Trent Dilfer has known Tua Tagovailoa since the Alabama quarterback was 17 years old, and he’ll happily tell you Tagovailoa is the signal-caller for you.
Dilfer appeared on NFL NOW on Friday to discuss all things Tagovailoa with less than a week to go before the draft, and he couldn’t be firmer in his conviction that the quarterback he’s trained on a daily basis this winter and spring will be a star in the NFL.
“I’ve seen a lot of quarterbacks, studied a lot of quarterbacks over the last 12 years,” Dilfer said. “This is the single best prospect I have ever been around, I have ever studied.”
While NFL personnel staffers have a legitimate reason to be concerned about Tagovailoa’s significant hip injury suffered in late 2019 (from which every step back has been covered extensively), it’s unlikely one will find anyone higher on the quarterback than Dilfer. In fact, his only concern is that the quarterback might try to be too good — “put on his Superman cape,” as Dilfer called Tagovailoa’s penchant for playmaking — and make unfortunate mistakes.
“I still think though instinctively if you go back and watch his tape — and I challenge everybody, don’t talk about the injury, don’t trust what Trent Dilfer, don’t trust what D.J. says or Bucky says or Todd McShay says. Go back and watch the tape,” Dilfer said. “You’re going to see him do things that a handful of people in the last 20 years have done in college football. But some of those things had a high amount of risk to them as well, and I think that’s gonna have to be sequestered a little bit. You don’t want to take the play-making out of him, but you don’t want to let him be Superman every time he touches the football.”
Dilfer admitted there’s likely underlying bias because of his longstanding relationship with Tagovailoa, but he pointed to the quarterback’s workout (completed under the direction of Dilfer) that was videotaped and sent out to all 32 teams last week. When asked about NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah’s take on the workout — Jeremiah thought Tagovailoa became fatigued and started to favor his hip late in the session — Dilfer focused on the last two drills to claim otherwise.
“I did not see that. I disagree with (D.J.) here,” Dilfer said. “If you look at the workout, the last two drills of the day were the most physically demanding drills. … If he was able to do that fatigued, then I think he’s in a good position if he can make those throws with that level of fatigue.”
We’ll soon learn how at least a handful of NFL front offices feel about the quarterback. Only one can secure the rights to sign him.