Chris Grier leaves door open for Tua Tagovailoa at pick number five

Chris Grier gave his pre-draft press conference yesterday. He didn’t say he wanted Tua Tagovailoa, but he may have shed some light on his preference.

Amidst the coronavirus quarantine that has shut down the majority of the sports world, Chris Grier continues to work towards improving the Miami Dolphins through the draft. In his pre-draft press conference yesterday, Grier was asked a variety of questions circulating around the draft process, scouting in this day and age and, of course, injury concerns regarding top players like Tua Tagovailoa.

In typical Grier fashion, the Dolphins General Manager tried to avoid making any direct comments about who the Dolphins favored when it came to the discussion about whether or not the Dolphins would prefer Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert at number 5. Yet, if we read between the lines, something tells me he’d prefer Tagovailoa over Herbert.

This debate has been ongoing since what feels like forever in the lead up to the draft. Talking heads and fans alike have constantly debated whether Tagovailoa or Herbert could and should be the pick for the Dolphins at number 5. I have even made my preferences known throughout the draft process when I looked at these two players and their overall skill set. Tagovailoa is a better quarterback with injury history and Herbert is a generally healthy player with concerns over his leadership and his “it” factor. Yet, regardless of whatever we all think, the only opinions that matter are the ones of Miami’s front office.

TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA – NOVEMBER 09: Tua Tagovailoa #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates throwing a touchdown pass during the second quarter against the LSU Tigers in the game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Grier was asked a number of questions yesterday regarding these two quarterbacks in an attempt to try and identify which one of the two he coveted more. When asked about the two prospects, Grier didn’t give much, saying they were “both very talented players” and have proven to be “intelligent players that are winners.” – via Chris Grier’s Press Conference Transcript –

This answer is pretty robotic and a typical move for most general managers. He didn’t really give a whole lot when asked about them in a straight-up fashion. Where he did provide a little bit of color concerning his opinion was when he was asked about whether or not a player’s talent should be more important than his injury risk. In response to this question, Grier provided an important answer:

For us, you always weigh the talents. You talk about the kid, the person, the work ethic and then you do look at injuries. You take in the factor of the position(sic) he plays and such. For us, every decision has to be weighed with that. Like I said, I’ve been around great people, players like Jake Long who was unbelievable and unfortunately he had the injury bug and it caught him.

Then I told you about Curtis Martin, no one would’ve guessed he would be a Hall of Famer. They thought he was a great football player there, but he was hurt all of the time. Then he ended up having a Hall of Fame career and basically never missed time. – Via Chris Grier’s Press Conference Transcript –

There is a lot to unpack in this statement. To be fair, Grier made it abundantly clear that injuries are unpredictable in the NFL. His comparisons of Jake Long and Curtis Martin were sprinkled in throughout the press conference as examples of the randomness of injuries. But his comment about talent is intriguing and important.

If we take this at face value, it looks as though, while injuries are something that the team looks at, they are too random of a factor when it comes to the decision between Tagovailoa and Herbert. While previous injuries are taken into account, talent is maybe a hair more important. If that is the case, then Miami may be leaning towards Tagovailoa over Herbert, despite all the recent noise about the opposite.

There is no debating that both of these quarterbacks have strong upsides to their game, but Tagovailoa is, by far, the more intriguing prospect who has the “it” factor you want in a quarterback and doesn’t have the leadership concerns that Herbert does, even if those are overblown. Herbert is a talented quarterback, but Tagovailoa presents himself as a better overall prospect, even if there are injury concerns. He wins football games and, most importantly, doesn’t shy away from big moments (just look at Alabama’s championship in 2018 as proof).

Obviously, there is no clear cut answer to this contentious debate and we won’t know for sure which player Miami wants until they are on the clock. Grier did not reveal much in his press conference that could really provide insight into his decision and yes, I am jumping to many conclusions about just a few words. But in this world where we are allowed to speculate wildly about what certain comments mean, then I think it is fair to look at this press conference and give the slightest of edges to Tagovailoa over Herbert.



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