Position: edge defender
Weight: 280 pounds
School: Villanova Wildcats
Tanoh Kpassagnon 2017 NFL Draft Profile
If there is a player that will go under people’s radars, it will be Tanoh Kpassagnon. Kpassagnon bloomed late, changing from tight end to defensive end by his junior year, and has gained the attention of NFL Scouts from every team. He was a three sport athlete in high school, and was even recruited by Villanova’s basketball program. Instead of going to camps during his junior and senior year of high school, Kpassagnon focused more on his high school club, Future Business Leaders of America. Kpassagnon accepted a scholarship to Villanova because of their business school which is one of the better business programs in the state.
Kpassagnon’s late bloom makes him very desirable to scouts wondering just how good he can be. He wasn’t on the radar for ESPN or 247sports‘ class of 2012. When smaller schools recruit like Villanova, they are not expecting NFL-level talent. With a combined 78 tackles, 17.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and two first team All-CAA honors, he certainly surpassed everyone’s expectations.
Villanova is not known for sending players to the NFL. NFL hall of famer Howie Long is a Villanova grad, but there are only two current Wildcats in the NFL, both being offensive players. This season, Andy Talley will send his last two players to the NFL, and both are defensive players. Under Talley, Villanova has sent three players to the NFL draft, and only one picked in the 2nd round. Kpassagnon will look to be the highest drafted player this year, and with a solid combine, may be able to do so.
- Explosive off the line-of-scrimmage.
- Aggressive at the point of contact.
- Large wingspan (69.5″).
- Excellent football I.Q.
- No off-the-field issues.
- Body frame could easily put on more weight.
- Handles double teams well.
- Likable personality, great for public relations.
- A lot of room for improvement
- Very little elite competition.
- Not much experience at the position.
- Large size does not always mean great talent.
- Awkward hand technique due to size.
- Not a strong run stopper.
NFL Comparison: Jason Pierre-Paul (without off-the-field issues)
Teams with a need at this position: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Washington Redskins
Projection: second round
With a lot of upside, and very fixable flaws, Kpassagnon could easily be one of the steals from this draft. He has the talent to be a top level defender in the NFL, but he will need more time to develop. His current body frame gives him room to gain more weight. He has shown that he is adaptable, gaining 50 pounds since the beginning of college five years ago and transitioning from a three-sport athlete, to a tight end, to a defensive end earning All-Conference honors.
The Kalamazoo native has developed a lot of potential in his time at Villanova, and if a team is willing to take the risk, it could pay off. In recent years, there have been more players taken based off of natural talent and potential. One common example from 2016 is Eli Apple. If a team drafts Kpassagnon that can help him develop more at his position, it could be a very good payoff.