Tanoh Kpassagnon

Chiefs make Villanova's Tanoh Kpassagnon 1st FCS selection

Chiefs make Villanova's Tanoh Kpassagnon 1st FCS selection

Kansas City Chiefs fans are already learning how to pronounce Tanoh Kpassagnon.

It's easier to recognize the former Villanova defensive end's talent.

The Chiefs selected Kpassagnon with the 59th overall pick in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday night in Philadelphia.

The three-day draft, which concludes on Saturday, is being held less than 20 miles from Villanova's campus.

Kpassagnon's full name is pronounced tawn-oh pass-N-yo. Even Carlos Carson, the former two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver who announced the Chiefs' selection, struggled to get it right.

During the draft buildup, Kpassagnon drew comparisons to New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. He's a physical specimen at 6-foot-7, 289 pounds, with 35 5/8-inch arms and 10 5/8-inch hands.

"This guy's rare in terms of the measurables," ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said of the draft's first selection from the FCS level. "You see the big hands, strong hands, the ability to control blockers, he's got a powerful punch. He's just raw. He needs good coaching and he needs to be developed. I think he can be an impact starter one day in the league. I think early on, he's going to be used as a situational player."

An agile speed rusher off the edge, Kpassagnon blossomed over his final two seasons at Villanova. As a junior in 2015, he totaled 9 1/2 tackles for loss and 6 1/2 sacks while earning All-CAA Football first-team honors. As a senior, he was named the conference's defensive player of the year and ranked among the FCS leaders with 21 1/2 tackles for loss and 11 sacks.

Kpassagnon was raised in the United States, although his father is from the Ivory Coast and mother from Uganda.

An NFL prospect, Villanova's Tanoh Kpassagnon has brawn with brains to match

An NFL prospect, Villanova's Tanoh Kpassagnon has brawn with brains to match

A physical specimen, with the brains to match.

It's hard to understate the impression you get from meeting Tanoh Kpassagnon in person.

I read an article before meeting him that said his "abs had abs" and that he sported a minuscule 4 percent body fat. He laughed when I brought it up to him and said he wasn't so sure about the 4 percent body fat but that he loves to work out and get stronger, and he has been that way since high school.

Besides being a gym rat in the weight room, the 'Nova product was down to earth and easy to talk to. So much so we talked about what food we liked to cook and exchanged some tips on how to keep your mashed potatoes smooth and silky.

Kpassagnon moved from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Philly in the sixth grade and partly got turned on to football by watching the Donovan McNabb, Brian Dawkins and Brian Westbrook Eagles in the 2000s.

His proud parents don't know much about pigskin but are over the moon about his success and growing notoriety. He said he just wants to join an NFL team and build a bond with a new group of guys.

With his skill set, I imagine it won't be long before his name is called on Day 2 and his impact could go well beyond his draft position.

NFL Combine: Former Villanova DE Tanoh Kpassagnon shows off 'freaky gifts'

NFL Combine: Former Villanova DE Tanoh Kpassagnon shows off 'freaky gifts'

INDIANAPOLIS -- If some NFL folks didn't know who Tanoh Kpassagnon was before, they found out at the Senior Bowl weigh-in in Mobile, Alabama, in January. 

That's when the Villanova defensive end emerged on the stage to an audible gasp from the crowd. Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas said it looked like Kpassagnon was cut from stone and was "as body beautiful as it gets." 

Turns out, that wasn't as body beautiful as it gets. 

In a little over a month, Kpassagnon somehow managed to pack on nine more pounds of muscle. At the combine, he came it at 6-foot-7, 289 pounds. 

"Just trying to get stronger honestly," Kpassagnon said. 

If there was any fear that the extra weight would slow him down, the physical freak put it to rest by running a 4.83 in the 40-yard dash Sunday after already putting up 23 reps in the bench press. Before the combine, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said Kpassagnon has "freaky gifts."

They were on display Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. 

As of Saturday afternoon, Kpassagnon already had an informal meeting with the Eagles but wasn’t sure if they were on his list of formal interviews scheduled. 

During his meetings with teams, one of the questions Kpassagnon has gotten the most is about his love for football. He's been getting those questions so much because he's not a dumb jock. He graduated from Villanova with degrees in accounting and finance. 

"I've gotten that a lot. I love the game," he said. "It's probably the first thing I really did for myself. Grades and everything else was instilled by my mom and that was just something that I did to really make my mom happy.

"Football is something I've done for me. Really to make her happy too, but it's really for me."

The Wissahickon High School product had a really impressive career at Villanova, but it was his Senior Bowl performance in January that really began to turn heads. In Mobile, he was able to prove himself against talented players from higher levels of college football. 

"I think the best way to show that was playing with them, practicing with them like I did at the Senior Bowl," he said. "But I mean, combine numbers will hopefully also show that I'm a pretty good athlete."

Kpassagnon is more than a pretty good athlete. He's a freaky one. 

And it's unclear where, but he'll definitely be the first Villanova player drafted since 2011. He's not under the radar anymore. 

"Hopefully I'm going to make this into my profession," Kpassagnon said, "and I want to be the best defensive end there is."