Round 6 & 7: Tanoh Kpassagnon, DT, Villanova and Tanzel Smart, DT, Tulane
They are known as the championship rounds in boxing, but in the NFL, if you can find a talent in the sixth and seventh rounds of the draft, you’ve done excellent scouting. It seems more frequent, that talent with high ceilings seem to slip through the cracks and either is selected in these late rounds or are signed as free agents.
Villanova is predominately known as a basketball school, having won the 2016 NCAA Tournament in memory making fashion. Though the football team also has National Championships to its credit, it lacks the notoriety of the basketball squad. One player in this year’s draft hopes to change that, and follow the path laid by retired star running back, Brian Westbrook.
Tanoh Kpassagnon has impressive size at 6’7”, 280 pounds. That coupled with his gigantic wingspan and large hands contributed to the ability to wrap up running backs for an outrageous 21 tackles for a loss. Kpassagnon is a project at defensive tackle, but with that size, could be a special teams member from day one in the NFL. Based on his production in the FCS, worth the flier, because he has shown an immense ability to learn.
Another player the New York Jets could take a flier on is Tulane’s Tanzel Smart. Smart lacks the measurables to push him into the higher rounds, but his love of the game makes him a fun player to watch. That type of love and effort gets players noticed, and like Kpassagnon can garner a spot on special teams and as a backup. In today’s NFL, depth helps win championships, just look north to New England.