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2017 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova

Kpassagnon captures the imagination stepping off the bus, but is he destined to be a Giant?

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-South Practice Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants played Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul A LOT. Vernon played by far the most snaps of any defensive end in the league last year, and before he was injured, JPP played an even higher percentage. While it’s good that the Giants have a pair of well-rounded and talented ends they can rely on when the game is on the line, they need rest so they don’t get worn down.

Behind them the Giants have Kerry Wynn, who is a known quantity as a high-effort run stopper, but little else, Owamagbe Odighizuwa -- whose status is currently a mystery -- and Romeo Okwara, who flashed potential against the now-retired Doug Free but was unable to sustain that play.

If the Giants want to add competition and a potential 3rd defensive end on whom they can rely on to take some of the load off his is a tremendous and tremendously deep defensive end and edge rusher draft class. The Giants have other needs on the offensive side of the ball, so they might decide to wait until later in the draft to add a developmental defensive end. In that range, Villanova’s Tano Kpassagnon has an undeniable physical presence and an intriguing blend of size, length, and power.

But is he a fit for the Giants?



  • Incredible physical specimen. Tall, with long arms, broad shoulders, a powerful build.
  • Has a good first step, and can be on tackles before they’re ready.
  • Power at the point of attack. He can control blockers and walk them back on a bulrush.
  • Reportedly a very intelligent young man with high character


  • Lacks flexibility and agility. Struggles to bend around the edge or change directions quickly.
  • Doesn’t quite know what to do yet with his physical tools.
  • Technique is lacking at this point in his development.
  • Lets offensive tackles latch onto his chest and can struggle to disengage.

Does He Fit With The Giants?

Standing on the sidelines, Kpassagnon looks made-to-order for the New York Giants. Tall, long, powerful, and with a good first step, he just looks like a Giants’ defensive end.

However, I’m not sure that he is a natural fit in the Giants’ defense. While he might look like Jason Pierre-Paul or Ziggy Ansah, he doesn’t have the same flexibility and bend that those players have. With his stiff ankles and hips, he struggles to harness his power and explosiveness, and is an awkward fit as a 7-technique in the Giants’ 4-3 defense.

He does show the ability to get in the backfield from the wide-9 technique, but that alignment creates natural running lanes -- a pretty big liability in the NFC East.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - 100th overall

CBS Sports - 124th overall

Draft Countdown - 113th overall

Draft Tek - 90th overall

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to see why people are attracted to Tanoh Kpassagnon. By all accounts he is a tremendous young man and he looks like everything you could ask for in a defensive end. However he has some physical limitations that might limit the number of teams for whom he could have an impact.

While his length, power, and explosiveness are certainly desirable, he’s held back by lower-body stiffness. Like a car with a supercharged V-8 and a bad suspension, he sometimes struggles to put the power to the ground and get really use his ability to its fullest potential. That isn’t to say that he can’t improve his flexibility -- it’s certainly possible, but not easy nor comfortable. But even so, his impressive frame will make it difficult to consistently play with a low pad level and really sink his hips and “run the hoop”

All of that means he might be best fit as a defensive end in a 1-gap 3-4 front, kicking out to a wide-9 in a 4-man front in nickel situations.