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Andy Hodges

Burrow will be first pick in tonight’s NFL draft, but Chizik likes Tua

SEC Network analyst Gene Chizik on The Morning Rush on ESPN Arkansas Thursday that LSU’s Joe Burrow will be the first quarterback taken, but likes Tua Tagavola.



There’s not a lot of drama in the NFL’s annual cattle auction tonight of who will be the first pick and quarterback taken, but the second quarterback off the board is drawing interest.

“I’ve had five first-round draft pick quarterbacks on my teams through the years,” SEC Network analyst and former Auburn coach Gene Chizik told Tye Richardson and Tommy Craft (The Morning Rush) on ESPN Arkansas Thursday morning. “Joe Burrow is as impressive as any of them.”

But he does have this feeling that Alabama’s Tua Tagavola would be his choice next ahead of Oregon’s Justin Herbert.

“Tua’s not far behind him,” Chizik said. “Joe’s got the size, the arm, the acumen, the IQ … all of those things. Who’s going to be the better one down the road I just don’t know. If Tua is healthy it’s going to be hard for anybody in this class to have a pro career like he is.”

Unless there is a stunning change Cincinnati will take Ohio native Burrow with the first pick overall. After that things get a little interesting with both Miami at No. 5 and San Diego right behind them looking for a franchise quarterback.

“It would be hard for me with Miami at No. 5 to pass him up. He’s a game-changer. His arm strength, his accuracy, his ability to make quick decisions. He can make things happen when nothing’s there. He throws receivers open. Obviously the health issue is going to be the biggest question mark for him.”

Chizik, who still lives in Auburn, has seen Tagavola and is impressed with one of those intangibles you hear coaches talk about all time.

“Tua’s got the ‘it’ factor,” he said. “Everybody on that football team will follow him like a pied piper. Provided he stays healthy.”

You can listen to ESPN’s coverage of the NFL Draft tonight at ESPN Arkansas 95.3, 96.3, 104.3 and online at


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