Last week we covered Temple OT Dion Dawkins and how he could fill a void on the Eagles offensive line. This week, we tackle another understated hole for the Philadelphia Eagles, the pass rush. Currently, the Eagles defensive line have depth, but with uncertainty surrounding the futures of DE Connor Barwin (Contract), and DT Bennie Logan (Free-agency). It serves the Eagles best to look to the future.
Behind Logan, sits 3rd-year up and comer Beau Allen and UDFA Destiny Vaeao. Allen came on strong this year, and has showed signs of one day becoming a true starter. Vaeao also proved to be a positive option in a pinch, making the most of his reps.
This weeks sleeper profile is about a big man, with even bigger potential. Tanoh Kpassagnon, standing just under 6’7 and 290 LB’s, looks more like a Greek Statue than a defensive lineman. The senior star out of the University of Villanova has quietly notched a great career. An FCS All-American, he amassed 105 tackles, 22 sacks and 37.5 tackles for a loss while forcing and recovering 4 fumbles.
He carries his weight well and his athleticism gives an impression of an incredibly physical strong safety. Not considered an “Alpha Male” or a”Rah-Rah” guy, Kpassagnon makes up for it on the field, by leading with his play.
Running a 4.7 in the 40-yard dash, he has the perfect combination of size, speed and strength. Kpassagnon uses his hands correctly to keep Offensive linemen at bay and strikes suddenly at the point of attack. Head Coach (Retired) Andy Talley spoke briefly of the rising star, saying “He’s probably the greatest player, we’ve ever had” (in 32 years of coaching). Large praise from a man who’s mentored a bevy of talents, including Philadelphia Eagles great, Brian Westbrook.
Even with all of his physical traits, it’s his smarts that stick out the most. The son of a Chemical Scientist (Mother) and a Economist (Father), education has always been stressed to Tanoh, serving him on and off the field. A constant film studier, he is known for always being prepared.
These habits, along with his physical tools, have made him a favorite among NFL Scouts. With the speed to go around, run through and outsmart even the best of Tackles, its easy to see why.
Even with all the attention as of late for the young star, he has managed to stay grounded. Some scouts have mentioned his quiet demeanor as a weakness, saying he is too gentle of a giant. Others have a contrasting opinion, defending his ruthlessness on the field.
The biggest measuring stick for Kpassagnon will definitely be his time at the Senior Bowl. Being able to see him play against some of the best seniors in college football, will only help his stock. On day one of practice, he had quickly turned heads as he dominated some of the best Tackle prospects in the draft. Having the likes of Mike Mayock and Daniel Jerimiah singing his praises, calling him a “Freak” and a “specimen” amongst other DE was a strong start to the week.
With the uncertainty surrounding the Eagles pass rush in 2017, Kpassagnon is an intriguing prospect whom could not only fill a need, but boost a Defensive line littered with up and comers.
Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports