Before a hip injury ended his final season at Alabama, Tua Tagovailoa also dealt with wrist and ankle injuries, leading some NFL executives to question his durability. Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

One former NFL coach, Rex Ryan, says Tua Tagovailoa didn’t have three surgeries as widely reported. The Alabama quarterback actually had five surgeries in his college career.

“Do you pass on him?” Ryan asked on ESPN. “I tell you what, if I only have one first-round pick, it’s too risky.”

Another former NFL executive, Mike Lombardi, detailed the litany of Tua’s broken anatomy.

“It’s not just his hip,” Lombardi said on his “GM Shuffle” podcast. “It’s his ankle. It’s his wrist. He broke his wrist the first day of spring ball one year. … He’s brittle. He is brittle. You can’t deny it.”

There’s a growing chorus with tentacles inside NFL front offices that has hung a blinking, buyer-beware sign on Tagovailoa.

“It would be irresponsible to take him in the top 10,” said Mike Tannenbaum, the former director of football operations for the Miami Dolphins.

“No way, no how,” said one of three former NFL general managers I talked with who said they wouldn’t take Tagovailoa with that fifth pick.

Normally, the closer you get to the NFL draft the less you believe. But when this many credible people line up with similar stories about Tagovailoa’s medical issues, the easiest explanation is there’s a big problem here.

If this is all true, it’s either a discounted opportunity or the Hail Mary of draft picks. You decide. But the risk of drafting him has accelerated into a gamble the Dolphins can’t comfortably rest the future of their franchise on. Not with the fifth overall pick.

Crossing your fingers every Sunday isn’t a strategy to build a franchise around. Again, if these reports about his broken body are true – and, again, there’s an assembling chorus with overlapping information –i t’s time to scratch Tagovailoa’s name off the Dolphins’ list.

We don’t fully know who General Manager Chris Grier is planning on building the Dolphins around, but he hasn’t been a gambler at drafting quarterbacks. He didn’t chase Josh Allen like he could have and like Buffalo did in 2017. He didn’t want Lamar Jackson even on the cheap in 2018. Each came with obvious warts.

So it would seem out of character for Grier to roll the dice on something as fundamental as these health issues with Tagovailoa. It would be out of his school, too. Grier grew up in the Bill Parcells school. One of Parcells’ tenets was to have a quarterback durable enough to expect him to start 14 games.

Could Tagovailoa be that guy, considering his medical chart?

Players who get hurt repeatedly in college usually don’t get healthier in the NFL. Maybe Tua becomes the exception. But do you bet the future of the franchise on that?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how class an act he is. It doesn’t matter how he embodies so much you want in a quarterback. Nor does it matter the pictures of his Dolphins uniform he puts on social media, the way Alabama Coach Nick Saban frames Tagovailoa’s talent, or the slick way Team Tua is marketing him.

If you’re not sure he can stay on the field, you can’t take him with the fifth pick. With the 26th? In the second round? Maybe. But the idea is the Dolphins will have bet on their quarterback by then. It gives added impetus to the idea of trading up for Cincinnati’s No. 1 pick and taking Joe Burrow.

There really are two fears if you’re a Dolphins fan. The first is the obvious medical question of Tua if you take him. The second? What if you don’t take him, and he haunts you for years like Drew Brees? What if he beats the medical odds and plays healthy in, say, New England for two decades?

“He’s a really good player,” Lombardi said of Tagovailoa. “I’m not disputing the evaluation. I’m saying that, if you’re picking a quarterback, it’s really hard to pick a good one.

“It’s even harder with a guy who can’t stay healthy. That’s my point. Two teams I’ve talked to have flunked him. They flunked him on not just the hip, but on the multitude of injuries. The risk far outweighs the reward.”

Said Ryan: “I think this is the biggest gamble in the history of the NFL draft.”

Of course, a minute later, Ryan said, “If I have multiple picks like the Dolphins do, they can probably take that gamble and they probably will.”

No, they won’t. At least they shouldn’t if this is all true. Unfortunately, the “Tank for Tua” idea last September looks like “Pass on Tua” in April.

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