Monday, November 29, 2021

Chicago Bears 2020 Draft: Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa

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The Chicago Bears 2020 draft plans move forward with few changes. Quarterback continues to look like a strong possibility for one of their 2nd round picks in April. Mitch Trubisky is struggling and could really start a downhill slide in his credibility if he can’t put together a good performance against the Los Angeles Chargers. What nobody knows is who might the Bears have on the board when they do pick for the first time.



When somebody invokes the name of Tua Tagovailoa, the images are hard to deny. A national championship winner with plenty of stats and highlight-reel plays to back it up. He plays for the best college football program in the land and has done a lot of winning. Teams love winning and therefor it’s no surprise most assume he’ll be a 1st round pick. What the Bears need to know is whether or not that is the case or if there’s a chance he could slip to them in the coming months.

Chicago Bears 2020 draft breakdown of Tua Tagovailoa

Strengths:

  • Arm strength won’t be an issue for most teams. Doesn’t have a cannon but he has the velocity for most throws necessary.
  • Passes are fairly accurate, especially at the short and intermediate levels where he rarely misses his target.
  • Fundamentals are sharp. His throwing motion is crisp with no wasted movement. The release is quick.
  • Footwork is well-coached up. Can sometimes get sloppy but most of the time he has the proper motions and depth on his movement.

This is Tua at his best. When he gets protection and a chance to survey, he can be as good as anybody. He takes the snap and starts his read to the left. Doesn’t panic as he moves his eyes to the right and then with good footwork and that quick release gets the ball out before the defensive end finds him. The pass arcs perfectly over two defenders for a big play.

  • Decisive. He isn’t one to second-guess himself a lot. When he chooses to turn it loose, the ball is out.
  • Pocket aware is strong. Shows the capability to sense the pressure and use his feed to slide away from it while keeping his eyes down the field.
  • He goes through all of his reads. Doesn’t linger on any option for too long. If they aren’t open, he moves on quickly.
  • While not a pure runner with the football, he has enough mobility to extend plays and pick up first downs himself.

Weaknesses:

  • Size will be an issue for sometimes. He’s not overly small but at 6’1 he isn’t the optimal height for his position.
  • Though his accuracy is good, his ball placement is not. Too often lands a pass too far outside or too far inside for his targets.
  • Not prone to throwing it deep very often. Mostly because he’s not the best at it. Tends to underthrow guys a lot.
  • Can get a bit greedy at times. Holds the ball for a long time and tries to fit it into tight spaces rather than throwing it away.
  • Has a tendency to let pressure set in too much, opening up his body to unnecessary hits and sacks.
  • Is definitely a QB at his best in a timing and rhythm offense. Not all that great when a play breaks down and he’s forced to improvise.

Pro comparison: Mark Brunell

Brunell is the same size with similar arm strength and mobility. Yes, he was also a southpaw. The three-time Pro Bowler entered the NFL as a 5th round pick out of Washington and spent a number of years as a backup in Green Bay. He was eventually traded to Jacksonville where he became a standout passer for the Jaguars. He was never in the elite class, but the guy could do a lot of damage when he has the weapons around him to do it.

Projection: 2nd round

A lot of people might be shocked by this. Look, Tagovailoa has talent and is fully capable of being a good starting quarterback in the NFL. He is not, however, elite in any category. He’s solid across the board. Since he goes to Alabama, that will likely be enough to get him into the 1st round. That said, his skillset says he is a high Day 2 pick. Somebody who can win a lot of football games provided he lands in a system that gives him enough quality tools.



Erik Lambert
Educated to be a writer at the prestigious Columbia College in Chicago, Erik has spent the past 10 years covering the Bears.

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