Stevie Tu’ikolovatu – DT – USC
I think we can all agree that the weakest part of the Chiefs defense in 2016 was their ability to consistently stop the run. While the Chiefs did sign free agent Bennie Logan to fill the hole left by the departure of Dontari Poe they still need to do more in order to sure up their run defense. That is where big Stevie Tu’ikolovatu from USC comes in. This guy is a hoss. He’s huge. He might be the best run stopping defensive lineman in this entire draft class and hardly anybody is talking about him.
Well, there’s two reasons. First, he has very little pass rush upside in a league that has become focused on the passing game. Second, he will be twenty-six years old when his rookie season starts (he’s only ten months younger than Dontari Poe). Tu’ikolovatu is from Utah and spent two years on his Mormon church mission in the Philippines. So yes, there is limited upside here and he’s probably never going to be more than a two down run stuffer.
SIGN. ME. UP.
The Chiefs have enough multi-talented defensive linemen on their roster. They don’t have a bunch of huge bodies that shut down the run. If a team were running up the middle on the Chiefs and they put Logan and Tu’ikolovatu next to each other in the middle that solves that problem. I don’t care if he’s not a pass rusher or is already in his mid twenties. The guy can stop the run really, really well. I’m not the only one that thinks so either.
In fact, Tu’ikolovatu was rated number two in all of college football in Pro Football Focus’ Run Stop Percentage stat. This is a stat where they look at the number of stops they made in the run game that prevented a successful offensive play from happening. In simple terms, he made the second highest percentage of significant run stops in college football last year. I have a huge draft crush on this huge run stuffing nose tackle and desperately want the Chiefs to draft the big man.
Now how about a run stopping inside linebacker to go with him?