It’s hard to rank the 2020 NFL quarterbacks when many of them haven’t seen the field for more than a few games, let alone any at all. But each year, Chris Simms makes a bold attempt before preseason. Simms began releasing his Top 40 2020 quarterback countdown a few weeks ago, and to kick things off at No. 40 was the Miami Dolphins first draftee of the draft, Tua Tagovailoa.
But Shannon Sharpe has some strong words for Simms. The Hall of Famer came to Tagovailoa’s defense on the FOX Sports program “Undisputed,” arguing for Tua’s potential legacy with the Dolphins before it even starts.
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On Simms’ show “Chris Simms Unbuttoned,” the former NFL quarterback ranked Tua at 40, and projected Dolphins starter Ryan Fitzpatrick at 28, and a slew of other quarterback question marks in between, including Tom Brady’s heir to the New England Patriots, Jarrett Stidham.
“(Tua) is a creation of Alabama,” Simms said on Boston radio show Ordway, Merloni and Fauria last week. “You don’t think Jarrett Stidham or like Justin Herbert would have set the world on fire if they got to play with four first-round receivers and two first-round tackles?”
Simms has made a second career as a quarterback expert, having played in the NFL for seven seasons. Of course, the position runs in the family. His father is two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Phil Simms, who also made the shift to analysis after his football career, and his brother, Matt Simms, was most recently a backup quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons.
But Simms has admitted he’s been wrong before. In the same interview, he reminded listeners of his faulty ranking of Patrick Mahomes in his rookie year. He provided a disclaimer before this year’s rankings list was released.
“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,” he said.
A Sharpe Refute
Shannon Sharpe has given his “Undisputed” opinion in response to Simms’s rankings.
“The system that you see at Alabama, Tua created,” Sharpe said. “They were running the football, play defense. Now all of a sudden they throw the football and they don’t play defense nearly as well,” Sharpe argued.
Sharpe makes a great point—Alabama HAS had a slew of star athletes before Tua. Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, and Calvin Ridley all rolled with the Crimson Tide. But they weren’t the threat that they are known to be now without Tua Tagovailoa, and even if Tua doesn’t play a single snap this coming season, a lot will be said about his quarterbacking capabilities based on how Alabama plays this fall.