Tagovailoa, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, was looking to make a jump this year but was sidelined early in Week 2 with a rib injury. So he’s only played in two whole games this season. That being said, the fact that the Dolphins apparently are looking to move him is shocking — especially after the poor offensive-line play and questionable play calls the team displayed while losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars in London on Sunday.
Tagovailoa is 6-foot-1 and 217 pounds with decent speed, and he posted a 6-3 record as a starter as a rookie last season. He has shown the skills to be a competent NFL quarterback and still has plenty of room for improvement.
Arm speed, run-pass option reads and efficient downfield throws are all areas in which Tagovailoa excels.
He’s already shown how he can lead a team with quick reactions on RPOs, such as in the clip below.
In Week 1 and Week 6, Tagovailoa has shown the ability to march his offense downfield and slice up opposing defenses using a read-option. (See below.) He reads the safety that steps up as his tight end runs a slant to the inside.
To open the Jaguars game, Tagovailoa took his team on a 13-play drive that lasted 7:15 and gave his team a 7-0 lead.
Tagovailoa also has one of the quickest releases of any NFL quarterback, with an average release time of .33 seconds.
Tagovailoa can get the ball out quickly, which is perfect for the RPO. That skill also has been helpful for the Dolphins because the offensive line often hasn’t been able to keep a clean pocket for its QB.
Tagovailoa is able to make quick split decisions, and he’s making decisions efficiently by going with low-risk passes.
He’s throwing it accurately downfield while evading pressure, and he’s doing this consistently.
Against man-to-man coverage, he’s shown the ability to throw the ball where only his receivers can get it, as we can see in both of the clips below.
Tagovailoa isn’t just showing this ability to the outside. He’s able to avoid pressure and make accurate passes over the middle as well. (See below.)
However, his decision-making in critical times has been a drawback. Occasionally, his body doesn’t seem to agree with his arm, like in the clip below.
Tagovailoa either should have made the decision to run to the first-down marker or put more effort into making an accurate throw. Instead, he did neither, and the Dolphins failed to convert on third down.
Still, Tagovailoa wasn’t the reason Miami lost to Jacksonville. He didn’t get sacked, only had one turnover and ended the game with a 95.1 passer rating.
There are plenty of areas where the Dolphins can improve, but trading Tagavailoa isn’t one of them.