Former University of Alabama quarterback and College Football National Champion Tua Tagovailoa is one of the most prevalent prospects in the entire 2020 NFL Draft class. Were it not for a devastating hip injury, chances are he’d be the shoo-in first overall selection come late April, or at the very least, a sure-fire top-two overall pick.
Yet, despite the numerous red flags pertaining to Tagovailoa’s lengthy list of injuries, he’s still viewed as a lock for the first round and a potential franchise-altering talent. So much so that NFL teams seem ready, and nearly eager, to take a risk on the Hawaiian born prospect in hopes that he can bring good fortune and maybe even a championship or two to their team along the way.
Speaking of championship, Alabama’s head coach Nick Saban knows a thing or two about them, having six national championships under his belt. One of which was won in large part due to the play of Tagovailoa himself. Saban’s also had an up-close and personal seat watching Tua grow as a quarterback over the past three years, and believes the sky could be the limit for the former Crimson Tide signal-caller.
Saban Compares Tua to Multiple Future Hall of Famers
In a recent edition of SI.com’s Monday Morning Quarterback, Albert Breer had a chance to pick the mind of Nick Saban. In what is a brilliant read, Saban goes into great depth, detailing Tua’s injury, the affect it had on the quarterback as well as himself, what went into the QB’s decision to enter the draft, and much more.
However, what may have stuck out the most is the likening that Saban sees in Tua’s game, comparing it to the likes of two future Hall of Famers.
“I think he’s a lot like Drew Brees.” Saban stated in response to Breer’s reiteration that scouts who’d gone through Tuscaloosa the last few years were getting Drew Brees as a comp from guys on Saban’s staff.
Saban didn’t stop there, throwing a Green Bay Packers great into the equation as yet another comparison. However, the coach was quick to point out that he was not by any means guaranteeing that Tua would become this type of player at the next level, but rather that they share similar skillsets.
“I always thought Aaron Rodgers was a lot like that as a player too,” Saban said. “Not overly big, accurate with the ball, really good judgment, decision-making. Those guys are the style of player. I would never say the expectation should be he would accomplish what those guys have, I’d never wanna put that on a guy. But that’s the style of player he is.”
Saban also pointed to what he believes to be Tagovailoa’s most lethal attribute as a passer, one that he perceives as the “most compelling thing a quarterback can have.”
“Really can rid of the ball quickly, and his accuracy is unbelievable, which, to me, is the most compelling thing a quarterback can have,” Saban said of Tagovailoa. “It’s good judgment about where you throw the ball, get it out of your hand when you need to get it out of your hand, and be accurate with it so the people that are catching it can catch it and run with it. That’s what he is. He makes a lot of really, really good throws in tight windows, which is the biggest difference between college quarterbacks and pro quarterbacks.”
“Pro quarterbacks have to do that because there’s a lot more man-to-man. I think he’s proven that he can do that in his college career here.”
It’s clear that Saban is sold on his ability, however, maybe he should inform the Miami Dolphins, who reportedly are not sold on Tagovailoa as a top-five pick, on how good his former quarterback could potentially be.
Yet, it’s also quite fitting that Saban compares Tua to a quarterback in Drew Brees, who he once banged the table for as the head coach of the Dolphins. A quarterback who at the time was coming off of a perceived career-threatening injury.
The Dolphins ultimately deemed Brees as damaged goods, opting for Daunte Culpepper. Shortly after, Saban left for Tuscaloosa, Brees ended up in New Orleans, and the rest is history.
Could the ‘Phins potentially talking themselves out of Tua lead to an eerily similar fate? Only time will tell.