It’s a bit of a jumbled mess right now when it comes to the top three quarterback prospects in the 2020 NFL draft.
LSU QB Joe Burrow is the presumed No. 1 overall pick.
Unless he’s not.
Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa could – could – go No. 1, but he’s most likely going to Miami if the Dolphins find a way to trade up a few spots to nab him.
Unless they prefer Oregon’s Justin Herbert over Tagovailoa.
Now comes this report from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
“I do have leverage,” said Burrow, who was in town on Monday to accept the 43rd annual Davey O’Brien Award. ”(The Bengals) have their process and I have my process. We haven’t even gotten to the Combine yet. There’s a lot of things that happen leading up to the draft and a lot of information gathered.”
“Fueling speculation is that Burrow is working out with former quarterback Jordan Palmer in Southern California in advance of next week’s Combine in Indianapolis. Palmer is the brother of former Bengals QB Carson Palmer, who recently said the franchise wasn’t dedicated to winning a championship during his tenure.”
The Palm Beach Post also gave a few trade scenarios to see what a trade up for Burrow would look like for Miami, which currently has the fifth-overall pick but also has a total of three first-round draft picks. One scenario would have Miami sending out its two highest first-round picks (No. 5 and No. 18) and a second-rounder (No. 39) to Cincinnati for the No. 1 overall pick and the right to draft Burrow – or anyone else, for that matter.
The next week, Tagovailoa is called the third-best QB.
The bottom line? At this point in the draft process, nothing is certain when it comes to the top signal-callers.
Here’s a roundup of some of the rumors surrounding Burrow, Tagovailoa and Oregon’s Justin Herbert:
Burrow has been the presumed No. 1 overall draft pick ever since the NFL season ended, with Cincinnati picking at the top of the draft. However, there have been rumors in recent weeks that Burrow might not be the Bengals’ top target.
Don’t buy into those rumors, cautions The Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller. From his latest scouting notebook:
“According to a coach who worked with Burrow in college, Cincinnati has clearly signaled the former LSU quarterback is its choice without coming out and saying it. And that’s how the NFL wants it. There is an unwritten rule that teams not tip their hands as far as the top pick, as the league wants the drama and excitement of the selection’s announcement on live television.”
Joe Burrow on Bengals: If they select me, they select me https://t.co/Q42wyeLkXm
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) February 17, 2020
It was recently reported that Tagovailoa’s fractured hip had healed and that he was expected to participate in football activities within a month.
Sure enough, within a few days of that report, some prominent draft analysts projected Tagovailoa to go before Burrow and/or ranked him higher as a prospect.
And as unlikely as that may seem – see above – it’s still not out of the realm of possibility. Remember, prior to his injury, there was a big debate over who would be drafted first between Burrow and Tagovailoa.
“This isn’t some agent-pushed rumor in an effort to elevate his stock,” writes The Bleacher Report’s Chris Roling. “At one point, Tagovailoa seemed locked in as the top overall pick.
“He’s not a lock anymore because he has some company, but the debate is well underway.”
As the above contradictory reports show, nothing is set in stone right now when it comes to the top three QBs.
Further muddying the waters is the recent report from Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.
For context, Miami is seen as the most likely destination for Tagovailoa, either by a trade up with Detroit for the No. 3 pick, or by hoping he’s still there when the team picks fifth.
While it seems likely that Miami drafts a QB, don’t assume that they’re targeting Tagovailoa.
“One source said the Dolphins are not just concerned about Tagovailoa’s return to full health from the fractured and dislocated hip he suffered last November, but also about his durability in the long-term beyond the current injury.”
That’s where Herbert enters the picture. The Oregon signal-caller had an eye-opening week of practices at the Senior Bowl, then was named the game’s MVP.
“… Another source said that in meetings among Dolphins personnel people, (Herbert) has advocates,” Salguero writes. “The Dolphins generally love Herbert’s size (6-foot-6 and 237 pounds), his arm talent, and his mobility, which he displayed in the 2020 Rose Bowl when he ran for three touchdowns.”
But there are concerns, Salguero says, about Herbert’s accuracy and consistency.
“But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to like about Herbert,” Salguero writes. “One source noted how Herbert was the star of practices during Senior Bowl week and the fact he attended the game was impressive to scouts who liked what that said about his desire to compete against top competition.”
If Miami wants to go contrarian, the correct play isn’t to draft Justin Herbert.
It’s to pick no quarterback at all, try to fill as many other positions as you can, and tank for Trevor Lawrence in 2021. https://t.co/IcF53WAOp8
— Thor Nystrom (@thorku) February 17, 2020