Redskins to meet with Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow

Chris Lingebach
February 26, 2020 - 5:04 pm
Redskins to meet with Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Redskins will meet with Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow, the top quarterbacks in the upcoming draft, Ron Rivera confirmed on Wednesday.

The Redskins coach added an important qualifier, too, telling reporters meeting with Tagovailoa is not just be a matter of due diligence: "No. Talking to Tua is you talk to Tua, which I've had an opportunity to."

The Redskins drafted a first-round quarterback in 2019, selecting Dwayne Haskins 15th overall. But Burrow and Tagovailoa are largely considered to be the best quarterback prospects to come out of college in years, so there could be temptation there to upgrade at the position immediately, effectively what the Cardinals did in last year's draft in selecting Kyler Murray first overall, one year after drafting Josh Rosen 10th overall.

While no one knows what the Redskins are planning to do until draft day on April 23, Rivera emphasized the Redskins can't be sure at this point, either. 

"Before we do anything with the number two pick, we've got to see what happens with the number one pick," Rivera said. "So once that pick goes on, then we'll go from there."

"Everything's an option," he added. "As far as in talking with (VP, Player Personnel) Kyle (Smith), we've talked a couple times already, what situations could potentially be, but the truth is, we gotta see what happens in front of us."

Burrow is riding the wave of a national championship into the NFL, a coronation that followed a senior season in which Burrow passed for 5,671 yards, and 60 touchdowns to just six interceptions for the LSU Tigers. Burrow also won the Heisman Trophy for his immaculate 2019 season.

A former Heisman finalist and national champion, Tagovailoa brings his own sterling resume into the draft. It's his health that has scouts concerned, after suffering a dislocated hip in November that sidelined him for the rest of the season. He also suffered an ankle injury that caused him to miss a game earlier in Alabama's season, and another ankle injury that he played through in 2018.

On Tuesday, Tagovailoa was given a clean bill of health from physical exams conducted by teams independently of each other, alleviating concerns that he could bring lingering damage into his rookie NFL season.

In the meantime, Rivera says Haskins continues to do all the right things, being a mainstay around Redskins Park and getting his work in.

"I think one of the things that Dwayne's done is he's been around," Rivera said. "He's in the building. He'll pop by, say hello and wave at you and go get his workout in. He's been around a group of guys that do that, and so he's learning from their example. And one of the things that he and I talked about specifically is that he just continues to grow as a young man and as a person."

Rivera expounded on these thoughts after his podium session.

The transcript comes by way of JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington.

"Everything is an option. We're not closing the door on anything. One of the things that Kyle (Smith) and I talked about is that we have to go through this process because you don't know what's going to happen in front of you and we don't know what's going to happen with you.

"So we're going to go through and Tua is one of the guys that were bringing in, just so everybody knows. Were bringing in (Joe) Burrow and were bringing in Tua. And we will see both of their workouts. That's just the way it is. You just don't know, so we're going to prepare and we're going to get ourselves ready.

"We're going to obviously look at some of the other players, we're going to look at Chase (Young). We're going to look at the corners, we're going to look at everybody."

Rivera added of Haskins:

"The more we break down, the more we learn about him, I think it puts us in a pretty good spot. I am excited about him. One thing that I have seen is his commitment. He's been around a lot. When I make my rounds during the day and I'll walk by the weight room, there he is. I walk by the locker room, there he is. That to me is a sign of a young man that is learning he needs to be around."

The Redskins are in a position they may not be in again for some time, holding the second overall pick with a new head coach empowered to go in any direction he pleases. Thinking clearly and evaluating every possible step, even those the fanbase may not be keen on, is the right tact for Rivera to take.

Rivera very well may be comfortable with Haskins as his quarterback. But publicly acknowledging he's not yet certain goes a long way in helping establish that culture Redskins fans were so happy to hear Rivera would be developing, a culture presumably with accountability and competition as its bedrock. That old football cliche 'no one's job is safe' fits nicely here.

The rest will be figured out with time and the appropriate dash of 'due diligence.'