Steelers Interview Villanova DE Tanoh Kpassagnon

MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 28: during the second half of the Reese's Senior Bowl at the Ladd-Peebles Stadium on January 28, 2017 in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Steelers have reportedly conducted a formal interview with Villanova DE Tanoh Kpassagnon per NFL Draft Insider’s Jared Tokarz.

As his tweet indicates, Kpassagnon is certainly in high demand. He’s one of the most unique looking players at the Combine, officially weighing in at 6’7, 289 pounds with 35 5/8 inch arms and 10 5/8 inch hands. That would profile him better as a traditional 4-3 defensive end than someone in a 3-4 but his size and his look – he was one of the most sculpted players at Senior Bowl weigh-ins – clearly has everyone interested in him.

NFL Draft Scout currently has him pegged as a fourth round selection but could rise higher with a strong week at Indianapolis. Given that he’s a small school player, if the Steelers have legitimate interest in him, expect to hear more connections between the two in the coming weeks.

In 2016, Kpassagnon recorded 21.5 TFL and 11 sacks. He had 37.5 career tackles for loss and 22 sacks.

2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Villanova DE Tanoh Kpassagnon

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Spencer Krick

    An intriguing guy for sure.

  • jeffjb292

    Help keep Hayward, Tuitt, and Hargrave healthy with a rotation

  • StarSpangledSteeler


    I think Cam Heyward came into the combine at something like 6’5″ 290 with 34″ arms. Not saying this kid is the same caliber of player as Cam but looking at his body type I’d say they’d want him to play a similar role.

    I have a heard a number of posters asking for a solid back up DL, and at first I dismissed the idea. But after watching what happened when Cam got hurt last year, I’m warming up to the idea. Hargrave is strictly an inside DT, whereas Cam is more of more of hybrid DE, with the length to keep blockers off his body.

    I think there is definite value to having a 5 man base front who can ALL rush the QB simultaneously. Looking at out middle 3, right now we have Tuitt (DE) + Hargrave (NT) + Heyward (DE) who can all do that, but who do we have behind them who can create pressure? Who can rotate at DE in base?

    This is the type of guy who provides great value in the 5th round (if he drops that far).

  • Alex Kozora

    I know you’ll be a fan of this, Lucas.

  • Michael James

    Aside from the fact that I’m not a fan of Kpassagnon, I just don’t see the fit at all. To phrase it better: I don’t see him playing anything else than 5-tech for us, but he would only be a backup behind Tuitt and Heyward. Even in the nickel rotation he would have to sit behind Hargrave. For a player that probably goes middle-late second day, I wouldn’t pull the trigger.

  • falconsaftey43

    I think another pass rushing DL would be nice, but isn’t much of a need. Just a example of how only using Heyward/Tuitt/Hargrave in a rotation breaks down.

    Assume 70% nickle (2 DL) and 30% base (3DL). Heyward/Tuitt/Hargrave all play 100% of base snaps. Then they can each play 2/3 of the nickle snaps. That leaves them all play 76.6% of total snaps. So without a 4th guy, they’re not playing a ton of snaps.

    You have Walton and McCullers as good run stoppers to rotate in base if you want, but they don’t offer much pass rush. More than anything, I think you’re looking at injury insurance. Because right now if any of the top 3 go down, they are the only real candidates to put in the nickle, so they’ll be playing more than 90% of snaps most likley. 4th-5th round would seem like the right range.

  • T3xassteelers

    Nice!! That’s 4 official visits right? Love all 4 players so far.

  • Steelers12


  • capehouse

    YES!!! Draft this guy in the 3rd round so he can take Walton’s spot.

  • LucasY59

    absolutely! gotta show interest to have any chance of the Steelers drafting small school

  • LucasY59

    I think he is raw, but has the potential to become as good as Cam (he would have to work for it, but I think Coach Mitchell would be able to develop this guy into a very good DE) and it would be really good to have a depth guy that was actually good enough to be more than just a injury replacement, rotating with with the starters and keeping them all fresh (the starters are able to play a ton of snaps, but I think having a little extra in the tank late in the game is a good thing)

    I think they will have to use one of the 3rd rd picks to get him (5th rd would be VERY good value, but I dont see him making it much later than the 4th) getting him with the comp would still be good value, they have the extra pick and would be using it on a guy that has potential to be as good as the guys they picked in the 1st and 2nd


    Good post…what you’ve described imo is part of the problem with the DEF unit…If you were able to break down the personnel just from watching the games…imagine the guys that get paid to breakdown film.

    If the Steelers had legit fire breathers on the edge another pass rushing DL would really be a luxury. As it stands now, if this guy can effect the passer on a semi-consistent basis even as a specialist type player I think he’s worth more than a 5th rd pick…I would be tempted to use the comp pick on such a talent.

  • Steeler4l1f3

    This is exciting! Last year we flirted with bringing in Jason Jones and Colbert mentioned bringing in more 4-3 ends with the Nickel becoming the base D.

    I’m a fan of the versatility and element of surprise that a 3-4 allows just as Wade Phillips and Butler has explained. I am also a fan of the NASCAR 4-3 packages that Seattle and Minnesota use. It would be nice to add some Edge rushers with length that can add to our depth at two positions- base 3-4 end and Nickel Edge.

    Hoping we double dip and grab someone like this in the draft.


    You have enough insight to not be a fan of the player. Honestly, I don’t. So maybe your thoughts are grounded in what you know about his game.

    From where I sit…the Steelers need guys that can get after the passer…I don’t care if it 5 tech, 3 tech…it doesn’t matter. Obviously they’re not looking at him as the answer, but if he can complement in any way, I wouldn’t mind seeing him in the Black & Gold.

  • LucasY59

    I think keeping the Starting DEs at around 80% is a really good idea (they are too good to be on the bench any more than that, maybe down to 75%) but I only see Hargrave as a 50% snap guy, the bigger (heavier) they are the faster they get tired, Javon has good enough conditioning, but shouldnt be above 60-70%

    as far as Kpassagnon, they could use him in a few versatile ways, he is definitely a 5 tech weighing in at 289, but I think he has the speed and agility to line up outside on some plays in sub package as well (and could probably even drop in coverage a little (shallow zone or out into the flat) so he can get a few extra snaps that way as well) the team needs help at outside pass rush and I think he could be a outside the box solution for that (they still need a OLB) he can also play inside in the nickel, his quickness, length, and strength will be a advantage against OGs, so once Coach Mitchell has him ready to get on the field, I think he could see the field for 30-40% of the snaps (and obviously if someone gets hurt he could get more)

    I think they need to pick him in the 3rd (if he has a good combine he could go even earlier) if he is still available in the 4th I would hope they sprint to the podium with their selection card

  • LucasY59

    thats why I like this guy so much, he has a lot of different ways he could get on the field, I see him as a guy that can line up 7 tech (4-3 edge) 5 tech (3-4 DE) or 3 tech (4-3 DT) I like to think outside the box and this is a guy that should help them to do so (and even if he is just a traditional DE depth guy, they need a quality player to do that as well)

  • LucasY59

    I respect that your opinion is that he is just a 5 tech, but I think he could be a good one if that is all he is (the DEs missed a lot of time last yr, and adding a guy that could come in and have very little drop off from the Starters)

    I also disagree strongly that he wouldnt be able to play in other spots, I think he could play all along the line (especially in sub package)

    yes there is a risk that he is undeveloped and need to work on some things before he is ready to see the field, but I think the Steelers have the DL coach that would have be able to get the potential out of him, so I dont see it as a risk, just a possible reward, getting him in the 3rd would be very good value if he becomes a player that is just as good as the 2 starters ahead of him

  • LucasY59

    Hope they meet with Lorenzo Jerome as well (small school!!!) and of course Derek Rivers (represent FCS)

  • Hubert Parker

    Big time fit. We are nickle base team. Get ends who rush no dropping. Play the run on the way to the qb

  • Applebite

    Something for 3-4 teams to embrace is further flexibility on passing downs. For the thought of Kpassagnon being on the team, you’d have to visualize using him beyond DE in a base 3-4. To do that, however, you need further understand of the type of player he is. And yes, in a pinch, OLB is not entirely out of the question. Thinking back to Woodley, wasn’t he like, 280 some pounds at one point? He was 6’2″….I think Tanoh would be okay on a limited basis there.

    I think people are kind of stuck with the thought of the traditional sized 3-4/4-3 DE, much like they’re stuck with thinking that OLBs are supposed to be a certain size. But if that was the case, we’d see more OLBs like Greg Lloyd used to be, 6’2″ 225-230, although back then, he may have been an outlier. In today’s NFL, he’s undersized. Still a total bad ass. But undersized in the modern era.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Wow. I hadn’t watched and film on him yet. Didn’t realize he was that good.

  • LucasY59

    I am probably projecting him a bit, but I think he has a TON of potential, He was playing against FCS level competition, and they lined him up all over the line, so he has some developing to do, but his height/weight if prototype 5 tech DE, and his measurables should be very good (strength despite length = leverage, speed and quickness should be above average for his size / position)

    he will have to do the work to be as good as he could be, but getting him with the Steelers where he will have a good coach, and coming in as a depth player where he will have time to develop, and will also have to earn his snaps once he is ready makes me pretty confident he can live up to expectations

  • Michael James

    You’re right, we should probably trust our scouting department. If they think he could contribute as a pass rusher, I will trust them. It’s just that I’m really sceptical after watching his game tape.

  • Michael James

    You’re right. If the staff thinks coach Mitchell can coach him up, I’ll trust them. It’s just that he’s so freakin’ raw.

  • T3xassteelers

    For all you non PA people, do you guys get Villanova and Vandy confused? Cause I sure do lol

  • Steeler4l1f3

    Oh man. We are of the same mind set. I really like Lorenzo Jerome. I just watched some film of him earlier today and man is he impressive. I see alot of Safeties that are hesitant in run support or have bad angles but are good in coverage or vice versa. He is the only S that I’ve seen so far (still have more to evaluate)that is great in both areas. Plus is ball skills are something else and he seems like an good athlete.

  • LucasY59

    I watched him live against Montana this last season, and he was by far the best player on the field, a guy that can impact an entire game (at the S position) is good to have on the team