The Buffalo Bills’ defense was inconsistent throughout the 2015 season as they transitioned to Rex Ryan’s hybrid 3-4 defensive scheme. So, going into the offseason and most notably the 2016 NFL Draft, it’s likely that the team will look to acquire defenders that fit the archetypes for the positions needed for Ryan’s system to thrive. Today, we’ll take a look at BYU’s versatile defensive tackle/end Bronson Kaufusi.
Bronson Kaufusi was a three-year starter for the Brigham Young University Cougars, recording 168 tackles, 43.5 tackles for loss, 26 sacks, two interceptions, 14 pass breakups and five forced fumbles during his career. Named a first-team All-Independents in each of the last two seasons, Bronson Kaufusi is an intriguing prospect due to his size, athleticism, positional versatility and advanced technique.
In 2015, Bronson Kaufusi recorded 63 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, an interception, two pass breakups, three forced fumbles and blocked five punts or field goals. He graded out as ProFootballFocus’ No. 2 pass rushing and No. 8 run stopping 3-4 defensive end, while RealFootballNetwork credited him with 42 quarterback pressures, 40 run disruptions and 17 “stuffs.”
Kaufusi primarily aligned as a five-technique defensive end to the open side of the offensive formation, but has experience all over the defensive front, from the three-technique all the way to a wide-nine technique and played in both a two and three-point stance.
Bronson Kaufusi Size/ Physical Attributes
Bronson Kaufusi Measured in at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at 6’6” and 285 pounds with 34 ½” arms—ideal size for a strong-side defensive end in a 4-3 front or a five-technique end in a one-gap 3-4 front. Kaufusi’s size wasn’t the only thing that impressed evaluators, as he ran a 4.88 second 40-yard dash, a 7.03 second three-cone, a 4.25 20-yard shuttle, while putting up 25 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, posted a 30” vertical leap and a 9’3” broad jump.
Zach Whitman, who formulated the calculation’s for NIKE’s “SPARQ” metric—a standardized test of athleticism that stands for Speed Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness—that combines all of the various combine drills into one number to give a clear picture of a prospect’s overall athletic ability.
According to the formula, Bronson Kafusi posted a SPARQ score of 124.3, the sixth-best among all defensive linemen at the 2016 Scouting Combine and ranking in the 82.6th percentile of NFL defensive linemen.
Bronson Kaufusi Pass Rush
Bronson Kaufusi doesn’t show great explosion off the snap, but is able to win his matchups by utilizing his length and hands to control and shed opposing linemen while playing with a non-stop motor. In the following clip against Cincinnati, Kaufusi is aligned at the five-technique over the left tackle. At the snap, he shoots his hands into the pads of the left tackle before disengaging from the block. There’s interior pressure from another BYU linemen and Cincinnati’s quarterback is forced to step up in the pocket. Kaufusi doesn’t give up on the play and is able to use his long arms to power his way to a sack-fumble, despite being held.
Bronson Kaufusi isn’t the freaky speed rusher with the ability to consistently bend the corner, but he does have enough flexibility to quickly change direction when he runs around the arc, as displayed in the following play against Fresno State that results in another sack-fumble.
He does this again against Cincinnati.
Bronson Kaufusi is most effective when he’s able to showcase his strength as an interior rusher. Lined up as the right defensive end, he’s used on a stunt, bull-rushing the center backwards before shedding the block and bringing down the quarterback.
Bronson Kaufusi Run Support
Bronson Kaufusi is a fantastic run defender and makes an impact as both an edge defender or an interior defensive lineman, routinely showing the ability to two-gap and allow his teammates to make plays at the line of scrimmage.
Kaufusi’s best asset is his hand usage, regularly getting inside the pads of linemen, shedding blocks with relative ease and hustling to finish the play.
He’s stout at the point of attack and rarely surrenders ground against base blocks, while showing the awareness to keep his eyes on the ball while working down the line of scrimmage.
Bronson Kaufusi is relentless in his pursuit and will chase down ball-carriers from the backside and consistently plays through the whistle.
Potential Fit with Buffalo Bills
Bronson Kaufusi would be a solid fit within Rex Ryan’s hybrid 3-4 defensive scheme. He can play as a two-gapping defensive end, a one-gapping three-technique in sub packages and has the athletic ability to stand-up as edge defender and drop into coverage or rush the passer. He’s a well-coached prospect that plays with good technique, using his hands and length to his advantage and shows the effort you want to see on every single snap he plays. The only real knock on him is his age (he’ll be 25 years old) and the fact that some teams will see him as a bit of a “tweener.” Nonetheless, Bronson Kaufusi is a talented player that will likely make a relatively big impact for whichever team selects him, regardless of scheme.