DT, Sione Fua (6’1½” 306 lbs.) – Stanford Cardinals
Versus the Run: Prototypical 2-gap defensive tackle. Very stout against the run. Possesses extraordinary strength in his upper and lower body. Has a good initial punch. Can knock linemen off of balance. Extends his arms to keep linemen out of his frame. Knows how to bend his knees, sit in his stance and play with leverage. Holds up well against double teams. Lacks the quickness and athleticism to effectively shoot gaps and make plays in the backfield. Also, is limited to making plays inside the tackle box. Sometimes has a hard time locating the ball. Can get fooled on misdirection and delay runs. Needs to improve his overall awareness.
Pass Rush Skills: Lacking in the pass rushing department. Will not overwhelm linemen with speed or quickness. Is a power rusher. Uses a powerful bull rush to collapse the pocket, but that’s the gist of his pass rushing ability. Does do a good job of getting his hands up in passing lanes.
Quickness (hands/feet): Has a quick and strong initial punch off the snap. Stuns linemen at the line of scrimmage, and knocks them off balance. Below average foot speed. Will struggle with changing directions and performing stunts at the next level.
Toughness/Motor: Blue collar, hard nose defensive tackle. One of the strongest players in the nation. Top-notch motor. Always hustling and always pursuing the ball carrier.
Intangibles: 2010 Team Captain. 2010 All Football Pac-10 2nd Team. Very humble kid. Plays the game with vigor and passion.
Overall Stock: Sione Fua was the center piece of the Cardinals top 20 ranked rush defense. With his thick upper and lower body, Fua can man the middle of a 3-4 defense in the NFL. It will be difficult for him to come in and make an immediate impact, but he can be apart of a rotation early. Fua will need to add some weight to his frame. Nose tackles usually range from 325-350 pounds. His expertise is occupying blockers, and allowing linebackers to make plays. Teams looking for a pass rushing, penetrating defensive tackle, will stray away from Fua. He does not fit in a 1-gap system. He lacks explosion and athleticism, and that will limit him at the next level. I don’t foresee Fua being anything more than a 2-down player, and that’s not a bad thing. Nose tackles usually come off the field on passing downs. The 3-4 is the new cup of tea in the NFL. There are now 15 teams now running the scheme. Nose tackles are in demand, so that means Fua has a chance to go relatively high. The nose tackle position is very weak this year. Fua’s competition is nothing to brag about, so don’t be surprised to see Fua be one of the top three nose tackles taken in the draft. I look for him to come off the board somewhere in round three.
NFL Comparison: Kelly Gregg