The Colts new regime keeps adding pieces through free agency, something we haven't seen in years. The one spot that is totally up in the air is the NT position in our new hybrid 3-4/4-3 defense. There is no one on the roster that can effectively handle the nose. While free agency is not over, it seems clear that at least one NT will become a Colt during draft weekend. Hebron "Loni" Fangupo is a potential candidate.
Fangupo was a transfer machine during his college days. He started at a JUCO (Mount San Antonio Community College), moved to USC, broke his leg during a game against Washington and then transfered to BYU. Described most often as a "raw talent," Loni has the build to be successful playing the nose. He does have experience in the 3-4 as that what Bronco Mendelhall and the BYU Cougars run.
Loni was a top performer at the combine putting up 36 bench reps, tying for 2nd among DTs behind Dontari Poe. This shows he has the strength to hold up at the point of attack and can be the space eater required for the 3-4 to thrive. He was never a top performer in any of his college locations mostly due to the fact that he wasn't there long enough to establish himself.
Fangupo is not a quick player, so this would certainly be a departure from what we are used to seeing in blue. While his straight line 40 time is not bad, his lateral quickness is below average. He needs help on footwork and pad level. Even though he is on a shorter frame than some, he tends to get a little upright and lose leverage. He also holds no value as a pass rusher as the quickness is just not there.
After the jump we'll look at what the draft sites say as well as his combine numbers and my thoughts. Don't forget to check out all the potential picks on our 2012 Draft Profiles Page.
Is a raw kid who finally has learned to sit into his stance, play with his base down and fire off the football. A naturally strong kid with a great attitude and work rate. Needs to improve pad level, but has the kind of natural power and work ethic to make it with some time.
An overaged former junior-college product and USC recruit, Fangupo is a big, strong, thick-bodied, mature Polynesian brute who is a simple projection, given his experience in BYU’s two-gapping, 3-4 scheme. Has the size and strength to slide along an odd front.
Fangupo is a lane clogger, and although his play can seem uninspired at times, he actually is very effective in this role and should look to do the same for a 3-4 scheme at the next level. A transfer to BYU by way of USC and Mount San Antonio Community College, Fangupo is an older player who never got a strong chance to establish himself with any team at the collegiate level. He could be a late-riser, as he is said to have serious strength for the position. Look for a team with a scheme in which Fangupo would fit to select him in the late rounds.
My Take for the Colts -
I actually see this as a decent late round chance, especially if we do end up making a move in free agency. This kid could use some time to develop and I would love to see Pagano and staff really get someone that they can coach up. One thing you can't coach is body type and this kid looks like a NT. Projection show round 4 or 5 and I would think that the beginning of the 5th would be my choice.