2021 NFL Draft Prospects: Khyiris Tonga

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Photo Credits to BYU Cougars Athletic Department

Just when you thought there couldnt be another BYU draft prospect, here we are again! Today we are focusing on Khyiris Tonga the big Nose Tackle as a prospect for the 2021 NFL Draft. Tonga is a 6’4″ 321lbs, Senior who could have been drafted in the 2020 draft, but decided to come back for his final season at BYU. He is a big, athletic NT that really stands out when watching BYU play. The film I watched to scout Tonga was vs. Troy (2020), vs. LA Tech (2020), and vs. UTSA (2020).

Pros:

The first thing you will notice when watching Tonga play is his explosiveness off the snap of the ball. He is often the first one out of his stance which allows him to engage the OL and collapse the pocket from the middle quickly giving the QB no space to step up and move around. Tonga does a great job of using a powerful punch and getting the OL off balance which allows him to re-engage and use a bull rush to help him get to the ball carrier or QB. He often faces double teams, but rarely that will stop him from completing his task on the play. His great leg power and leverage also help make his bull rush more effective. When engaged with a blocker he does a great job at keeping his eyes in the backfield so he can see how the play is developing and getting his hands to inside positioning of the OL shoulders which allows him to shed the block easier. He also has the coordination to be able to swat down passes at the LOI, which is a plus for a man of his size and play style.

Cons:

Although Tonga is surprisingly athletic for a man his size, he will have issues when players are running to the outside or when he needs to chase players down field. He also needs to develop more pass rushing moves to keep the OL guessing, rather than just bull rushing majority of the plays. He could improve his motor as well, he tends to not chase ball carriers across the field or down field after the BC has passed the front 7. Flexibility could use work as well if he is going to continue as a athletic pass rushing NT. Being able to bend will come with the development of new pass rushing moves such as a rip and dip move. Quicker sheds on double teams could be worked on as well but he does a decent job at this for now.

Bottom Line:

Khyiris Tonga is a big, strong, athletic Nose Tackle that will be a great option for an aggressive 34 defense. He has a great bull rush that allows him to collapse the pocket and get into the face of the QB quickly, but he will need to develop more pass rush moves to be successful at the next level. He is super athletic for a NT which helps him as a pass rusher and his big frame is what helps him bring down ball carriers in the run game. He has the ability to defeat double teams, and take on triple teams which will open things up for his teammates to make plays. Overall, the team drafting Tonga is getting a big and athletic NT that will fill both sides of the A gap with ease and could develop into a stud playmaking plug in the middle of your defense. I have given him a grade of 6.1, which translates to a 3rd round draft pick.

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