Getting Tua Tagovailoa more weapons was a top priority for the Miami Dolphins this offseason. That desire came to fruition on Thursday during the first round of the NFL Draft, as the franchise selected Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle with the sixth overall pick.
Tagovailoa and Waddle were teammates at Alabama during the 2018 and 2019 college football seasons. In those two seasons combined, Waddle caught 78 passes for 1,408 yards and 13 touchdowns. Waddle was a true freshman when Tagovailoa emerged as the Crimson Tide’s starting quarterback in 2018, as the Ewa Beach native and Saint Louis alum threw 43 touchdowns for 3,966 yards on his way to becoming the Heisman Trophy runner-up.
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Both Tagovailoa and Waddle had shortened junior seasons due to injuries before declaring for the NFL Draft, although Waddle played briefly in the 2021 National Championship Game.
Despite no NFL Combine in 2021 due to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, Waddle was still considered among scouts as the fastest player in his draft class, which seemed appeal to Miami enough to make him the pick at 6. Tagovailoa himself appeared to be a big fan of the pick.
Other first-round selections with distant Hawaii ties include BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, whose father, Mike, is a 1992 McKinley graduate.
Zach Wilson was the co-MVP of the 2019 Hawaii Bowl in a 38-34 loss to Hawaii. where he completed 24 of 40 passes for 274 yards and threw two interceptions to UH linebacker Khoury Bethley.
Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell, the 2019 Polynesian College Football Co-Player of the year along with Tagovailoa, was selected seventh overall by the Detroit Lions.
Full Round 1 results can be seen here. Rounds 2 and 3 of the NFL Draft will begin at 1 p.m. HST on Friday.