Though Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa won’t be going through the on-field drills at the NFL Combine, this week in Indianapolis was absolutely critical for his NFL Draft status. Coming off an extremely serious hip dislocation back in November, Tagvailoa’s medical examinations were going to be key in seeing his progress thus far and his potential to play not only this year, but for seasons to come.
As of Wednesday, Tagovailoa has gone through both a full-day hospital examination and individual team medical checks, and it appears things couldn’t have gone any better for the former Crimson Tide quarterback.
According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, team medical checks were “overwhelmingly positive” for Tagovailoa this week:
Following two days of medical testing, #Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa received overwhelmingly positive reports on his dislocated hip from teams who examined him, sources say. The MRIs were as clean as hoped, fracture is healed, there is no loss of blood flow. One source: “Looked great."— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 26, 2020
That’s obviously great news for Tagovailoa himself, but it’s also extremely good news for the Detroit Lions, who currently hold the third overall pick in April’s draft.
Whether the Lions are interested in selecting Tagovailoa with that pick will continue to be debated over the next two months, but even if they aren’t, they stand to benefit from this news. Tagovailoa was viewed as a top-five prospect prior to his injuries, meaning with an improving bill of health, he’s absolutely in play for the third overall pick.
As a result, there could be a race between quarterback-needy teams to draft Tagovailoa, and the Lions hold the key with the third overall pick. If enough teams—like the Panthers, Dolphins and Chargers—start bidding for Tagovailoa’s services, the Lions could cash in on a lucrative trade down scenario, or one of those teams could jump the Lions, leaving an elite defensive talent (see: Chase Young) on the board when Detroit is on the clock.
Regardless of the Lions’ intentions, good news for Tagovailoa is good news for them.