2017 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Tanoh Kpassagnon
By Charlie Campbell
Summary: During training camp prior to the 2016 season, WalterFootball.com heard from sources that Villanova defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon was an under-the-radar prospect who teams viewed as being a second-day talent for the 2017 NFL Draft. As a junior, he totaled 33 tackles with 6.5 sacks, 9.5 tackles for a loss, two blocked kicks and a forced fumble while showing the physical talent to play professionally. Kpassagnon sported a unique skill set for the NFL with height, length, speed, and strength.
Kpassagnon recorded 45 tackles with 21.5 for a loss, 11 sacks, one forced fumble and a pass batted in 2016. At the Senior Bowl, he had a respectable week on the field and showed that his strength, speed and length make for a tough challenge for offensive linemen. However, Kpassagnon did illustrate that he is raw from a technique standpoint, and the lack of experience was also on display in the team meetings. Sources said that Kpassagnon is an intelligent young man and a hard worker, but still has a lot of football to learn.
As a run defender, Kpassagnon is tough at the point of attack. He is strong to hold his gap and can be tough to move at the point of attack. Kpassagnon is able to shed blocks and make tackles outside of gap. He is tough to set the edge and should be a quality end to take on right tackles in the NFL.
In the pass rush, Kpassagnon has a quick get-off with speed to close. He is faster than expected and often his speed catches offensive linemen by surprise. Kpassagnon is able to fight with his hands while pushing upfield and shows some versatility in moves with a rip move, bull rush and speed rush.
Kpassagnon needs a lot of development for the NFL. In part because of his height and muscular build, he is a stiff defender. Kpassagnon can't bend around the corner or sink his hips to get pointed to the quarterback. Running the hoops drills and trying to improve his agility would make him a much more dangerous defender. Kpassagnon still is raw in terms of his hand placement and his body control - he can play too high at times. Still, Kpassagnon has great length for the NFL with strength and speed. He has a lot of athletic upside and could develop into a tough pro with good coaching.
For the NFL, Kpassagnon has versatility. He has ideal length and strength to be a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense. In a 4-3 defense, he could be a base left defensive end who moves inside for passing situations. Kpassagnon also could play left defensive end on all of his snaps, but he probably won't ever be a player who produces big sack totals coming from end.
Sources say they expect Kpassagnon to be second-round pick, and he shouldn't fall out of Day 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Player Comparison: Devin Taylor. Sources from multiple teams independently compared Kpassagnon to Taylor, which makes a lot of sense. Taylor (6-7, 275) and Kpassagnon are nearly identical in size. Both have great length with some athleticism. Taylor may not be as stiff as Kpassagnon, but Kpassagnon could be faster and stronger at the point of attack. In the NFL, Kpassagnon could be a defender similar to Taylor.
NFL Matches: Oakland, New York Giants, Dallas, Atlanta, New England, New Orleans, Detroit, Washington, Cincinnati, Arizona, Seattle and Denver
There are a lot of potential fits for Kpassagnon on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft. The Raiders could use more edge help and an interior disruptor, and Kpassagnon could play on both the outside and inside of their four-man defensive line. The Giants could lose Jason Pierre-Paul and Johnathan Hankins this offseason. Kpassagnon could help New York on the inside and outside.
Dallas needs defensive end help, especially with the suspension issues of Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence. The Cowboys also could lose Terrell McClain in free agency. Kpassagnon could help them at tackle and end.
Kpassagnon could be a possibility for both of the 51st Super Bowl's participants. Atlanta needs an end across from Vic Beasley, and Kpassagnon could also help replace aging veteran Jonathan Babineaux on the inside of the line in passing situations. New England could use more defensive end talent. Chris Long was only a short-term signing, and the Patriots need more pass rush as they were led by Trey Flowers with only seven sacks in the 2016 regular season.
The Saints have to upgrade their defense and improve their pass defense. Kpassagnon could be a nice fit in the second round if New Orleans doesn't take a defensive lineman in Round 1.
The Lions could use defensive line help. Kpassagnon could give them an interior defender to pressure the quarterback in passing situations and serve as a base end on run downs across from Ziggy Ansah.
In the second round, Cincinnati could be a fit for Kpassagnon. The team had Margus Hunt entering free agency while Michael Johnson is a limited player. Kpassagnon could play end on run downs and rush inside with Geno Atkins in passing situations.
Kpassagnon could also be in play for the Cardinals if Calais Campbell isn't re-signed. Seattle could use an interior disruptor as well. The Seahawks have had problems with a lack of interior pass rush once injuries have hit their defense.
The Redskins want to get younger and more athletic up front. Kpassagnon would be able to play five-technique defensive end in a 3-4, 4-3 end or tackle for Washington.
Last offseason, Denver locked up Derek Wolfe, but lost Malik Jackson. Kpassagnon could be a fit for the Broncos on Day 2 if they want to beef up the defensive line.
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