Even though Tua Tagovailoa has seemingly been liked by just about everyone he's come in contact with since his time at Alabama, the Miami Dolphins' quarterback has become polarizing in NFL circles.
An internet group that calls itself "Tuanon" has even emerged to defend the quarterback when he's criticized, and pump him up when he has a big game.
One of those most associated with critiquing Tagovailoa has been former NFL quarterback and current NBC analyst Chris Simms. Ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft -- when some believed Tua was the 1B with Joe Burrow as the 1A -- Simms ranked Tagovailoa as the fourth best quarterback in the class, behind Burrow, Justin Herbert and Jordan Love. Prior to the 2021 season, Simms ranked Tagovailoa as his No. 34 quarterback in the league, behind Drew Lock, Teddy Bridgewater, Jared Goff, Mac Jones and Andy Dalton, among others.
So as you can imagine, there was quite a bit of anticipation for where Simms would rank Tagovailoa in 2022. Simms unveiled that Monday, placing Tagovailoa at No. 29, a spot ahead of Goff and a spot below Marcus Mariota.
As Tagovailoa enters his third NFL season, Simms had the following to say of the former No. 5 overall pick:
- Positives: "He's got charisma and leadership, there's no doubt about that -- there's something about him on the football field." ... "He is a very good athlete. He is. The way he can kind of hop around the pocket and move there, I don't think I give it as much credit as I should at times." ... "On the move, he can throw the ball on the run. He's slick with his different releases. He's slick with the ball in all ways except he just doesn't have a strong arm. He can't throw with any power, really. But as far as sidearm, flicking it, touching it over the the guy and throwing it 20 yards down the field, he can do all that." ... "He has accuracy. He does show the ability to throw with very good touch and timing." ... "And then, of course, he can run and scramble and get you 10, 15, 20 yards."
- Negatives: "There's a lot of big-time throws and yards left on the field on a consistent basis with Tua because 1) they can't call it or 2) he turns it down." ... "The lack of outside-the-numbers throws is pretty eye-popping. And they're not doing it because they are going 'Wait, we want to throw it here.' They're doing it because 'we can't trust him to get enough on the ball and make the right ball throw out there. He doesn't have enough arm.' So they had to construct things that fit him around the middle of the field."
Simms would go on to say that he's not a hater on Tagovailoa, but "a hater on Tuanon."
No matter where you fall on how Tagovailoa has looked in his first two NFL seasons, his third campaign with the Dolphins is seen by most as a make-or-break year. Ahead of Mike McDaniel's first year as the team's head coach, the Dolphins have added Tyreek Hill, Cedrick Wilson, Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert to an offense that already included Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki. If Tuanon is right, Tagovailoa should be an NFL MVP candidate in 2022.