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2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Tuli Tuipulotu (DL – USC)

2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Tuli Tuipulotu (DL – USC)

As the NFL season winds down, FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL draft scouting reports before the combine in March. Here’s a look at Tuli Tuipulotu.

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2023 NFL Draft Guide: Prospect Rankings & Player Profiles

Tuli Tuipulotu (DL – USC)

6’4” – 290 lbs.

Background:

Three-star recruit, who, like his brother Marlon, currently playing defensive tackle for the Eagles, also committed to Southern California, where he worked his way into the starting lineup by the third game of the shortened 2020 season, playing the five-technique end in the Trojan defense and finishing the year with 22-2.5-2.0 over 201 snaps and six appearances. Became a full-time starter the following year and went 48-7.5-5.5, then had a massive junior year line of 46-22.0-13.5.

Positives:

Has pro bloodlines, and has been highly productive over the past two seasons, with escalating output. Well-built for a five-technique defensive end, with good length; also plays some seven-technique. Very good athlete for his size in terms of speed, flexibility, and agility. Laterally quick enough to knife into the backfield and create disruption, usually off of a rip. Scrapes down the line well, with square shoulders and good lower-body strength to hold the point. Plays with discipline on the back end. Athletic enough to make some plays in backside pursuit, showing an impressive motor. Length gives him a wide tackling radius. Shows a nice rip move when penetrating. Active with his hands. Was often used on stunts/twists, showing nice footwork and closes surprisingly quickly for a player with his size. Has a nice swim move to work back inside off of the speed rush. Can even make some drops into zone coverage, sometimes out of a two-point stance.

Negatives:

May be a slightly odd fit in some even fronts; not too many snaps in which he’s playing in the A-gap or B-gap. Pad level occasionally rises, negating his natural power. Not a major threat to win around the edge; uses his speed rush as a way to set up the inside move, and often wipes out when trying to bend the edge. Would like to see him commit to the bull rush more fully; has a quickness-based approach, rarely collapsing the pocket with raw power/leg drive. Can be a little bit of a waist-bender, playing outside of his frame. Other minor balance issues crop up at times. Missed a lot of tackles this past season (30%).

Summary:

A well-built five-technique with impressive quickness, solid lower-body strength, and a strong motor, traits that allowed him to create a lot of disruption over the past two seasons. Would fit best on a team that lets him knife into the backfield and blow up plays, but is also capable of holding the point of attack in a two-gap front, and could potentially even play a jumbo end role on an even-front team like Seattle. Looks like a solid bet to come off the board in the first round after a monster junior campaign.

Projection: Round 1

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