The Miami Dolphins selected former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but there’s no guarantee that he will start for head coach Brian Flores in the season opener. Tagovailoa suffered a serious hip injury against Mississippi State in November that prematurely ended his final collegiate season, and it’s unknown if he has fully recovered. Tagovailoa has apparently made great strides in his recovery, but are the Dolphins really planning on throwing him into the starting lineup come the season opener?
It’s very possible that veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick could get the nod in Week 1 while Tagovailoa waits until he is 100 percent healthy. Although he turned 37 last year, Fitzpatrick threw for 3,529 yards, 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 15 games, and went 5-8 as a starter. It’s worth noting that he started in every game the Dolphins won last season. Fitzpatrick knows a changing of the guard is quickly approaching in Miami — and he supports the Dolphins’ new quarterback — but he still would like to see some time on the field in 2020.
“I’m his biggest cheerleader right now, but I also want to be out there playing,” Fitzpatrick said, via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I also want to be on the field, and that’s why I’m still doing it is because I still enjoy playing the game. Hopefully some of the lessons I’m able to teach him are him watching me play, but if it’s the other way around I’m going to do my best to help him succeed the best way he can.”
Tagovailoa finished his junior season as the Crimson Tide’s career touchdown responsibility leader (96). His 87 touchdown passes moved him past AJ McCarron for the most thrown in program history, and he finished third in Alabama history with 7,442 passing yards. He entered college football as a winner, as he replaced Jalen Hurts at halftime as a true freshman during the 2018 College Football National Championship Game, and helped the Tide rally from a 13-0 deficit to win 26-23 in overtime.
The Dolphins will be Tagovailoa’s team sooner rather than later, but Fitzpatrick would still like to get a few reps as the starter before the young rookie gets his chance.