Updated Jan. 23, 2020
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
With all the general managers, coaches and scouts in attendance for the Senior Bowl, there is a lot of chatter going around. Here are some of the highlights from around the league from the fourth day of the 2020 Senior Bowl week.
For a lot of the 2020 NFL Draft process, there have been connections of the Miami Dolphins and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins have done a fire sale to acquire a boatload of picks to build around a young franchise quarterback, and they could be in position to land Tagovailoa with their selection at fifth-overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross traveled twice last fall to watch Tagovailoa in person, a rare occurrence for a team owner. In speaking to sources with the Miami organization, it sounds like Tagovailoa going to Miami with that pick is a near lock. The organization is behind him, and he has been the plan for a long time.
Of course, a lot could change in the leadup to the 2020 NFL Draft, and Tagovailoa will have some critical medical exams in the months to come. If those go poorly, that might cause a change of thinking for Miami's front office. Also another team could trade up ahead of the Dolphins to take Tagovailoa because there are three teams picking ahead of them that could want to move down. Thus, the Dolphins will do their due diligence on Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert as a potential Plan B. Right now, howver, sources with Miami say Tagovailoa going to the Dolphins with the fourth pick could be as close to a lock as there is at this early point in the draft process.
After the fifth pick, the Dolphins' next selection is at 18th overall, and it sounds like they want an offensive tackle at that pick from speaking sources with the team. Alabama's Jedrick Wills is the top target if he gets there. The Dolphins love Wills, and they badly need to improve their edge blocking after trading away Laremy Tunsil. They paid close attention to Wills while traveling to watch Tagovailoa. Wills could be off the board by No. 18, so other options Miami could consider include Georgia's Andrew Thomas, Iowa's Tristan Wirfs and Louisville's Mekhi Becton. Thomas and Becton will probably be long gone by that point given the number of potential landing spots for these tackles. In their highest hopes, it sounds like the Dolphins will follow up on Tagovailoa by taking his blind-side protector from Alabama.
There has been a lot of media speculation about the Chargers drafting Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Veteran franchise quarterback Philip Rivers is entering free agency and could decide to sign with another team. Los Angeles also might re-sign Rivers. In speaking to sources with the team, they acknowledge he could be on the decline, but they also feel the circumstances around him last season didn't do him any favors with injuries to the offensive line, Melvin Gordon holding out, and being forced to play some youth at receiver. Sources say even if Rivers is re-signed, Herbert could be in play for the Chargers because they could have Herbert sit behind Rivers for a year or two and develop him while Rivers closes out his career. The idea of trading down and taking Herbert was intriguing to Chargers sources, but they know that may not be realistic as Herbert could be a riser through his Senior Bowl performance and pre-draft workouts from showing off his high first-round skill set. The Chargers and Herbert are a potential match to keep an eye on through free agency and into the spring.
This isn't coming from sources with the Redskins, but staff at other teams believe one of the first orders of business for new head coach Ron Rivera will be to sign guard Brandon Scherff to an extension. After dealing with an inconsistent offensive line in his final season in Carolina, many believe Rivera will push Washington to getting Scherff done and back in the fold.