There’s a very good argument for the Seahawks drafting Florida’s Jonathan Bullard. So why aren’t more people talking about Bronson Kaufusi?
Here’s the comparison:
Arm length: 33 5/8 inches
Vertical: 32 inches
Three cone: 7.31
Short shuttle: 4.56
2015 sacks: 6.5
2015 TFL’s: 17.5
Arm length: 34 1/2 inches
Vertical: 30 inches
Three cone: 7.03
Short shuttle: 4.25
2015 sacks: 11
2015 TFL’s: 19.5
Both weigh 285lbs and ran similar times. Kaufusi’s forty is 0.06 seconds quicker and Bullard’s split is 0.03 seconds quicker. So basically the same.
Bullard performed better in the vertical (32 inches vs 30 inches) and broad (9-8 vs 9-3) and they put up similar numbers in the bench press.
However — look at the difference in the agility testing (important if you want either to play DE).
Kaufusi ran an elite 4.25 in the short shuttle compared to Bullard’s 4.56. The average time among defensive linemen at the combine was a 4.55.
In the three cone, again Kaufusi managed an elite time for his size (7.03) while Bullard recorded a 7.31. The average time this year was 7.50 seconds.
Let’s put those numbers into context. Darron Lee is 53lbs lighter than Kaufusi and ran a 4.20 in the short shuttle. That’s 0.05 seconds faster. Lee is considered an exceptional athlete at 232lbs and is expected to go in the top-15.
In the three cone Sterling Shepard ran a 7.00. He is 194lbs and ran a 4.48 in the forty. His three cone is 0.03 seconds faster than Kaufusi’s.
Will Fuller’s three cone is 0.10 seconds faster and he’s the most dynamic speed receiver in the draft — he also weighs 100lbs (!!!) less than Kaufusi.
That athleticism — along with supreme balance for his size — shows up on tape:
J.J. Watt, for what it’s worth, ran a 4.21 short shuttle at 290lbs and a 6.88 three cone. Kaufusi isn’t Watt — but who is? The short shuttle times are similar though.
I’ve seen some comparisons between Kaufusi and Margus Hunt. They ran a similar time in the three cone drill (7.03 vs 7.08) but Hunt’s short shuttle is way off at 4.51 — and he was 8lbs lighter.
We know the Seahawks, like most teams, treasure three key things:
3. Freaky athleticism
Here are some select quotes used to describe Kaufusi:
“Plays with the motor expected from a coach’s son”
— Lance Zierlein
“Is a high character prospect who should only get better”
— Tony Pauline
“A fighter that doesn’t back down or get discouraged”
— Scouts Inc
Here’s how he’s described by his Head Coach at BYU:
In terms of production he finished ninth in the country for sacks in 2015:
Carl Nassib — 16
Emmanuel Ogbah — 13
Shaq Lawson — 13
Myles Garrett — 12
Jatavis Brown — 12
Kevin Dodd — 12
Jonathan Allen — 12
Ejuan Price — 12
Bronson Kaufusi — 11
That’s some nice company, including several first or second round picks and a potential top-five pick in 2017 (Myles Garrett).
Freaky athleticism? How about running a short shuttle and three cone as fast as some of the smaller speed receivers in the draft at 6-6 and 285lbs?
Grit, production, freaky athleticism? Kaufusi ticks every box.
Let’s go back to the comparison with Jonathan Bullard. While they have some similarities like weight and speed they’re also very different players. Bullard isn’t much of a pass rusher at DE but can play with stoutness, solidity and offer something inside at the one or three technique. Kaufusi can be an absolute demon off the edge — but how does he fit inside?
Whether rushing the passer or playing the run as a 3-4 defensive end for BYU, Kaufusi was one of the nation’s most productive players in 2015, ranking sixth among all interior defensive linemen at +47.1. He led the way with a pass-rush productivity of 13.2, while ranking fourth in run-stop percentage at 12.1. He works non-stop, picking up clean-up pressure more than any lineman in the nation and he looks like an interior pass-rush threat at the next level as he continues to learn how to use his long frame more effectively in the running game.
If the Seahawks are looking for a DE-DT hybrid who can line up outside in base and kick inside on third down — this is another tick in the box for Kaufusi.
“Don’t sleep on this guy. He’s a little older (25 after serving a LDS mission in New Zealand) but he’s really productive. He’s always around the ball and he’s always making plays. He could go late first.
“He’s big and very athletic. He could play in a 4-3 or a 3-4. He just needs to get stronger and I think he will.
“He has a real good burst off the ball. He looks like a basketball player (which he was his freshman year). He’s a smart kid and that doesn’t hurt either.”
It often gets said that the Seahawks like to surprise people. None of the players we’ve highlighted so far would be a surprise at #26 or after a trade down. Not Bullard, Butler, Dodd, Jones, Ifedi or Spriggs.
Kaufusi would surprise people. And yet when you compare his physical profile to the rest it stands up beautifully. He has unique athletic traits, production and grit.
The full set.
He’s also a pass rusher. The one thing that makes you pause on Vernon Butler is his lack of a pass rushing skill set. Bullard is better in that regard — but he’s not a fierce pass rusher either. Neither is Chris Jones.
If you’re taking a D-liner early, you surely want to see some pass rush?
So what does Seattle’s previous draft history tell us?
Cassius Marsh didn’t have an amazing workout pre-draft in 2014. However, at 6-4 and 252lbs he ran a 4.25 short shuttle (same as Kaufusi) and a 7.08 three cone. Those were his standout numbers.
Marsh was drafted with the eighth pick in round four. Kaufusi matched those numbers with an extra 33lbs on his frame. It might be good for a couple of rounds.
Frank Clark also ran a 7.08 in the three cone at 271lbs but he recorded a blistering 4.05 in the short shuttle. It suggests the Seahawks put a degree of emphasis on the agility tests for edge rushers. Kaufusi ran a faster three cone than Clark with a weight disadvantage of 14lbs.
People will probably hate it if he is Seattle’s first pick. Just keep this article in the back of your mind.
A quick note as well on another player we’ve talked about — Devon Cajuste. Bob McGinn has quoted an anonymous source stating the following:
“That son of a guy is talented talented,” he said. “Now he’s a weird kid but he’s talented. Not a tight end. He’d be a big slot. Excellent athlete.”
“He’s that new breed of receiving tight end,” another scout said. “Put him in the slot. I like him to a point.”
“Boy, this guy likes to sneak up on ’em. He (hit) a couple guys from UCLA and turned ’em thistle end up, I’ll tell you. … He’s one of those gliders and sliders in that you don’t have to be real fast but you time where you pop open in the seam. He’d be that fourth or fifth wide receiver who comes in on third down because he can block and catch in traffic.”
Cajuste ran the fastest three-cone drill (6.49) at the combine (all positions) and ranked fifth among all receivers this decade.
A quick reminder — he’s 234lbs, not 185lbs.
Cajuste’s run blocking, catch/target efficiency and relationship with Doug Baldwin makes it almost too easy to link him to the Seahawks.
If they can acquire an early fourth round pick — pencil him in to Seattle.