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Goliath Pass Rusher Bronson Kaufusi Has Ravens Tie

Posted Feb 5, 2016

DC Dean Pees would have a blast plugging in the giant pass rusher virtually all over the defensive line.

After meeting with Ravens media post-practice at the Senior Bowl, pass rusher Bronson Kaufusi turned back and yelled across the field.

“Hey,” Kaufusi screamed out. “Tell Dennis Pitta I can’t wait to beat him on the basketball court again!”

His wait wouldn’t last long if the Ravens decide to pull the trigger on the Kaufusi during the 2016 NFL Draft in April. He’s projected to go between the second and third rounds.

Kaufusi and Pitta both hail from Brigham Young University, where they gained squeaky clean images after serving two-year church missions.

Kaufusi may have the upper hand in a basketball match, as he was good enough to play on the Cougars’ basketball team as a freshman before focusing completely on football.

For those who have never seen or heard of Kaufusi, perhaps opposing Utah State Head Coach Matt Wells gives the best introduction. He called 6-foot-7, 281-pound Kaufusi a “modern-day Goliath,” and said “y’all be scared” just looking at him in pre-game warmups.

Kaufusi brings more than just gigantic size to his repertoire.

Originally recruited as a tight end, Kaufusi is freakishly athletic, surprising nimble and isn’t afraid of contact. As the son of longtime BYU Defensive Line Coach Steve Kaufusi, Bronson’s technique already has some polish and touts an impressive variety of pass-rush moves.

“Pass rush is something I absolutely love and something that I can continue to get better at,” Kaufusi said. “That’s my favorite thing about football – just getting after the quarterback.”

Kaufusi produced more and more for the Cougars in each year of his collegiate career. He went from 37 tackles as a sophomore, to 43 as a junior and 64 as senior (20 for a loss). He added 11 sacks his final year, along with six quarterback hits, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, an interception, two pass breakups and four blocked kicks. 

Those 11 sacks were ninth best in the country. He got after the quarterback from virtually every defensive line spot, including the five-, three-, or one-technique or way outside. He has a massive wingspan of 79½-inches to keep blockers at bay and to swat down balls at the line of scrimmage.

That versatility is something that NFL defenses, including the Ravens, covet. As the Ravens look to bolster their pass rush in 2016, Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees would have a blast getting creative with Kaufusi.

“I feel like I’m really versatile,” Kaufusi said. “I feel like I can be a defensive end for them, if that’s what they want. Or I can be a stand-up guy for them and rush off the edge in that way. Really whatever they want, that’s what I’ll do.”

Kaufusi has some work to do when he drops back in pass coverage. While he has good speed and agility for his size, he can become a liability against shifty receivers in pass defense.

He was praised by his Senior Bowl coach and Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley for standing out in the classroom as one who paid close attention to details and kept a notebook handy to ensue he didn’t miss a thing. It was clear that the Senior Bowl experience meant a lot to Kaufusi, and he knew exactly what type of impression he wanted to leave.

“[I want to be known as] someone who makes plays,” Kaufusi said. “That’s what it’s all about and that’s what I want [coaches] to know me by.

“Also, [I’m] someone who just wants to be their best all the time. Someone that sacrifices their time and energy so that I can be my best for the guys next to me.”

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