Miami Dolphins take Tua fifth in N.F.L. Draft
Samoan quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will begin his professional gridiron career with the Miami Dolphins after they selected him fifth overall in N.F.L. Draft on Friday.
The 22-year-old was home with family in Alabama when he heard the news, which came at the end of what he described as the most difficult time in his life.
Tagovailoa has spent 2020 recovering from serious injuries to his hip and head, which saw him fall from his previous status as the projected number-one pick.
"Man, it was a dream come true, to be able to have this opportunity,” he told Dolphins beat reporters in a press conference.
“What I did in college can’t translate. It’s a clean slate. I have to earn the respect in the NFL.”
Tagovailoa finished his career with the Alabama Crimson Tide as the most efficient passer in the history of college football, but might have to bide his time behind the Dolphins incumbent starting quarterback, 14-year veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick to start out.
That possibility becomes all the more likely given Tagovailoa’s medical history, and some pundits have talked about a ‘red-shirt’ season for the Samoan in which he would sit out games to fully recover.
"I am going to go out there and compete like I am going to be the starter, even if I am not going to start right away or the whole season,” Tagovailoa said.
“Competition is usually healthy and you not only get yourself better, but the other guys better that way."
Per the N.F.L.’s collective bargaining agreement, he is set to sign a four-year contract with Miami worth T$84 million.
The Dolphins also had the 18th pick in the Draft, which they used to select offensive lineman Austin Jackson, whose primary role on the team is protecting Tagovailoa from opposing tacklers.
Rounds 2 and 3 of the Draft will occur from 12pm on Saturday Samoan time, before Rounds 4-7 on Sunday.
Another Samoan in 21-year-old edge rusher A.J. Epenesa is considered to be a likely pick early in the second round after he went unselected on Friday.