Orlovsky on why he would take Chase over Pitts, plus did Dolphins mess up by trading out?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Adam H. Beasley
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Tua Tagovailoa has no more passionate defender in the national media than ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky.

Last month, Orlovsky unleashed an epic on-air rant in defense of Tagovailoa, and then reiterated that conviction on “NFL Live” recently:

“I still believe Tua is going to be a very special player because he can do the two things that are always going to be the most important aspect of playing the quarterback position: Can you think and can you throw? He does that really well.”

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

So when ESPN made Orlovsky available to NFL reporters on a national conference call Tuesday, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to dive a bit deeper.

Our question to the ex-NFL quarterback, who retired in 2017 after a 12-year career:

If you were able to have your pick of any of the NFL Draft’s top pass-catchers — the list is Florida’s Kyle Pitts, LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase and Alabama’s talented receivers (DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle) — who would you pair with Tagovailoa? And did the Dolphins err in trading down from No. 3, where they would have had their choice of any non-quarterback?

Orlovsky’s response:

“I would take Ja’Marr Chase. I think they’re happy with Ja’Marr Chase or Kyle Pitts. I think they’re both very close.”

Why Chase over Pitts?

“You could put Ja’Marr Chase out by himself — and there’s not a lot of guys in the NFL that you can do this with, maybe a handful of them — as the solo receiver, the X receiver, and just say, ‘Line up and beat that guy. Win. You’ve got an 18-yard comeback? Win. You have a 20-yard in-route? Win. We’re going to take a go shot. Win.’ And that’s a very unique trait.”

Orlovsky continued: “There are a lot of really good receivers in the NFL that you have to motion them down to help them get off of press coverage. You have to stack them to help some of the releases. You have to get them into a bunch set so guys don’t get hands on them. He’s not one of those guys. I’ve said Ja’Marr reminds me of Larry Fitzgerald when it comes to body control, the high-pointing of the football. But just the ability to say, ‘Go out there and win like a Stefon Diggs or a DeAndre Hopkins or a Julio [Jones],’ is Ja’Marr Chase.”

That’s not to say Orlovsky isn’t a huge Pitts fan. He believes Pitts was college football’s second-best player behind Trevor Lawrence in 2020.

“Everyone knows he’s a matchup nightmare. But he’s such an information-giver to your offense as well. You can move him around like the Chiefs do with Travis Kelce, like the Raiders do with Darren Waller, the Eagles have done with Zach Ertz, the Patriots did with [Rob Gronkowski] many years ago. Coverage indication — is it man or is it zone? Is it Cover 2 or Cover 3? Are they going to play two high safeties or one high safety? That’s such a big deal.”

Orlovsky seemed to agree with the NFL consensus that there’s a drop-off from Pitts and Chase to the rest of the class. But he does have a high opinion of Smith, saying “he’s got the best get-open ability out of the receiver group that’s left with his suddenness and route-running and the way he drops his hips.”

As for the broader question — did Dolphins general manager Chris Grier outthink himself by moving from No. 3 to No. 6?

Orlovsky doesn’t believe so:

“I think the Dolphins, while they don’t guarantee themselves either of those guys, they probably have a pretty good feel that one of the two [Chase or Pitts] are going to be there and feel really good about the selection. .... I think Miami, with Tua, would feel good with either Ja’Marr or Kyle.”