Villanova DE Kpassagnon has NFL's attention

(STATS) - Every NFL draft prospect wants to hear he's a freak.

He's the type that has great size yet is so athletic that he's almost in a class by himself.

The FCS prospect dripping with that potential this year is former Villanova defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon (TAWN'-oh pass-EN'-yo), who's generally projected as a third-round pick in the April 27-29 draft in Philadelphia.

Kpassagnon has a long frame at 6-foot-7, 289 pounds, with 35 5/8-inch arms and 10 5/8-inch hands. His body fat was measured under 5 percent at the Reese's Senior Bowl, so he hasn't been eating anything from the sponsor. At the NFL combine, he was clocked at 4.83 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

Kpassagnon, who was looked at by 24 NFL teams at Villanova's pro day on Monday, has drawn comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul, the New York Giants' defensive end. Freakish athletes like that are in demand by NFL teams.

"He's really an outstanding player (and) has tremendous upside," said Andy Talley, Kpassagnon's college coach. "Great speed potential as a speed-rush guy off the edge. I think he's one of the better guys to come into our league in a long time."

The agile big man is a late bloomer, so scouts view his best days as potentially being ahead of him. Kpassagnon, United States-raised although his father is from the Ivory Coast and mother from Uganda, only broke out as a junior at Villanova after he missed eight games in his sophomore season following a tear of his right MCL.

Kpassagnon got healthy in 2015 and totaled 9 1/2 tackles for loss and 6 1/2 sacks while earning All-CAA Football first-team honors. As a senior, he was named the conference's defensive player of the year while ranking among the FCS leaders with 21 1/2 tackles for loss and 11 sacks.

Viewed as a five-technique defensive end, he can power around the edge or step back inside. But he's been noted for needing better balance at the point of contact and too often taking poor angles on run plays.

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