Analyst Gives Strong Take on Tua Tagovailoa-Joe Burrow Debate

Tua Tagovailoa

Getty An injured Tua Tagovailoa watches warmups prior to the Vrbo Citrus Bowl in January 2020.

The Miami Dolphins made their confidence in Tua Tagovailoa glaringly clear when they drafted the quarterback fifth overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. But one NBC Sports analyst doesn’t share that assurance.

Chris Simms is known for his annual quarterback rankings on his show Chris Simms Unbuttoned, as a former NFL gun-slinger himself. And this isn’t the first time one of his lists has been considered controversial. But in his rankings of the top 40 QBs heading into 2020, Tua Tagovailoa is last on the list, behind multiple other NFL starters and several backups.

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Who Beat Him Out?

Simms has been wrong before. After Patrick Mahomes’ rookie year, the Kansas City Chiefs’ recent Super Bowl MVP was notably ranked at 29—which Simms says was inaccurate. But his ranking of Tua looks like even more of an oversight because of the quarterbacks who sit ahead of him, like Jarrett Stidham at 35.

“He’s more talented than Tua,” Simms said on Boston radio show Ordway, Merloni and Fauria on Wednesday. “[Tua] is a creation of Alabama. You don’t think Jarrett Stidham, or Justin Herbert would have set the world on fire if they got to play with four first-round receivers and two first-round tackles?”

Listen to the full interview on WEEI HERE.

Just ahead of Tagovailoa is Dwayne Haskins, who had a less than impressive rookie season as the second-string eventual substitute starter with the Washington Redskins. At 38 sits Mitchell Trubisky, who has disappointed with the Chicago Bears since he was drafted second overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, and will likely be overtaken by Nick Foles this season. The Dolphins’ projected starter, Ryan Fitzpatrick, is ranked at 28.

Significantly higher-ranked is fellow rookie of rival school LSU, Joe Burrow, who sits pretty at #26, despite also having not played a single snap in the NFL.

“The difference between Tua and Joe Burrow is when I evaluated them, Joe Burrow makes way more high-level, NFL-type throws—people not open, protection not good—he still makes a play. You have a hard time finding that on any of Tua’s tapes,” Simms explained on Wednesday. “Alabama kicks the crap out of everybody for the last 15 years with all these quarterbacks, but now you want to tell me Tua is the greatest thing since sliced bread? I don’t agree with that.”

Simms’ Annual Rankings

Simms kicked off his ranking announcements at the end of May, and explained the strategy behind his process.

“This is not a career—or what we think they’re gonna be in the future, three years from now. It is all about right now, this moment, 2020.”

The host and analyst’s 2020 list has not yet been released in its completion, but the remaining Top 18 will be revealed in the coming weeks. Still to be seen in the rankings are Carson Wentz of the Eagles, Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers, Kirk Cousins of the Vikings, and Philip Rivers, who is now on the Indianapolis Colts.

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