The first few picks of the 2020 NFL Draft seemed predetermined.
The Cincinnati Bengals would take LSU quarterback Joe Burrow at No. 1, and the Miami Dolphins would either trade up to No. 2 to select Tua Tagovailoa or hope the Alabama QB fell to them at No. 5.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
But Tagovailoa to Miami apparently is far from a sure thing.
Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis
ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. wrote Tuesday there's "some buzz" around Oregon QB Justin Herbert going to the Dolphins. That's after a report surfaced last week that Miami could try to trade up to the No. 1 pick to take Burrow.
Why the Dolphins' apparent cold feet with Tagovailoa?
The 22-year-old insists he's fully recovered from a broken hip, but as Kiper points out, Miami's team doctors can't conduct their own in-person assessment on his health due to the coronavirus pandemic restricting travel.
That's where the Patriots come in. With 12 picks in this year's draft, including No. 23 overall, New England in theory could consider trading up to draft Tagovailoa, whose college coach, Nick Saban, has a strong connection to Bill Belichick.
The Boston Globe's Ben Volin resurfaced that idea Tuesday after initially floating it last week.
More buzz today, this time from ESPN's Mel Kiper, that the Dolphins May choose Herbert over Tua. I'm telling you, the opportunity for the Patriots to get Tua (and not have to give up the farm) is there— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) April 7, 2020
The Patriots drafting a QB isn't far-fetched; while our Tom E. Curran has reported they're confident in Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer as their QB duo in 2020, the Patriots still could draft a high-upside arm to compete with Stidham in training camp and potentially take the reins if the 23-year-old regresses.
But is Tagovailoa the right fit, and does New England have the draft capital to land him? Even if the Dolphins don't take Tua at No. 5, it's hard to see the QB-needy Los Angeles Chargers passing on him at No. 6.
The Patriots only have two picks in the top 90 (Nos. 23 and 87), so a jump up to No. 6 likely would require them to include a current player in the deal.
As recent history has shown, trading up in the first round to draft a QB can pay off in a big way. It's unclear whether Tagovailoa is worth the risk, but the option seemingly is there for New England.