The AFC East is a division seeing extreme change. Tom Brady has absconded to Tampa Bay where he has taken to breaking and entering and creating disturbances in public parks. With his exit, the time has come for another franchise to take control in the division.
That race got a little bit more interesting tonight with the drafting of Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa. The left-handed passer was the source of a lot of speculation because of his spotty injury history. He suffered a dislocated hip and posterior wall fracture that ended his college career back on November 16, 2020. Without the ability to do their own medical rechecks after the combine, there were many who questioned if he would fall down the draft board.
With the 5th pick of the draft the Miami Dolphins ended that speculation, making their journey of “Tanking for Tua” complete and adding a talented passer to their roster. It is unclear when Tua will be ready to play, but his presence very likely means that the New England Patriots now have the worst starting QB in the division and the sun is rising for the Bills and Dolphins, and maybe even the Jets.
Following close on his heels, the Chargers looked to replace their own franchise legend Philip Rivers by selecting Oregon QB Justin Herbert with the 6th pick. A west coast product already, Herbert took criticism due to some inaccuracy, as well as a more diminutive personality that some felt wasn’t enough to lead a franchise.
The Chargers did not agree, seeing a big-armed kid who can make every throw and is exactly the lead-by-example player they need to add to a franchise that is trying to win over their fan base and put butts in the seats in a brand new stadium. He’ll have big shoes to fill following Philip Rivers under center, but Herbert has a ton of potential and should be set up well with targets like Mike Williams and Keenan Allen to throw the ball to. In one of the toughest divisions in football, he’ll need all the help he can get.
The question is, with three QBs off the board at picks 1, 5, and 6, how many will go in the first round? Talk earlier in the day had Jordan Love falling out of the first round, but with a lot of picks left this evening, that seems unlikely. One thing is sure, this is going to continue to be an interesting night.