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ESPN’s Todd McShay says Tua Tagovailoa “is better than Joe Burrow”

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Todd McShay sees Tua as a high-risk/high-reward prospect.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, if the Bengals draft anyone other than Joe Burrow with their first overall pick, it would be a tremendous surprise.

ESPN’s Todd McShay doesn’t think it’s a clear choice, however. There’s another quarterback prospect he thinks should be considered for the pick.

“I would argue that [Tua Tagovailoa] is better than Joe Burrow and that will be the great debate in this year’s class,” he said on ESPN’s First Take last week.

“When he is right, he’s Drew Brees from the left side. But part of his game is being twitchy. It’s not necessarily running, its just how quick he moves inside the pocket. Just like Brees, he processes quickly, he sees it, and his feet are tied to his eyes.”

Tagovailoa was a dazzling player for Alabama, and was the player who many thought would go first overall at the beginning at the season. He and Burrow are a clear number one and number two quarterbacks in the draft.

While he is a sensational passer, his draft stock has fallen because of a hip injury he suffered in November. The hip injury is just one of a growing list of injuries he has sustained in only two years of being a starting quarterback. Before the hip injury, he suffered a broken finger, a knee injury, a quad injury, and has had operations on both ankles.

“So if he loses that mobility and that twitchiness, he’s not going to be the same player. We’re not going to know leading up to the draft. I talked to a bunch of general managers and head coaches and some medical people, and everyone’s kind of looking around saying the same thing. we know how great of a player he is. He’s going to be a first-round pick, but are we willing to gamble $25 to $27 million in guaranteed money on the fifth pick, sixth pick, seventh pick?”

So far, Tagovailoa’s rehab has been progressing well, and it looks like he will make a full recovery. Right now, there are four quarterback needy teams in the top 10 picks of the 2020 draft so it’s Tagovailoa won’t be waiting to hear his name called for long. Of course, a team could trade into the top 10 to make things interesting on draft day.

“He’s going to be a top 10 pick...unless something comes up medically that is crazy. You are taking a big gamble, but you are also taking a big risk by passing on him, too, because he’s got a chance to be a real special starter in the NFL.”