Tua Tagovailoa drafted fifth by Miami Dolphins

Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins used the fifth overall pick on junior Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in opening round of the NFL Draft, conducted virtually due to public health concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

Since Dan Marino retired after the 1999 season, the Dolphins have had 21 different starting quarterbacks. Only the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears have had more since 2000.  

One year ago, Tagovailoa looked like the likely number one overall pick, but the left-hander dropped due to injury concerns and the incredible 2019 season of LSU's Joe Burrow – who was drafted first by the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday.

Tagovailoa is the highest-drafted left-handed quarterback since the Atlanta Falcons took Michael Vick number one in 2001.

The 22-year-old threw for 2,840 yards and 33 touchdown passes to just three interceptions in nine games in 2019 before he suffered a dislocated hip – along with a concussion and broken nose – on November 16 against Mississippi State.  

He also broke a finger on his throwing hand before the 2018 season, and battled knee and quadriceps injuries – along a high ankle sprains to each leg – during his only complete season.  

Tagovailoa finished his college career with a 199.2 passer rating and a 7.91 touchdown-to-interception ratio, both Football Bowl Subdivision records among qualifiers. In his 33 career games, the Hawaii native never threw an interception in the fourth quarter or overtime.  

Tagovailoa threw touchdowns on 12.7 percent of his pass attempts, or one out of every 7.9 passes.  

His legacy in Tuscaloosa is secure with 7,442 passing yards while throwing for a school-record 87 touchdown passes. His 96 combined touchdowns in the air and on the ground are also an Alabama record.  

After spending most of his freshman season as a backup to Jalen Hurts, Tagovailoa broke onto the scene by coming off the bench and delivering a three-touchdown performance in the 2017 national championship game against Georgia, including the game-winning, 41-yard strike in overtime to DeVonta Smith.  

Tagovailoa seized the starting job for the Crimson Tide his sophomore season, leading Alabama to 45.6 points per game, a 14-1 record and a national title game appearance. He was named a consensus All-American and finished second in Heisman Trophy voting to Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray.  

Tagovailoa is the fourth Alabama quarterback to be drafted in the first round and is the first since the New York Jets took Richard Todd sixth overall in 1976.