For scouts to pay much attention to programs with a limited track of producing draft-worthy talent, players have to dominate. That is precisely what Tavai did over four seasons at Hawaii, leaving the program ranked second all-time in tackles despite missing the final six games of the 2018 season due to a shoulder injury which required surgery.
Tavai's ability to recover in time to work out for scouts could be the biggest hurdle to his being drafted, but he was able to participate at Hawaii's pro day at UCLA in late March. He has been a proven difference-maker for the Warriors since stepping onto the field, starting 11 of 13 games as a true freshman and every game he was healthy since, leaving with 390 career stops, including 41 for loss and 16.5 sacks.
Possesses a legitimate NFL frame with broad shoulders and good overall weight distribution, including a thick lower half. Quick to read run, showing good key and diagnosis skills to step up and take on hard-charging blockers in the hole. Extends his arms to keep blockers away from his frame, showing good length and strength to stay clean on his way to the ball. Balanced and agile to fight through traffic, showing at least average speed to the flanks.
Good flexibility to dip under the reach of would-be blockers and is surprisingly fluid in scraping the corner. Core and hand strength show in his ability to fight off blocks and pull down ballcarriers while engaged. He is a bit more of a drag down 'rassler than a true striker, lacking the intimidation factor as a hitter that his size might suggest.
Durable performer before suffering a shoulder injury while being tackled from behind as he scored a touchdown on an interception return against Nevada. Worked hard to return in time to participate at Hawaii's pro day.
Athletic bloodlines. Two older brothers who also played D-I football, including J.R. Tavai, formerly from Southern Cal and the Tennessee Titans. Comes with character red flags that require investigating. Along with Hawaii teammate Kaiwi Chung, Tavai was arrested and charged with assault following an incident at a Honolulu nightclub.
Projection: Fifth Round
--Field Level Media