Tua loves Dallas? Herbert to Detroit? More QB rumors

2020 NFL draft
2020 NFL draft QB class

The “where will they go” drama regarding the top three quarterback prospects in the upcoming 2020 NFL draft just ratcheted up a notch.

Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa was asked a relatively innocuous question during an interview with Sam Wyche of the NFL Network: If he could pick any team to play for, what team would that be?

His answer: the Dallas Cowboys.

“If you’re saying to me, if I can choose what team I want to play on, as far as my favorite team growing up, then I probably tell you the Cowboys – but they’re so far down (in the draft),” Tagovailoa said.

Dak Prescott and Dallas have been in contract negotiations off and on since the last off-season. There was a time when a new contract seemed imminent, but nothing happened and Prescott wound up passing for 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns, the second- and fourth-best totals in the league.

In other words, Prescott’s price tag went up.

And while it’s still widely believed that Prescott will be back in Dallas next season, even if it’s as a franchise-tagged player, there has been some recent buzz surrounding the team’s draft plans. Earlier this month, Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network said Dallas could make significant noise during the draft. The Cowboys have the No. 17 overall pick in the first round.

“I can tell you this – a source close to the team told me, ‘(Cowboys owner) Jerry (Jones) wants to make a big splash in the draft.’ That leads me to believe Jones could look to trade up from the 17th overall pick,” Pauline said, adding that he’s been told the team has been doing “a lot of work on the Ohio State prospects.”

It would take a significant haul for Dallas to move up to the No. 2 overall pick. According to the Rich Hill Model trade value chart, Dallas’ entire draft – one pick in the first through fourth rounds, two picks in the fifth, none in the sixth and one in the seventh – would still not be good enough to move into the No. 2 spot currently occupied by division rival Washington. Instead, Dallas would likely have to throw in a couple of future No. 1 picks and pair them with this year’s first- through third-round picks.

A move up to the No. 3 spot, owned by Detroit, would be a little easier but would still require a lot of draft capital, making such a deal unlikely. Plus, Dallas would be banking on an unproven rookie who is coming off a hip fracture.

But if Dallas were to move on from Prescott, it would open up enough salary cap space that the team could conceivably resign all of its priority free agents.

Tagovailoa, meanwhile, said he’d be content playing with Prescott.

“I’m not trying to bump him — I’ll learn under him,” Tagovailoa said. “I’d handle it the way that the coaches there want to handle it. Honestly, I just want to be able play again. I wouldn’t mind learning under whatever guy that’s the starter. Give me a whole year to rest up and then go back out and compete, but I just want to go back out and play.”

Tagovailoa, the No. 6 prospect in the latest Fanspeak-Steve big board, is reportedly going to resume football activities soon and is expected to throw for teams sometime before the April 23-25 draft.

In other QB news:

Oregon QB Justin Herbert

While there’s been a lot of speculation over what Detroit does with the No. 3 overall pick, don’t assume the team is going to trade it away or bypass one of the top quarterbacks.

From Daniel Jeremiah during a recent “Move the Sticks” podcast:

“There’s some buzz on the streets that the Lions really love Justin Herbert,” Jeremiah said.

Detroit coached the North team in the Senior Bowl, which defeated the Herbert-led South team. Herbert, though, was named the game’s MVP.

“Justin Herbert really helped himself with his performance at the Senior Bowl throughout the week, not necessarily anything he did on the field but with his interaction with his teammates … (and) the way he handled business behind the scenes,” said Jeremiah’s co-host, Bucky Brookes. “I think you could see a scenario where the Detroit Lions fall in love with him, based on watching him interact and say, ‘Hey, this is the future of our franchise,’ and ‘What could we get back (in a trade) for Matthew Stafford if we put him out in the open market?’”

Washington QB Jacob Eason

Eason is currently seen as more of a second- or third-round prospect. That could change after the Combine, Brooks said.

Brooks said during the podcast that a scout recently asked him why he didn’t put Eason in the first round of his latest mock draft.

“(The scout) said, ‘When I look at him, I think he may be the third- or the fourth-best quarterback … you may want to pay close attention to him,’” Brooks said during the podcast. “And (the scout said), ‘I’m not the only one … who has a fascination for what this kid could be.’”

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