Lions' Matt Patricia says Tua Tagovailoa has 'dynamic playmaking ability'

John Niyo
The Detroit News

Indianapolis -- The waiting game with Tua Tagovailoa won’t be over anytime soon.

The former Alabama quarterback remains one of the most intriguing players in this year’s NFL Draft, but also one of the big mysteries with two months left until teams are on the clock, including the Lions with the No. 3 overall pick.

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa speaks during a press conference at the NFL scouting combine on Tuesday.

Tagovailoa, who suffered a fractured and dislocated hip in November, said Tuesday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis he’s awaiting a March 9 checkup to receive full medical clearance. And while he won’t participate in any drills on the field here at Lucas Oil Stadium later this week -- and likely won't at Alabama’s pro day on March 24, either -- he’s planning to hold his own pro day April 9, two weeks before the draft, to show teams he’s healthy.

"After March 9, when I get clearance from my doctors, then it's full-go up until my pro day,” Tagovailoa said. “I'll be ready to go."

In the meantime, he said he understands his medical file is under a microscope. Tagovailoa, whose college career also included surgeries on both ankles and a fractured finger on his throwing hand, was scheduled for individual physicals with all 32 teams Tuesday, but spent Monday going through a series of imaging tests at the combine.

“It’s been a process, now,” Tagovailoa said, laughing. “We went to the hospital at 10 a.m. yesterday and I was the last person to leave. I was back about 7:49 p.m., right in time for the formal and informal interviews.”

One of those interviews was with Cincinnati, which owns the No. 1 overall pick. And if his medicals check out, Tagovailoa is widely viewed as a top-five or top-10 pick.

The Lions reiterated Tuesday their plan for 2020 and beyond revolves around Matthew Stafford as their starting quarterback. And coach Matt Patricia declined to wade into any detailed evaluations of Tagovailoa, a player that ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. currently has mocked to them with the No. 3 pick.

“But I know this: He’s an extremely competitive guy, he plays hard, his teammates love to play for him,” Patricia said of the 6-foot, 217-pound quarterback. “He can make a lot of great things happen on the field, like a lot of the guys in the draft this year. Certainly athletic, explosive, dynamic playmaking ability.”

The Miami Dolphins, who currently hold the No. 5 overall pick, are among several teams that might have an interest in moving up in the draft to select Tagovailoa. But Dolphins general manager Chris Grier told reporters Tuesday he hasn’t had any conversations yet with other teams about that possibility.

“No, not yet, because we’re so early,” Grier said. “No team has really met many of these guys yet. So I think until everyone goes through the process … that’s when we’ll make determinations on what’s best for our franchise.”