Saturday, April 28, 2012
CHRISTIAN TUPOU, DT, Grant: UDFA signed with the San Diego Chargers
Name: Christian Tupou
Projection: Undrafted Free Agent
USC senior Christian Tupou finished his career with an All Pac-12 Honorable Mention nod after missing the 2010 with a knee injury suffered during the spring game prior to that season. Now that he has wrapped up his career at USC, a career that includes 33 starts, he is hoping for a shot at playing on Sundays.
Tupou plays with great pad level and is great at the point of attack, but doesn’t generally use his hands well. While he does get off the ball extremely well and plays with an exceptional motor, he doesn’t defeat blocks on a regular basis. However, maybe the biggest knock on him is that at 289 pounds, he is undersized for a nose guard and doesn’t have the exceptional athleticism required to play the 3 technique.
With almost half the NFL now running a 3-4 defense, they are looking for nose guards in the 350 pound range who can hold up against the pounding of physical interior offensive lineman over a long season. Tupou doesn’t really have the frame to bulk up to that weight. Even in a 4-3 front he would be considered undersized for an NFL nose guard. Playing the nose means that he will see 700 pounds of vicious double teams on just about every play. At best he will be required to defeat those double teams and at worst he will be expected to not get pushed off of the line of scrimmage.
Topou plays with heart, toughness, a great motor, and he has a great work ethic. These attributes should be enough to get him invited to camp, but due to his size and lack of elite athleticism I do not see him getting drafted.