NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
I will admit that Bronson Kaufusi was a guy who I did not know very much about until Senior Bowl week. After I saw his measurements and the way he handled himself in practice, I wanted to learn more. I sat down and watched some BYU games over the past few days, and here are my impressions of Kaufusi.
Name: Bronson Kaufusi (#90)
School: BYU (Sr.)
Weight: 281 Lbs.
The first thing that jumps out about Kaufusi is his size. He is obviously very tall, but he also is well built for someone of his stature, with broad shoulders and a thin waistline. At the Senior Bowl, he measured in with just over 34″ arms and a 79.5″ wingspan, which is really good. On tape, you can see he plays the game with passion and an unrelenting motor, giving 100 percent on every play. He is strong at the point of attack and does a nice job setting the edge in run defense. Kaufusi is a former basketball player for BYU and you can see the athleticism on the football field. He did not look out of place when he was asked to drop into coverage. He is the son of a football coach and you can see he has been well coached and plays with good awareness. He has good burst at the snap and has a variety of pass rush moves to get after the Quarterback. Kaufusi has the size, length, power, and athleticism to play in multiple fronts and at multiple positions along those fronts. Despite his length, he plays with good balance and can move down the line of scrimmage quickly and smoothly.
Kaufusi does not possess the flexibility to be an elite edge rusher in the NFL. He is too stiff to get low and turn the corner to get to the Quarterback from the edge. He plays hard on every play, but as games wear on, he tends to play more upright. This allows offensive linemen to neutralize his length and get under his pads. While Kaufusi was asked to drop into coverage from time to time, I am not sure any team will want to do that on a regular basis as he lacks the quick movement skills to cover quicker receivers in space. Kaufusi is also an older draft prospect because he served a 2 year mission prior to college.
You might be asking why I am scouting Defensive Ends when the Patriots seem fairly set at the position. I think it’s a real possibility that the Patriots either trade Chandler Jones this off-season or let him walk after his contract is up after next season. Kaufusi would fill that role very well. He has the size the Patriots look for and he plays the game with passion and a non stop motor. The Patriots also value players who first and foremost can stop the run and Kaufusi does that very well. While he may not be an elite edge rusher, he has good pass rush moves and can get to the Quarterback. I think he could provide the same type of production Jones has over his time with the Patriots. With his size and athleticism, Kaufusi also brings some position flexibility which the Patriots also like. I am a big fan of Kaufusi’s game and if the Patriots have plans to move on from Jones sooner rather than later, then Kaufusi should be high on their board. He gets a solid Day 2 grade for me and could be in play at the end of round two.
P.S.-This is somewhat off topic but still draft related. I was thinking about how the NFL wants to discourage players from leaving school early. The problem is, with the new pay structure for drafted players, they really are playing for their second contract. If you leave school early and succeed, you get to that big payday earlier. Right now, contracts are capped at 5 years for first round players and 4 years for players in rounds 2-7. Why not have it so contracts for non-senior players drafted after round 1 be longer? This would detract student athletes from leaving school early. I personally don’t care that players leave early because I think in some cases, the draft needs that many early entries to have enough talent in the draft to help teams. What are your thoughts on something like this?