The Chargers and their fans are in debt to the Dolphins the day they made Tua Tagovailoa the number 5 overall pick. I was on the Herbert train from the very beginning not just because of the injuries to Tua in college but because he’s as smart as they come, big, athletic, and can fit the ball into any window he wants. Sure, Tua might have a great career but Herbert is doing things on the field that rookies don’t usually do. Factor in that he didn’t get a preseason and didn’t get the luxury of the full OTAs and rookie Mini-Camp. Herbert is top 10 in Yards, Passer Rating, and TDs. Tua, however, has more wins and hasn’t taken an ‘L’ yet to start his career. The most eye-popping statistics for Herbert have come against the blitz. He’s 3rd in the league behind Patrick Mahomes and Derek Carr with a 121 passer rating while being blitzed. So, who would you rather have? Tua or Herbert?
Unlike Herbert, who was supposed to spend his entire rookie season on the bench, Tua was likely going to start at some point in the season. Unfortunate circumstances led to Herbert starting week 2 and he’s won the job outright with his play. Prior to kickoff with the Chiefs week 2 coach Lynn turned it over to Herbert and he took Mahomes the distance and then some. Mahomes actually had to put together a second half comeback to beat the rookie. Herbert through his first 7 starts has shared the field with some legends. He’s faced Brees, Mahomes, Brady, and Teddy Bridgewater, who isn’t a scrub either. Not a bad way to learn on the fly.
Ryan FitzMagic wasn’t able to hold the job past week 6 in Miami. Poor guy even had the Dolphins on a mildly impressive 2 game winning streak. Flores had to make a tough decision by inserting Tua into the starting lineup following a bye. His timing was perfect. He put Tua in at the end of a 24-0 blowout win against the Jets and the next week was the Dolphins bye. He got him comfortable and more time to work with the 1st team and he’s 2-0. In terms of talent and being NFL-ready he checks all the boxes. He’s incredibly accurate, throws well on the run, but his confidence might be his best quality.
Before the draft the NFL Network projected the Dolphins would take Herbert while the Chargers would take Tua. These picks could have gone either way. Going into week 10, Herbert has to be the favorite for Rookie of the Year. Either way, both teams seem happy with their picks. If Herbert doesn’t win the award it will be the Chargers win-loss record. Herbert has won the NFL Pepsi Rookie of the Week award 6 times in the first 9 Weeks. With those awards he was clearly the NFL Rookie of the Month for October with plays like this below.
The first 3 QBs drafted in the 2020 draft are off to fast starts and have shown maturity beyond their years. Joe Burrow has looked like a number 1 overall pick with a few of those ‘rookie’ mental mistakes. He’s been the starter from day 1. Tua is 2-0 including wins against the Rams and Cardinals, two respectable teams. Great QB draft classes come in trios. 1983 you have John Elway, Jim Kelly, and Dan Marino. 2004 was Big Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, or Peyton’s little brother, and Philip Rivers. Herbert, Tua, and Burrow will forever be linked and are has good or better than advertised. In 10 years where will this QB class rank all-time?