Would Tommy Togiai be a good fit with the Cleveland Browns?
The Cleveland Browns did solidify the defensive tackle position by signing Malik Jackson in free agency, but only one out of the four players in that room is under contract beyond 2021, and that’s second-year man Jordan Elliott. The team could be looking to find part of a long-term solution in the 2021 NFL Draft, and former Ohio State Buckeye Tommy Togiai could be a solid option.
Togiai didn’t play much in 2018, was a backup in 2019, and then finally got his chance to start in 2020. He took full advantage of it, finishing with 23 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, two batted passes, and a forced fumble.
The stat sheet fails to accurately gauge the impact he had on games; he played the run well and consistently pushed the pocket on passing downs. He was forced to miss the National Championship Game against the Alabama Crimson Tide, and the Buckeyes defense was gashed by Najee Harris and company.
Togiai shows solid athletic ability on tape, but he tested significantly better than expected. He participated in every drill and earned a Relative Athletic Score of 8.58 out of 10.0. His explosiveness was good, and his agility testing was elite. T
here are many examples of Togiai showing off great short-area quickness, getting skinny to make his way through the line and get to the quarterback. He’s certainly no Aaron Donald in this department, but he has more than enough athleticism to find success in the NFL.
Whether it was walking guards back into the quarterback or standing up to double teams and getting penetration in the run game, Togiai’s presence was felt on each play.
He combined with fellow breakout Haskell Garrett to form one of college football’s best defensive interiors, and when that pairing was absent for the biggest game of the season, the entire Buckeyes defense was torched. Togiai was an extremely disruptive and impactful defender, even on a defense as talented as any unit in the country.
Size and NFL fit
Togiai weighed in at 6-1 and 296 pounds with 31.75-inch arms (which rank in the sixth percentile among defensive tackles), making him decently undersized for a one-tech in the NFL. While that’s the position where he thrived in college, he may be best suited to move to three-tech in the pros.
The question is whether he can be as effective playing that role. He certainly has the athletic gifts to do it.
PFF mock draft simulator average draft position: 104.4
NFL Mock Draft Database overall rank: 84
This defensive tackle class is quite weak, so while it seems like Togiai’s most likely range is in the mid-to-late-third round, it would not be surprising to see him go much earlier than that, even at the end of the second.
Tommy Togiai is undersized, but it’s hard to argue with his athletic ability, production, and impact on the game. Ohio State continues to churn out quality defensive tackles, and Togiai just might be the best in recent years.