With the 132nd pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns selected Ohio State defensive tackle Tommy Togiai.
Togiai only started seven games with the Buckeyes, all his final season, but he was able to earn all-Big Ten honors from both the coaches and the media. He played 33 games in all, contributing both in 2018 and 2019 as depth. Togiai might have been a superstar in another season of college, but opted to declare and that might be why he went as late as he did.
Age: 21 (Born September 19, 1999)
Height: 6'1 1/2"
Weight: 296 lbs
Arm Length: 31 3/4"
40-yard dash: 5.01
Broad Jump: 105"
Vertical Jump: 32"
Bench Press: 40 reps
Togiai is a tremendous athlete. He has everything he would need to hit the highest level outcomes in the NFL relative to his relatively small size. He's young and presumably will get bigger and fill out his frame more in the next year or few.
2020 (Best Season)
Solo Tackles: 12 (4%)
Tackles For Loss: 4.5 (9.7%)
Sacks: 3 (14.2%)
Togiai clears the Pro Bowl threshold, but doesn't land anywhere near relative to the average, save for his tackles for loss.
Togiai's fundamentals and intelligence as it relates to his play on the field are both outstanding. Strong hands and what can be an explosive first step allow him to generate quick momentum and stun opposing blockers and drive them into the backfield. Excellent balance, agility and playing speed.
He does a great job of seeing the play through the blockers, locating the ball and being able to effectively plan what he wants to do to counter it. There are situations where he sets up the blocker because he knows where the ball carrier is and they don't.
Togiai takes great angles, works his way down the line and chases well, but he also gets to his pursuit lanes quickly. He's a defensive tackle that will cut off plays going to the sideline or get in on tackles. His hustle is impressive and he's not just doing it to avoid getting chewed out. He's looking to get involved.
As a run defender, Togiai is often too much for single blocks. He's just stronger than so many of his opponents. He will occasionally use an arm to throw an opponent out of his way to get to the ball. Togiai does a great job extending his arms to get out of blocks allowing him to pursue the ball.
He's also quick enough to beat opponents to their blocks, getting into the backfield disrupting plays. Counters in particular, he was able to cause problems because he would get into the backfield before their offensive lineman could replace the puller.
Togiai is able to two-gap and at times, will put on an absolute clinic. He doesn't give up much ground and can stall plays. When he is pushed back, he stays on his feet and tries to get back into the play as opposed to making a pile.
As a pass rusher, everything with Togiai is predicated on his power game, which makes sense. He can bull rush and will get opponents off balance, before finishing them with quickness. Togiai will also flash a decent rip move to keep the opponent off balance.
Togiai does a great job of staying and working his rush lane, collapsing the pocket without creating an escape lane for the quarterback. He does his job, which helps to create plays for teammates as well as keeping quarterbacks in the pocket.
The only real issue Togiai will run into is he will occasionally get stuck on blocks. At times, he's doing it trying to prepare for a potential scramble from the quarterback as well as deflecting passes. There are times where he struggles to disengage.
Fit, Usage and Projection
The Browns plan to utilize Togiai is a nose with three-tech athleticism, so he can operate from both spots depending on the situation. He's powerful enough to hold up against the run or collapse the pocket as a pass rusher and has the speed to close. His ability to two-gap is useful in either spot, because it helps against the run and protects the second level players.
Togiai never played all that much football in college. His last season was the year where he was set to take off and it was abridged due to the pandemic. Presumably, the Browns will want Togiai to bulk up to 305 to 310 pounds over the next season or two. Togiai is extremely strong, doesn't carry much excess weight, but he's also light by NFL standards.
Togiai may have a difficult transition as a rookie and he may even end up on his share of inactive lists for games for all the reasons he has a ton of potential. He's young and he has an impressive set of tools, but he hasn't played that much football the past few years, let alone gone through the grind of a full NFL season.
In addition to simply adjusting to the talent of the NFL, where he can't just overpower the opponents, Togiai needs to continue to improve his hands and develop a counter move. He really didn't have one in college. If Togiai couldn't power simply shove the opposing blocker backward and they were locked on, he'd be neutralized.
If his power carries over to the NFL and he's able to get a counter move, Togiai can be a tremendous player. There are not many holes in his game. Between what he shows on the field and the data, it's not difficult to see where Togiai becomes a multiple Pro Bowl player. He may not hit the ground running the way some of this class might, but Togiai could end up being the best player from this team's draft class.