Villanova football produced its first NFL draft pick since offensive tackle Ben Ijalana was picked by the Colts in 2011, when defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon was the 2nd Round selection of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Kpassagnon was a raw athlete when he signed with the Wildcats out of Wissahickon High School, and was not on many coaches’ radar. He got a late start in the sport and was focused heavily on academics, which cut into his exposure on the recruiting circuit.
He played TE and DE in high school and started out his Villanova career on the offensive side of the ball. Word got around after he made the switch to defense, however, and from preseason through his senior season, all 32 NFL franchises made the pilgrimage to the Main Line to see him in action.
It was the Senior Bowl weigh-in, however, that started a meteoric rise in interest for the graduating lineman. He “won the weigh-in” by checking in at 6’6.9”, 280-lbs and 10.9” hands, with arms and wingspan also checking in at the top of the Senior Bowl class. He added 9 pounds of muscle by the NFL combine — about five weeks later.
He put up really good numbers at the combine, so solidify interest in him, and set up some visits with teams who were interested in him. In fact, the biggest question-mark with NFL execs might have been his commitment to football — he stressed academics in high school and college (his mother’s influence), which stands out against a lot of other athletes in the draft.
He performed well against FBS-level offensive linemen at the Senior Bowl and against Pittsburgh and UConn of the ACC and AAC, respectively, proving that he’s not just taking advantage of smaller opponents (not that CAA offensive linemen are very small these days).
Let’s congratulate Tanoh Kpassagnon and wish him good luck as he moves on to start his career in the NFL.