Mel Kiper Jr. on OMF: Patriots doing due diligence with Tua Tagovailoa, could be aggressive if he slips


Tua Tagovailoa is the real mystery of the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Alabama quarterback, who has had a few injuries over his college career, including needing hip surgery last season, could go anywhere from the top five to later on in the first round.

Appearing on Ordway, Merloni & Fauria Friday, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. said the Patriots have done their due diligence on him and if he starts to slip to the middle of the first round, they could be aggressive in trading up to get him.

“It’s going to be the million dollar question," he said when asked where he believes Tagovailoa will go. "That’s the whole intrigue and the element of the draft that you just can’t figure is these types of things. You hear people, and I know everyone is screaming that Tua has to go high, you have to take that risk. And then you hear people in the league saying he could fall and everybody is doing their due diligence, including the Patriots. You can rest assured, if he gets into the middle of the first round and you’re sitting there at No. 23, wouldn’t you jump up and maybe get him? You know the connection with Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. And I know how Nick feels about Tua.

"If you go from Tom Brady to Tua, a healthy Tua. Now, that is the thing -- can you keep him healthy? People say, ‘Well, everybody gets hurt.’ Quarterbacks don’t get hurt. Brady had the one injury when (Matt) Cassel came in. (Dan) Marino had the Achilles one year. Most of these quarterbacks, Eli (Manning) played forever, (Philip) Rivers, (John) Elway, (Jim) Kelly, when do these guys get hurt? The quarterbacks, when do they get hurt? This guy has had significant injuries, so to me, if he starts slipping a little bit, sliding down, where it happened with Aaron Rodgers not that long ago, and he was projected to be No. 1 two weeks before that draft and he went in the 20s, yes, if it did happen, I would think New England would be aggressive to try and go up and get him.”

As of now, the Patriots have Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer on the roster and are expected to draft a quarterback, but exactly where is unclear. Some have speculated they could take a chance on Jordan Love at No. 23 overall, or wait until the middle of the draft when they have a number of selections.

Regardless of if it is the Patriots or not, Tagovailoa will be fascinating to follow no matter where he goes.