By Michael Donovan

If you’re not a Villanova fan, check out why this DE is getting a lot of NFL attention:

Tanoh Kpassagnon

Position fit: Defensive end in 3-4 or 4-3

Stats to know: Produced a sack, two hits, and a hurry in 18 pass-rushing snaps at the Senior Bowl.

What he does best:

  • Freak of nature athletically. Explosiveness off the line of scrimmage that is nearly unheard of for a player 6-foot-7, 289 pounds.
  • Sculpted how you’d build a 3-4 defensive end. Ridiculously long arms (35 5/8 inches) and large hands (10 5/8 inches) with barely an ounce of fat on his frame.
  • Surprisingly flexible for his size. Can play at an angle through the edge of an offensive tackle.
  • Owns a fairly impressive rip move. If more developed it could be devastating with his size/athleticism combo.
  • Outstanding showing in 1-on-1 drills at Senior Bowl practice, one of the highest-graded pass-rushers in 1-on-1s.

Biggest concern:

  • Level of competition is always a concern coming from FCS to NFL. Didn’t have to refine his skill set to manhandle inferior tackles.
  • Stands straight up at the snap far too often. Immediately gives away any leverage and length advantage he could have.
  • Playing high also leads to balance issues and problems separating off blocks.
  • Reacting to plays more than he’s reading.

Player comparison: Margus Hunt, Indianapolis Colts

Hunt was raw as can be coming out of SMU and the same can be said for Kpassagnon. Both have massive frames with physical traits that you can’t teach, but neither are natural football players. Kpassagnon is further along as a pass-rusher though and could contribute there right away.

Bottom line: Kpassagnon is a ways away from being an every-down NFL player at this point. Watching him waste his natural length and explosiveness with timid play is incredibly frustrating at times. A mindset of physicality will have to be coached into him at the next level. If Kpassagnon can get to that point, he can be an every-down starter in the NFL.

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