Trent Dilfer knows a thing or two about quarterbacks. After all, he played 14 seasons in the NFL and even won Super Bowl XXXV as the starting quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens. Dilfer has been around the game his entire life, so when it comes to talking about future prospects, his opinion certainly matters.
For many years, Dilfer helped run the Elite 11 program, which is the nation’s premier quarterback competition for top high school prospects. The 47-year-old has even seen many of today’s young NFL stars before the rest of the country even knew their name. But when it comes to the best, only one stands above the rest: Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
On The Rich Eisen Show Dilfer was asked where he would rank Tagovailoa in the last two NFL Draft classes. His answer was quick and simple.
“No. 1,” he said. “He’s the finest prospect I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Baker Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick last year? Nope. Forget first-round picks Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson, too. Oh, and while you’re at it, throw away Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Kyler Murray, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, Missouri’s Drew Lock, and everyone else.
When it comes to the best quarterback prospect, Dilfer, who was recently named the head football coach at Lipscomb Academy in Nashville, Tennessee after a successful run at ESPN, has no doubt in his mind that Tua Tagovailoa is the best and gave him some ridiculously high praise.
“No. 1. He’s the finest prospect I’ve ever seen in my life. I was with Aaron Rodgers when he was in college, threw with him in the offseason. Not even close to Tua at that stage in their careers. Now Aaron has progressed rapidly when he got into the NFL.
“I’ve never seen, besides Dan Marino and Aaron Rodgers to this day, throw a ball better than Tua. He checks all of the other intangible boxes. He’s got a thick body, thick joints. He needs to learn to play on timing better. He does have the Superman complex where he thinks he can make a Superman play out of every play like Cam Newton. I think that can be trained out of him. I know we trained it out of him in one summer.
If I was an NFL GM or if I was a head coach in the NFL, I’d be begging on my knees for my management to draft Tua and find a way to draft him…He’s a one-percenter. He’s a one-percenter human being, talent, leader, anything you want to say, he’s a one-percenter.”
— Former NFL Quarterback Trent Dilfer
For whatever reason, Dilfer, the former No. 6 overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft who played for five NFL teams — the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers — compares these quarterbacks as ice cream. They are all good, but Tagovailoa, the 6-foot-1, 220-pounder from Honolulu, Hawaii is the best flavor of all.
In plainest terms, Alabama football and head coach Nick Saban are in good shape with No. 13 under center.
Sure, the last impression we have of Tagovailoa might be his worst game of his entire college career. The Alabama quarterback completed just 22 of 34 passes for 295 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game against the Clemson Tigers.
However, when you look at his talent level right now, Dilfer doesn’t think there’s another NCAA quarterback in the country that compares to the guy fans in Tuscaloosa, Alabama see dominate the SEC on college football Saturdays.