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Odds on Tua Tagovailoa’s Future After Hip Injury: Could He Return to Alabama? Still a Top 10 Pick in 2020 Draft?

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in College Football

Nov 19, 2019 · 12:33 PM PST

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa
Will Tua return to Alabama next season? Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire)
  • Books are  offering a series  prop wagers relating to injured Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa
  • Will he still be a top ten pick in the 2020 NFL Draft?
  • Might Tagovailoa opt to return to the Tide next season?

Reports are the Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa came through hip surgery this week with flying colors and that he is expected to make a full recovery.

Tagovailoa suffered a dislocated right hip last Saturday in the second quarter of Alabama’s 38-7 win over Mississippi State.

What does all that mean to Tagovailoa’s football future? That answer won’t be known for several months, and the uncertainty is also going to play a role in several prop wagers on offer relating to what will happen next for Tagovailoa?

Tua Tagavailoa 2020 NFL Draft Position

Draft Position Odds
11-20 +150
1-10 +200
Round 2-7 +250
21-32 +300

Odds taken November 19th.

Prior to his injury, Tagovailoa was in the discussion as to which college player might go first overall in the NFL Draft.

Suddenly, that’s all up in the air.

The injury was serious enough that Tagovailoa was taken from the stadium to hospital via helicopter. He also suffered a posterior wall fracture along with the dislocated hip. The injury has also been paralleled to the hip ailment that ended the football career of Oakland Raiders running back Bo Jackson in 1990.

The physical damage will prevent Tagovailoa from playing football again this season. It will also severely damage his status for the 2020 draft.

If there are no further setbacks, Tagovailoa is expected to resume athletic training within three months time, and he should be able to throw a football by the spring. But it’s unlikely he’d be able to participate in the NFL Combine. The event where NFL teams assess draft-eligible players is slated for Feb. 24-March 2 in Indianapolis.

A recent comparable was current Dallas Cowboys lineback Jaylon Smith. Playing for Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, 2016, Smith suffered a devastating ACL and MCL tear that included nerve damage in the knee.

Prior to the injury, Smith was touted as a top ten pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Instead, he plummeted all the way to #34.

Based on that history, and with some other talented quarterbacks in the class figuring to be healthy, Tagovailoa isn’t going in the first round of the draft. The second round seems likely as the earliest he’ll be claimed.

Pick: Round 2-7 (+250).

Total Quarterbacks Taken Before Tua Tagavailoa in 2020 NFL Draft

Total Odds
Under 2.5 QBs selected -130
Over 2.5 QBs selected -110

Even before Tagovailoa’s devastating injury, NFL scouts were raising questions about his durability. He’s already had two procedures to deal with high ankle sprains during his time at Alabama and has missed playing time due to those issues. He underwent ankle surgery as recently as October.

At 6-foot-1 and 218 pounds, Tagovailoa isn’t huge by NFL QB standards. That didn’t stop the Arizona Cardinals from taking the 5-foot-10, 207-pound Kyler Murray with the first pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. But Murray hadn’t just suffered a horrific injury.

The punishment an NFL QB absorbs on a weekly basis is astounding, as evidenced by how many #1 signal callers have been seriously hurt during the current campaign. In this instance, size does matter.

That isn’t an issue with Oregon’s Justin Herbert, who was the #2-rated QB for the NFL Draft prior to Tua’s injury. Herbert is 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds.

LSU’s Joe Burrow, the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy now that Tagovailoa’s season in done, is a solid 6-foot-4 and 216 pounds.

Still, it’s not a deep draft in terms of QB talent, and that could help Tagovailoa.

Pick: Under 2.5 (-130).

Will Tua Tagavailoa Play for Alabama in Week 1 of 2020 NCAA Season?

Outcome Odds
No -500
Yes +300

It’s easy to make a solid argument about the benefits to Tagovailoa coming back to Alabama and playing his senior season with the Crimson Tide. He could establish beyond a shadow of a doubt that he remains a franchise QB post-injury.

On the other hand, he could get injured again, or play poorly.

Even if he slides in the draft, Tua’s best call remains to get to the pros sooner rather than later. Smith bit that bullet, and showed he was still the same player. He signed a $63.75-million pact with Dallas earlier this year.

Pick: No (-500).

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