Tanoh Kpassagnon is turning heads as one of the biggest overall surprises on defense in training camp for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The early evidence didn’t look good for Tanoh Kpassagnon.
When Steve Spagnuolo arrived, it wasn’t long before the player movement began. Allen Bailey was allowed to walk in free agency. Dee Ford was traded. Justin Houston was released. Through the door came new faces like Emmanuel Ogbah, Alex Okafor, Khalen Saunders, and Frank Clark. The front line was a front-and-center concern for the front office, and it was easy to question what might happen to the holdovers.
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Given the sheer number of new players on the roster, Kpassagnon in particular looked to be like a man on the verge of leaving himself. The former second round pick was a developmental talent back in 2017 and he’d lived up that subpar billing through two seasons—a span of time in which he’d earned a single start and put up 2 sacks (both in his rookie season).
These days, however, Kpassagnon has become a name to watch, a player who is making good on the early scouting reports who admired his length, his agility, his physical stature. It’s easy to forget that developmental means just that—a player who requires time and investment. It takes milliseconds to turn the corner on the field, but it can take years off the field. Kpassagnon has simply needed time.
That’s not to say that Kpass is ready to roll and impact the game like a second round pick should. The team hasn’t even played its first preseason game just yet. That said, it’s nice to see some of the following dispatches from training camp, including this quote from head coach Andy Reid.
"“Tanoh is exploding off the football, which is a nice thing,” Reid said. “He can do either/or for you. You saw him on the one screen, it’s hard to get it over him – and around him because he has that wingspan. He’s a smart kid. Plays hard. Every snap that you’re going to get from Tanoh is going to be 100 miles per hour, that’s just how he rolls.”"
If Kpassagnon can truly make an impact and set himself up for some playing time, it might mean a spot on the roster bubble for someone like Emmanuel Ogbah or Breeland Speaks. Those are issues for another day however.
For now, it’s nice to see that the original vision for Kpassagnon is still very much intact and that the Chiefs are working hard to see it through.