Former NFL Executive Details How Tua Tagovailoa's Injury Could Force Him To Forgo Draft, Return to Alabama

During ESPN's radio show Golic and Wingo, former NFL executive Mike Tannenbaum spoke about how the injury suffered by University of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa could affect his draft stock.

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During Saturday's game against Mississippi State, Tagovailoa, a potential No. 1 overall draft pick, suffered a dislocated hip that will sideline him for the remainder of the season. Tannenbaum describes Tagovailoa's injury—and the fact that, as a junior, he could return to Alabama for his senior season—as a very "fascinating" situation.

"You could declare for the draft and truly evaluate how that goes," Tannenbaum said.

In a hypothetical draft situation, Tannenbaum also detailed the leverage that Tagovailoa has and how he could use it to end up on a team of his choice.

"If I'm Tua and I'm drafted in the middle of the first round by the Cincinnati Bengals, I may say: You know what, I have world-class care, I have more leverage than Eli Manning, I'm gonna rehab myself for a year, and I'll go back into the draft," Tannenbaum added.

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Tannenbaum was comparing Tagovailoa's situation to Eli Manning because in the 2004 draft, after being taken as No. 1 overall by the San Diego Chargers, Manning told reporters he would rather go to law school than play for the team. Only a few minutes later, Manning was traded to the New York Giants where he has played since.

Tannenbaum also discussed what could happen if Tagovailoa decided to enter the draft and how teams could handle his injury's recovery process.

"To me, this lines up so well for New England," said Tannenbaum. "If I'm New England, I take him at the bottom of the first found and I say, Look, you're not playing for one year, maybe two, because we're gonna make sure 1,000 percent healthy, not just 99."

With quarterback Tom Brady remaining on the New England Patriots' roster, they may be one of the only teams that are able to sacrifice their draft pick and allow him to sit for a year. Compared with teams like the Bengals and Miami Dolphins, who need to draft players that will help them win games right away, the Patriots may be hesitant to draft a player who is recovering from a serious injury, like Tagovailoa.

Tagovailoa is undergoing surgery on Monday, which will keep him out for the remainder of the season and potentially the next. "The recovery for this, even in a young, healthy guy, is six to 12 months. I tend to err on the side of 12 months," Dr. Louis Levitt told CBS Sports. He is vice president and secretary for the Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics in Washington, D.C.

Tagovailoa has yet to declare for the NFL draft and has until January 14 to do so. Even if he decides to forgo the draft and return to Alabama, it is likely that he will still be recovering throughout his senior season.

Tua Tagovailoa
The Crimson Tide's Tua Tagovailoa, a potential No. 1 overall draft pick, has a dislocated hip that will sideline him for the remainder of the season. Getty/Wesley Hitt
Former NFL Executive Details How Tua Tagovailoa's Injury Could Force Him To Forgo Draft, Return to Alabama | Sports