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Sportsbooks List Tua Tagovailoa as Odds-On Favorite to Go #1 in 2020 NFL Draft

Ryan Bolta

by Ryan Bolta in NFL Football

Updated Mar 26, 2020 · 7:21 PM PDT

Tua Tagovailoa Alabama Crimson Tide
Tua Tagovailoa came up short in 2018 Heisman voting, but he's favored to win the 2019 award and go first overall in the 2020 draft. Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire.
  • Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa is the heavy favorite to be selected 1st overall in the 2020 draft
  • Oregon QB Justin Herbert, a 4-year starter with great size, could end up in the top spot
  • Another Ohio State edge rusher, Chase Young, could follow in the footsteps of the Bosas and be the first defensive player taken

Can Alabama Crimson Tide QB Tua Tagovailoa be the third straight pivot taken 1st overall in the NFL draft? The early odds say that’s highly likely.

Odds to Be Drafted 1st Overall in 2020 NFL Draft

Who Will Be Selected 1st at the 2020 NFL Draft? Odds
Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Alabama) -140
Justin Herbert (QB, Oregon) +350
Jake Fromm (QB, Georgia) +500
Chase Young (DE, Ohio State) +900
Derrick Brown (DT, Auburn) +900
Jerry Jeudy (WR, Alabama) +900

*odds taken 9/5

While the various online sportsbooks have different odds on Tagovailoa going first overall, they all agree that he is the the favorite to go #1 in 2020.

Tagovailoa is a deserving favorite, but -140 is too steep a price.

You may recall that, in September 2019, sportsbooks were very high on Ed Oliver going first overall in the 2019 draft, listing him at -150.

While backing a QB is safer than a defensive player (16 of the last 22 first-overall picks were QBs), there is just too much time and too much talent elsewhere to bet on Tua at these odds. For my money, Tagovailoa is not the best QB available.  Here are two options you should be giving strong consideration.

Justin Herbert Is Built for the NFL

Oregon Ducks QB Justin Herbert is my pick to be the first QB selected and first-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.  He’s entering his fourth year as starter and is primed to put up gaudy stats. His size (6’6, 233 pounds) makes talent evaluators drool.

While teams have been willing to overlook size concerns in recent drafts with Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, they’d still love it if a talented QB also came with a big frame. Herbert has been compared to Carson Wentz in terms of size and skill set, and Wentz might have an MVP on his mantel if not for a torn ACL.

Last year, Herbert saw a dip in accuracy, completing only 59.4% of his passes, down from 67.5% and 63.5% in the previous seasons.  I chalk that up to a dip in the talent around him and expect he’ll correct the issue this year.

Checking out his overall body of work, it’s tough to nitpick a player with 63 TDs, just 17 INTs, and another full year to add to his totals.

If he can answer the concerns about his one-year blip in accuracy, I believe he’ll go #1. I see value at +350.

Chase Young Best Non-QB Available

Ohio State defensive end Chase Young should emerge as the best available non-QB. He put up 10.5 sacks last year and already has 15 entering his junior season in Columbus.

Young could join a growing list of Buckeye edge rushers to be the first defensive player drafted.

Joey Bosa was taken 3rd overall by the San Diego Chargers in 2016, and his brother Nick was selected 2nd by the San Francisco 49ers this year.  Young has the talent and size (6’5 and 265 pounds) to beat both of those players and be taken 1st overall if the team on the clock doesn’t need a QB.

Is that likely? Somewhat.

The Dolphins are currently favored to finish last in 2019. Even though they just traded for Josh Rosen, they aren’t overly committed to the 2018 first-rounder given the modest price they paid to get him.

However, Arizona and Washington also have a very good chance to finish at the bottom of the 2019 standings. The Cardinals, as you know, just took Kyler Murray first overall and won’t be drafting a QB next year.

Washington, similarly, used its 2019 first-rounder on Dwayne Haskins and won’t be going QB in the first round in 2020.

QB-needy teams are always threats to trade up in the draft, and there’s a reason why QBs comprise 72.7% of the last 22 first-overall picks. It is by far the most valuable position on the field. But if any of Arizona, Washington, or even the New York Jets or Giants wind up picking first, it’s likely that a non-QB goes #1.

At +900, college football’s best pass rusher is worth a look.

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