks in during that situation, Tagovailoa has an injury history and it wasn’t worth the risk.
This decision by Saban has come into question by many, but he found a defender in an unlikely place. Oakland Raiders safety Johnathan Abram should be plenty familiar with Saban as the Crimson Tide were beating up on his alma mater when Tagovailoa went down. Abram took to Twitter to defend the coach against people who were questioning him.
Abram is right. Tagovailoa didn’t have to play. However, it’s unlikely a quarterback is going to take himself out of a game. It should’ve been Saban to make the call. Now, Abram can definitely relate to toughing out injuries. He suffered a shoulder injury in Week 1 of the NFL season and toughed it out until the game ended. He did have to get season-ending surgery after, though.
Tua & Abram Played Against Each Other
Due to the fact that Mississippi State and Alabama are both in the SEC, Abram and Tagovailoa have played each other before. Abram lost to Tagovailoa in 2018 and that was the only time they played. The quarterback didn’t have his most impressive game as he threw for one touchdown and one interception. Abram, on the other hand, has nine total tackles, one of them being for a loss.
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How Will This Affect His Draft Status?
Perhaps the biggest disappointment to come from Tagovailoa’s injury is what is going to happen to his draft status. He had a very strong chance of being the number one overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft had he remained healthy. He still has a chance, but whoever gets the number one pick might not be too inclined to take that big of a risk.
Tagovailoa could always return to college for one more year. That hasn’t worked out well in many cases, just look at Jack Locker and Matt Leinart. However, it might not be a bad idea for the Alabama quarterback. If he’s no longer seeing draft projections for him to be a top-10 pick, he should really consider coming back to play for the Crimson Tide. Just because there’s been a number of quarterbacks who failed after returning for their senior year, doesn’t mean that will happen to Tagovailoa. Andrew Luck made it happen and some would put Tua in that same category of can’t-miss quarterback prospects.
It’s a very unfortunate situation as Tagovailoa was one of the most exciting quarterback prospects to come around for a while. If he does enter the draft, he’ll probably still get selected in the first round, but a top-10 selection seems unlikely.