2020 NFL Draft: Nick Saban compares Tua Tagovailoa to Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers as a ‘style of player’

Tua Tagovailoa is one of the wild cards heading into the 2020 NFL draft. While Tagovailoa’s talent isn’t an issue, his ability to recover from a hip injury certainly raises some question marks heading into his rookie season. 

Recent reports have Tagovailoa’s fracture in his hip as healed (setting him up to be cleared for football activities potentially as soon as next month), but there will still be questions on how well Tagovailoa will perform in his recovery. 

Tagovailoa’s college coach, Nick Saban, is sending a message to teams looking to draft his national championship winning quarterback. Saban is already comparing Tagovailoa to two of the game’s best signal callers, and future Hall of Famers. 

“I think he’s a lot like Drew Brees. I always thought Aaron Rodgers was a lot like that as a player too,” Saban said, via Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. “Not overly big, accurate with the ball, really good judgment, decision-making. Those guys are the style of player. 

“I would never say the expectation should be he would accomplish what those guys have, I’d never wanna put that on a guy. But that’s the style of player he is.”

Saban really sees the similarities between Tagovailoa and Brees, based on their stature. Tagovailoa is listed at 6-1 on some outlets, just an inch above Brees at 6-0. That’s not the prototypical size for a quarterback, even though Brees is the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns. 

“Really can rid of the ball quickly, and his accuracy is unbelievable, which, to me, is the most compelling thing a quarterback can have,” Saban said. “It’s good judgment about where you throw the ball, get it out of your hand when you need to get it out of your hand, and be accurate with it so the people that are catching it can catch it and run with it. 

“That’s what he is. He makes a lot of really, really good throws in tight windows, which is the biggest difference between college quarterbacks and pro quarterbacks. Pro quarterbacks have to do that because there’s a lot more man-to-man. I think he’s proven that he can do that in his college career here (at Alabama).”

Tagovailoa has the potential to become a franchise quarterback, even though he is not the projected top quarterback in his class. How Tagovailoa responds from his hip injury will be critical toward how high he will be drafted come April. 

Based on Saban’s analysis, teams shouldn’t take the risk of Tagovailoa falling in the first round. 

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