For the third time this season and the second time in as many games, the Las Vegas Raiders’ defense is preparing to face a top-six draft pick rookie quarterback.
If the first two meetings are any indication, the Raiders are facing a big challenge on Saturday night when they host quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins.
Tagovailoa — who was a college teammate of young Raiders offensive weapons running back Josh Jacobs and wide receiver Henry Ruggs III at Alabama — was the No. 5 overall draft pick in April. The Los Angeles Chargers drafted Oregon’s Justin Herbert at No. 6. Herbert had big success in two games against the Raiders this season as the two teams split the season series, most recently leading the Chargers to a road win over the Raiders in Week 15.
Now, the Raiders take on Tagovailoa, who has started Miami’s past seven games. The rookie has been up-and-down, but he has flashed with his arm and his legs in his first season. Raiders coach Jon Gruden said it will be a challenge to face Tagovailoa.
“He’s a top-5 pick in the league. He’s a very talented, calm, cool, accurate, quick-arm passer He’s tough, man,” Gruden said. “He’s tough. He’s got surprising mobility. I don’t think people realize he can keep the ball on his own where he can do some damage.”
Kick-off for the Raiders vs. Dolphins game is 5.15 p.m. PT and it airs on the NFL Network.