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NFL Draft

Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa will enter NFL Draft

Florida Football Insiders



Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Things just got very interesting for the top five of the NFL Draft and in specific, the Miami Dolphins, as Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa officially declared for the draft on Monday morning.

Tagovailoa, who led Alabama to the National Championship in overtime in his freshman season, is expected to be one of the first two (three at most) quarterbacks taken in the upcoming draft.

And, Miami may be that team that takes him. More on that in a moent.

There had been much debate and speculation with Tagovailoa ending this past season with a fractured hip in November and that he might look to return for his senior season to the Tide in Tuscaloosa.

However, his stock is never going to be any higher than it is right now to play pro football. And, Tagovailoa told the assembled media Monday that after consulting with his family, coach Nick Saban and doctors, he’s wants to play in the NFL:

Tagovailoa came to Alabama from Hawaii and the same high school as Marcus Mariota, having thrown for over 8,000 yards which at that time was a Hawaii High School record. And, he had a career of 84 passing and 27 rushing touchdowns in three seasons.

Tua burst onto the scene nationally, when he relieved Jalen Hurts in the second half and overtime of Alabama’s thrilling title game win over Georgia in the 2018 College Football Playoff Championship Game. Tagovailoa threw the game-winning touchdown pass on the first overtime possession, as Alabama celebrated their fifth National Title in nine seasons under Saban.

In his second season at the helm in the 2018 regular season, Tagovailoa was named second-team AP All-American and was a Heisman Trophy finalist, as the Tide reached the National Title game, again, before being beaten soundly by Clemson 12 months ago.

As this junior season unfolded, Tagovailoa was named almost became synonymous with the Dolphins, who started the season horribly at 0 – 7 and the moniker “Tank for Tua” began to gain momentum in South Florida.

However, Tagovailoa was injured in Alabama’s 10th game of the season suffering the hip injury on a sack late in the first half at Mississippi State. He missed the Tide’s final two regular-season games and their recent Citrus Bowl win over Michigan last week due to the injury.

There has been much debate about whether Tagovailoa’s injury could affect his draft status, but it is believed he will be fully healed by the time NFL training camps and preseason begin this fall.

And that’s where a team like the Dolphins, who are slated to select fifth in the upcoming draft in April, may very well be interested in talking the Bama QB.

It is believed that this year’s Heisman Trophy winner, QB Joe Burrow of LSU would be taken by the Cincinnati Bengals, who are in need of a young quarterback and are selecting number one.

Of course the Dolphins also completed a better second half of the year, where they ended up winning five games down the stretch, including dramatically over the New England Patriots in week 17. That was with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick leading them to the game-winning touchdown in the final seconds.

Still, Miami has to be interested in trying to find a quarterback for the future, and Tua is a very hot name for that.

NFL Draft

Oregon QB Herbert improving stock at Senior Bowl?

Florida Football Insiders



Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Preparation for the 2020 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, is under way and intriguing name at quarterback may end up being a Wild card draft pick in the first round this April.

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert has been a projected first-round pick for the last couple of seasons. Herbert (above) surprised some, when he came back for his senior season with the Ducks, as he had been a projected first round pick last year.

And although his play was inconsistent at times earlier in the season, he ended up leading the Ducks to the Pac-12 Championship game win over Utah and then, played brilliantly in Oregon’s Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin.

Herbert certainly has the measurables at 6’6 with a rocket arm and comes out of a traditional high-powered offense in a Power 5 conference. However, there have been some murmurs about is toughness and whether or not he’s cut out to be a star in the NFL?

Herbert was a guest post-Tuesday practice on the NFL Network’s coverage of the Senior Bowl. And, in talking with host Andrew Siciliano and analysts Charles Davis and Daniel Jeremiah, he made clear why he wanted to be at this All-star game to showcase his skills, but more importantly start the process of being around teams to get them comfortable with him:

Interestingly, Herbert talked to them about playing at a heavier weight during his senior season, but he’s actually lost some of it here in the offseason.

Now, the question becomes, where would he slot in April and could a team like the Dolphins, currently sitting at five, be interested in perhaps trading down, where Herbert could still be available?

With LSU QB Joe Burrow likely headed first overall to the Bengals or, someone that they might trade with, that leaves other options for the Fins and others.

Conventional wisdom though is Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa’s improved health from his hip injury will dictate how interested Miami (and others) will be in him at the top of the draft.

And, then, there’s a chance that Herbert would be next for those interested in a QB.

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NFL Draft

Interesting NFL names- new players at Tuesday Shrine Bowl practice

Florida Football Insiders



Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Practice got underway Tuesday for the 95th playing of the East-West Shrine Bowl college all-star game to be played Saturday at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg.

And, not only are there players of interest working out for scouts, personnel directors and position coaches of NFL teams, but a couple of interesting prominent coaching figures from the Florida NFL teams were at the Tuesday Morning workout.

First, fresh off their tough National Championship game 42-25 loss Monday night in New Orleans to LSU, three members of the Clemson football team did arrive mid-day at the conclusion of things for day one of  Shrine Bowl practices.

The Shrine Bowl tweeted out the introductions of  Tigers linemen Gage Cervenka and Sean Pollard, and also, wideout, Diondre Overton:

They will obviously be looking to make an impression on all involved besides just as with what they did most recently in the semi-final win over Ohio State and the championship game with LSU.

An interesting attendee a practice one Tuesday was Jaguars coach Doug Marrone. And, he may be very well looking at offensive line help from this all-star game:

Marrone also is in the market for a new offensive coordinator after the Jaguars announced Monday to announce that they deleted John DeFilippo from his duties after just one season. With Marrone having fired Nate Hackett in the middle of the 2018 season, this will be the third straight year under his leadership that he will have a different offensive coordinator.

Marrrone maybe looking specifically at a player this week, like Michigan offensive tackle Jon Runyan to help bolster the line in front of running back Leonard Fournette.

Here was some video of Runyan, who’s a projected early round pick, going through a drill on Tuesday:

Also, Pewter Report tweeted about Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles being seen scouting talent (after all, it’s in his backyard) at the Tuesday practice.

Bowles’ defense played better in the second half of the season. And, their pass-rush included a record-setting year from free agent acquisition, Shaq Barrett, who broke the Tampa Bay single season sack record with 19 and a half.

Bowles is also there to help show support for his inside linebacker coach Mike Caldwell, who is coaching the East roster on Saturday for the game.

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