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Scouting the NFL Draft: Villanova EDGE Tanoh Kpassagnon

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    Scouting the NFL Draft: Villanova EDGE Tanoh Kpassagnon
    Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
    Villanova Wildcats defensive lineman Tanoh Kpassagnon rushes the pocket against the Albany Great Danes. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Tanoh Kpassagnon, EDGE, Villanova
    Ht. 6'7", Wt. 289, Arm: 35⅝", Hand: 10⅝", Bench: 23
    40 yd: 4.83, 10 yd.: 1.69, 3 Cone: 7.46, Vertical: 30", Broad: 10'8"

    What if I told you the Cowboys could draft the next Leon Lett. Would you take that?

    Lett was 6'6" 290 pounds and drafted in the seventh round out of Emporia State. He went on to make two Pro Bowls and won three Super Bowls with the NFL's Team of the 90s.

    The next Lett may be 6'7" 289-pound Villanova defensive end Tanoh — pronounced  (tawn-o pass-N-yo) — Kpassagnon.

    "His body is beautiful. You couldn't draw one up to look any better," an NFL scout remarked. "He was a 'wow' guy at Senior Bowl weigh-ins."

    Kpassagnon didn't start playing football until his junior year of high school. He redshirted at FCS Villanova and became the 2016 Colonial Athletic Association's Defensive Player of the Year with 11 sacks and 21 tackles for loss. He was also a senior captain for the Wildcats and earned a Senior Bowl invitation.

    Strengths (per former NFL Scout Chris Landry)
    • Looks the part with NFL length and framework that can be developed
    • Has worked hard in the weight room to get stronger, adding nearly 70 pounds since his senior year in high school
    • Has flexible joints to bend and generate push when he stays low
    • Uses long arms to extend into blockers and put them on skates - also blocked a kick in 2016
    • Able to better use his hands and build momentum when he has a runway lined up outside the offensive tackle
    • Initial quickness to attack gaps with the long strides to eat up grass in a hurry
    • Hustler and continues to work through the whistle
    • Committed on the field and off and enrolled at Villanova due to the business school - graduated with a degree in finance (May 2016) and named Academic All-CAA three times
    • Voted a senior captain and well-respected by everyone in the program with his coachable, gentle giant identity (former Villanova head coach Andy Talley: "He'll do whatever you ask…probably the greatest player we've ever had.")
    • Highly productive with 37.5 tackles for loss and 22.0 sacks over 24 starts.

    Weaknesses (per Landry and draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki)
    • Not a natural killer and needs to play with more of a mean streak - quiet demeanor
    • Lack of build leads to durability concerns - missed eight games as a sophomore due to a torn MCL in his right knee (Sept. 2014)
    • Experience is against FCS-level talent - underwhelming tape in his two starts vs. FBS opponents (at Pittsburgh, at Connecticut)
    • Too leggy, tight-hipped and rigid in his movement
    • Plays too narrow with limited body power and will struggle to anchor against NFL blockers
    • Not a strong drive-through tackler
    • Instincts are still developing
    • Production was racked up against ordinary competition
    • Recorded a 7.49 second 3-cone drill time indicative of limited lateral agility and change of direction

    NFL Draft comparison:
    Jason Pierre-Paul.

    Verdict: Third to fourth round

    Kpassagnon is a project player. Known as a "try hard" guy, he may be the type of player defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli falls in love with because of his makeup. He's a smart and coachable player and graduated with degrees in financing and accounting.