TCU defensive end Stansly Maponga turned in a quiet 2012 season with only 6.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. In 2011, Maponga recorded 13.5 tackles for loss and 9.0 sacks.
Maponga is an athletic defensive end who can get to the passer. A big reason for his drop in 2012 production was that he was double-teamed quite a bit. Freshman defensive end Devonte Fields benefitted from that, racking up 18.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.
As a pass-rusher, Maponga is quick off of the snap and displays a wide repertoire of moves. He relies on his speed rush, but he throws a really good spin move off of that—one of the best I’ve seen this year. Maponga is flexible and athletic enough to easily skirt his way around single blocks.
In the running game, Maponga is stouter than his 6-2, 256-pound frame suggests. He uses really good leverage to hold his ground, although he has some trouble disengaging from blocks. The biggest concern for Maponga right now, hands down, is his height. The most predictive trait for success at the defensive end position in the NFL is height. At 6-2, Maponga could have real trouble fending off blocks as a professional.
The good news is that Maponga’s arms are 34 1/8 inches—slightly longer than average for his size. In comparison, Bjoern Werner—a potential top 10 pick—has arms that are a full inch shorter than Maponga’s.
NFL Comparison: Darryl Tapp
Another shorter-than-ideal pass-rusher, Tapp is a bit thicker than Maponga at 270 pounds. Ultimately, I think Maponga has Tapp-like potential as a five-to-seven type of guy.
Maponga could go anywhere from the third round to the seventh. The opinions on Maponga are mixed because, although he was productive for a time at TCU, he also has some bad tape and he doesn’t have elite measurables (just a 4.83 40-yard dash to go with his 6-2 height). I think Maponga is a fourth-round talent, so he could offer value in the late rounds.
Fit In Dallas
Maponga would be a project for the ‘Boys—a cheap insurance policy for Anthony Spencer’s potential departure in a year. I think the Cowboys would be smart to look at pass-rushers in 2013; remember, it won’t be too long before they need to replace the guy opposite Spencer as well. They might be well-served gambling on a pass-rusher with elite length, however, if they’re seeking upside in the late portions of the draft.
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Jonathan Bales is the founder of The DC Times. He writes for DallasCowboys.com and the New York Times. He's also the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.