NFL draft evaluator: BYU's Bronson Kaufusi

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PROVO — In a recent mock draft, had former BYU defensive end Bronson Kaufusi going in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft.

If Kaufusi is in fact drafted in the second round, he will be the third Cougar defender in four years to be selected in the first two rounds of the NFL draft.

Here are some of his strengths and weaknesses in the first of a weekly installment leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft in April.

Strengths =========


Plain and simple, you can't teach size, and Kaufusi is huge. Coming in at 6-foot-8 and 280 pounds, he is big even for NFL standards. But he is not a flabby 280 pounds — rather, he is well proportioned and muscular. It's scary to think, but with his height and frame, he could very well add more muscle and become even more physically imposing.

The potential for Kaufusi to become a monster physically will not be lost on NFL scouts and coaches.


Kaufusi moves very well for his size. So well, in fact, that coaches toyed with playing him at the linebacker position in 2014. The Timpview alum quickly went back to defensive end by his senior year, but it speaks volumes about his athleticism.

Kaufusi's quickness often made it hard for offensive linemen to keep him in front of them. His strength and athleticism were on full display in his final game as a Cougar in the Las Vegas Bowl against Utah. Kaufusi embarrassed Ute blockers all game and finished with nine total tackles, including three for a loss. If he can continue to play at that level, he will be a very good NFL player.

BYU defensive lineman Bronson Kaufusi (90)and other seniors are honored prior to the game against Fresno in Provo, Nov. 21, 2015. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
BYU defensive lineman Bronson Kaufusi (90)and other seniors are honored prior to the game against Fresno in Provo, Nov. 21, 2015. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Football IQ

Former BYU head coach and defensive coordinator Bronco Mendenhall employed one of the most complex and intricate defensive schemes at the college level in the nation. His blitz packages especially necessitated having players with high football IQs. Many physically gifted players did not make the field under Mendenhall due to their lack of ability to grasp the scheme.

Kaufusi was one of the players that thrived in Mendenhall's defense because he is an intelligent player. Kaufusi's high football IQ and versatility allowed Mendenhall to line him up in different places to give opponents myriad looks. This should translate well for Kaufusi when he plays at the next level as it will not be such a steep learning curve to understand an NFL team's complicated defensive scheme.

Weaknesses ==========

Inconsistent effort

When Kaufusi went into beast mode for the Cougars, there were few college offensive linemen that could block him. Against the Utes, Kaufusi was particularly amped up and exerted his will as he pleased. There were numerous times throughout his career, however, when he played a little tentatively and didn't get the most out of his supernal abilities.

Fortunately, these incidences were far fewer in his senior season. He was stellar in almost every game in his final campaign and was particularly effective in the second half of the season.


Every collegiate LDS player that has a chance to play professionally has a difficult decision about whether or not they will serve a two-year mission for their faith. Kaufusi decided that a mission was right for him and completed his two years. Missions can impact an athlete's career in a lot of ways both positively and negatively.

Positively, Kaufusi spent the time on his mission maturing and learning how to manage stress and adversity. Negatively, he was away from the game for two years and now is 2-4 years older than most of his peers. NFL scouts might look at Kaufusi's age and view it as a hindrance because he may have a shorter career or has tapped all his potential.


I think Kaufusi has a lot of potential and upside. He's smart and has the size and athleticism needed to thrive at the next level. If he continues to grow physically and consistently plays with a high motor, he might follow nicely in the footsteps of his former teammate and current Pro-Bowler, Ziggy Ansah.

About the Author: Dylan Cannon ------------------------------

Dylan Cannon is a regular contributor and can be reached at or via twitter @DylanCannon11.

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