By Howard Balzer
The Arizona Cardinals snared their quarterback of the present and the future last year with the first overall selection of Kyler Murray in the NFL Draft.
There were questions that year whether Murray would eschew a baseball contract with the Oakland A’s to play the most glamorous position in pro football.
He did that when he knew the Cardinals would make the commitment to be the top pick in the draft.
This year, the overriding question heading to the draft is the condition of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s hip, an injury that ended his 2019 college season.
The agents for Tagovailoa hoped to answer those concerns with the revelation Tuesday that the quarterback is healthy.
Chris Cabott, the president of Steinberg Sports & Entertainment, told Yahoo Sports that “Tua is fully cleared and ready to compete without any restrictions.”
Dr. Lyle Cain added, “I am extremely pleased. If you told me four, almost five months ago now that he’d be where he is now, I think I would have been very happy. I think he’s done extremely well for where he started out.”
Truth is, without the injury, Tagovailoa would be part of the discussion of what the Cincinnati Bengals will do with the first overall choice on April 23.
Now, assuming teams are confident in Tagovailoa’s health, the question becomes whether he will last until the Miami Dolphins pick with the fifth choice in the first round. Could the Washington Redskins, picking second and with a new head coach (Ron Rivera), shock the world? Or would teams behind the Dolphins, like the L.A. Chargers at 6 or Jacksonville Jaguars at 7, look to leap-frog Miami? Also, never think for a second that even bigger jumps won’t happen.
We know that anything is possible on draft day. After all, it was just two years ago that Kansas City moved up 17 spots in the first round to select Patrick Mahomes with the 10th overall selections and Houston went up 13 slot to grab Deshaun Watson with pick 12.
Those swaps came after Chicago felt compelled to move up one spot with San Francisco to select Mitchell Trubisky.
Need I say more?