Raiders 2017 NFL Draft Prospect: DE Tanoh Kpassagnon

Mar 5, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Villanova Wildcats defensive lineman Tanoh Kpassagnon goes through workout drills during the 2017 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 5, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Villanova Wildcats defensive lineman Tanoh Kpassagnon goes through workout drills during the 2017 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

A scouting report of potential Oakland Raiders prospect, defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon of Villanova.

As we inch closer to the NFL draft, Tanoh Kpassagnon is a name to remember — and it’s a name that definitely sticks out. The defensive end out of Villanova is a freakishly large human being on that defensive line — standing at 6’7″ and weighing nearly 290 pounds. Could he be an option for the Oakland Raiders?

Reggie McKenzie has been known to like big prospects on the defensive line, and well as building through the trenches.

While in high school, Tanoh played football, basketball and track at the varsity level. He is a versatile athlete with some incredible measurables.

The Raiders defensive line is something that will need to be addressed through the draft. Mario Edwards Jr. was injured for most of the 2016 season, and the defensive line was not one of the strong suits in 2016. They lost Stacy McGee in free agency and recently released Dan Williams, so depth on the d-line is thin.

Right now, the current depth of the interior defensive line is as follows: Mario Edwards Jr, Denico Autry, Darius Latham, Jihad Ward, Justin Ellis and Branden Jackson. There is a lot of young prospects currently on the line. We saw positive contributions from rotational players such as Autry, Latham and Justin Ellis. Let’s hope they get even better next season.

As the line took a step backwards this last year, look for them to add a young prospect in the upcoming draft. Let’s take a closer look at Kpassagnon.


I first would like to take you down memory lane and compare recent draft picks to Tanoh Kpassagnon.

Mario Edwards Jr. – Round 2 – 2015

Here are the measurables for Mario:

"Grade: 5.5Height: 6’7″Weight: 273 lbs.40 yd dash: 4.83 secondsBench Press: 32 repsVertical Jump: 32.5 inchesBroad Jump: 120.0 inches3 cone drill: 7.44 seconds20 yd shuttle: 4.55 seconds"

When Mario Edwards Jr. declared for the draft, he was known as a raw prospect with talent but questionable work ethic. He immediately contributed on defense as a rookie, and the teams hope he takes another step forward heading into his third season.

Jihad Ward – Round 2 – 2016

Here are the details on Ward, per

"Grade: 5.67Height: 6’5″Weight: 297 lbs.40 yd dash: 5.11 secondsBench Press: 20 repsVertical Jump: 25.0 inchesBroad Jump: 111.0 inches3 cone drill: 7.38 seconds20 yd shuttle: 4.63 seconds"

Jihad Ward was also taken in the second round by Reggie McKenzie, and in several ways, was a similar prospect to Mario Edwards Jr. Ward is big, strong and lengthy, but was still considered to be a raw talent. Jihad Ward was thrown into an increased role with the injury to Mario, and he struggled to be an efficient player.

Now that we have seen some prospects that have been drafted in recent past, let’s compare that Tanoh Kpassagnon.

"Grade: 5.63Height: 6’7″Weight: 289 lbs40 yard dash: 4.83 secondsBench Press: 23 repsVeritcal Jump: 30.0 inchesBroad Jump: 128.0 inches3 cone drill: 7.46 seconds20 yd shuttle: 4.62 seconds"

As you can see, Kpassagnon has very similar numbers to Mario Edwards Jr. and Jihad Ward. They are all given similar grades and all bring a big, strong presence on that defensive line. With his size, Tanoh will have the ability to play anywhere on the defensive line.

Although he only had 23 bench press reps, he ran a fast 40-yard dash time for his size, at 4.83 seconds. Kpassagnon is comparable to prospects that Reggie McKenzie has drafted in the past. He likes those big d-linemen.

Let’s now take a quick look at what he was able to do on the field at Villanova.


Kpassagnon has been at Villanova for five years, due to his redshirt his freshman season in 2012. Since then he played in 40 games from 2013 to 2016.

He played in 11 games in his first season in 2013, accumulating only 1 sack with 1.5 tackles for loss. He was only considered a rotational player at the time.

Tanoh played only six games in 2014 but still managed to rack up 3.5 sacks and 5 tackles for loss. He seemed to improve in only limited time. In his junior season, he played in 1 games while managing 6.5 sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 pass deflection.

In his senior season in 2016, Tanoh was at his best statistically. He recorded 11 sacks, 21.5 tackles for loss, 4 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries and 1 interception.

The four-year player seemed to progressively get more playing time  and even looked better on the stats sheet.


Kpassagnon’s biggest strength is his uniquely athletic physique. One that is causing him to rise up draft boards is just due to his potential. Standing at 6’7″ and weighing about 289 pound, he’ll add a huge presence to any defensive line.

Here he is going against another prospect OL Forrest Lamp from Western Kentucky at the Senior Bowl practices:

As you can see, Kpassagnon simply beats him with a combination of his size and speed. He uses his strength to man handle Lamp to the ground and eventually gets to the QB.

Here is another video of where he gets to the quarterback. This one simply is his speed. Kpassagnon beats the LT to the edge and gets around him fast enough to where he can reach the quarterback for the sack.


"Although Kpassagnon may have great measurables, that does not mean that he is a complete prospect. In fact, he is a very raw talent.According to CBS Sports Draft Profile on the prospect, he “Attempts to spin away from double teams, losing sight of the ball and effectively himself out of the play”."

He may sometimes be “too big” to even control.

There is plenty of technique that Kpassagnon needs to work on if he wants to translate that and be effective at the next level. He will need to be able to utilize his large size and learn how to wreck havoc with it.

Tanoh Kpassagnon is an interesting prospect to say the least. Since the Combine that was held in February, he has been rising up draft boards across the league. Take this with a grain of salt, but the draft analyst of NFL Draft Insider says that the Raiders are big fans:

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Looking at recent Raiders draft history, he does fit the mold that Mckenzie has known to enjoy drafting. A raw prospect in the second round? Mario Edwards Jr. (2015), Jihad Ward (2016), Menelik Watson(2013) and even Derek Carr (2014) were given that label at the time and all were second round picks.

Kpassagnon is not a complete prospect and it will take sometime for him to transition into the next level but his size and speed is what makes him appealing. This is a name to remember come draft night and one to look for as he begins his career.