Tua Tagovailoa’s long awaited departure from the University of Alabama is a rare January victory for the Arizona Cardinals.
As you know, the Cardinals are seated firmly at pick number eight in next April’s NFL Draft.
For the past two off seasons, the Cardinal front office has primarily focused on draft eligible quarterbacks who could elevate this dormant franchise to new heights.
Back in 2018, they targeted Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen and of course, Josh Rosen.
When it came to 2019, it was a far different story. General Manager Steve Keim openly admitted to his strong hesitation in watching Kyler Murray’s game film. Of course, we all know now what keim saw last February/March when he finally flipped on the tape.
A franchise savior.
With the entrenchment of Murray as the team’s franchise quarterback, the position is no longer in a state of limbo.
That box is firmly checked.
With that being the case, then why had it become so critical that former Hiesman winner Tua Tagovailoa forgo another year of eligibility for the Tide and declare himself draft eligible?
Well, his decision allows the Arizona Cardinals to reap the benefits of so many other teams from previous drafts.
In 2018, when the Cardinals traded up for Josh Rosen at pick 10, it was the Miami Dolphins who sat back and took the best available player with pick 11.
What about 2019? Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock for 12 months, you fully understood the implications of allowing star Ohio State prospect Nick Bosa to fall to division rival San Francisco at pick number two.
Thankfully for Arizona, Kyler Murray’s sensational rookie campaign has saved the Cardinals the headache of searching for yet another franchise QB this April. As good as Bosa has been (and he’s been terrific), Murray’s skillset is the ultimate neutralizer.
That brings us back to Tua and how his announcement affects the Cardinals in 2020. It’s no secret that the Cincinnati Bengals have all but filed the draft card for first overall selection Joe Burrow.
Multiple media outlooks have also confirmed that Ohio State DE Chase Young to the Redskins at pick number two is quote “a done deal”.
Enter Tua and what will certainly be a scramble from the likes of the remaining QB hungry teams picking ahead of the Cardinals.
Those teams being:
This scenario could become hyper aggressive for the Detroit Lions, who own the highly coveted third overall pick.
With no one player currently separating himself at a dire position of need, there’s a strong sense Detroit shops the pick to the highest bidder. The best guess is that Miami and their three first round picks will be too much to overcome for the remaining QB needy teams.
Then comes the ripple effect of teams failing to secure Tua. Do the clearly quarterback needy Chargers or Panthers pivot to someone like Oregon’s Justin Herbert?
What about our good buddy Bruce Arians, who has been anything but publicly committed to the ever erratic Jameis Winston? Could he and former Cardinal assistant GM Jason Licht strike a deal to move into the top five (Giants?) to secure Herbert?
Does a Jake Fromm enter the conversation?
Let’s also not forget Las Vegas and Jon Gruden. Needing to sell tickets, and continuing to be hampered by the inconsistent Derek Carr, would Chucky swing for the fences for a top ten QB?
This is all shaping up to be similar to that of 2018, when a record setting four quarterbacks went inside the top 10. All of which, outside of first overall pick Baker Mayfield, were selected via a trade up (Jets, Bills, Cardinals).
That spells nothing but good news for the Arizona Cardinals and their ever growing list of needs.
Could the Cardinals really have their pick from the likes of CeeDee Lamb AND Jerry Jeudy?
What about standout OTs Andrew Thomas and Jedrick Wills?. Both dominated at LT in the ever competitive SEC and one (or both) could slide to pick eight.
Let’s not forget standout Iowa RT Tristan Wirfs (should he declare), who could quickly become one of (if not the best) right tackle in all of pro football.
This is shaping up to be a historic NFL Draft Season for the Arizona Cardinals, with their two primary needs (OT and WR) both sporting perhaps the two strongest position classes in this year’s draft.
With the selection of Kyler Murray in 2019 combined with the seemingly endless amounts of quality options this year, could Arizona’s first round draft woes finally be coming to an end?
Tua will likely never play a down for the Arizona Cardinals. But, his declaring still managed to secure a “win” for Arizona long after their 2019 season had ended.