Jay Tufele Draft Prospect Profile and Scouting Report

USC Defensive Lineman Jay Tufele is profiled in advance of the 2021 NFL Draft

Name: Jay Tufele

School: USC

Year: Sr

Position: Interior Defensive Lineman

Measurements:  6’2” & 310 lbs

 

STATS:

 

 

General Info:

A 4-star prospect out of South Jordan, Utah, Jay Tufele was the fourth-rated defensive tackle in the 2017 class, and there is a greater than zero chance that he’ll be the first one of that class taken in this upcoming draft. Tufele saw offers from coast-to-coast including power programs like Michigan, Ohio St. and LSU. Tufele ultimately chose USC over the others, and that’s worked out well for his personal draft case.

In two seasons of play, Tufele improved across the board. He registered greater numbers in solo and assisted tackles, total tackles, tackles for loss and sacks from Year 1 to Year 2. Tufele elected to sit out the 2020 season in preparation for the NFL draft along with the caution of Covid-19 after a number of family members dealing with the effects of the illness If he had played during the 2020 season, it would have been interesting to see how he would have progressed in a USC program that ranked as high as 13 throughout the year and came up just seven points short of a Pac-12 championship that was their lone loss of the season.

Tufele is going to be a favorite of NFL teams during the pre-draft process due to his maturity and ability to interview well. Throw in his impressive pro day numbers, he’ll be punching for a top-three spot at the position with some of the other top options putting up inconsistent performances throughout their own pro days.

 

Positional Skills:

When you turn on the tape for Tufele, the first thing you’re going to notice is his motor. From the time the ball is snapped until the whistle blows, Tufele is constantly running. He had multiple instances of chasing down plays going away from him that plenty of other defensive linemen in this class would have let go. While he didn’t always get there to make the play, he was always hustling to get himself in position. He had a coach tell him, “Jay, if you don’t get tired, you’re going to make more plays than you can imagine.” That clearly stuck with him based on how hot his motor was running on an every-snap basis.

Tufele’s strength and activity level require opposing blockers to devote extra attention to him. In the running game specifically, he commands a double team on just about every play which helps to free up the linebackers that are crashing down behind him. He has the scheme versatility to play in either a traditional two-gap system or as a penetrating rusher in a one-gap system. His first-step quickness is impressive to say the least, and that get-off, specifically on passing downs, allows him to get potential blockers on the back foot before they’re ready for him which gives him a big advantage. In pass-rush situations, he has violent hands with a good amount of power that allows him to win the majority of his 1-on-1 battles.

The major concern with Tufele is going to be his processing. There were instances of him losing the ball in the backfield when there was a lot of motion with the receivers or other players in the backfield which will be a major focus for him to improve upon at the next level with the amount of motion that the majority of teams use. His motor allows him to stay in on plays that he misreads, but he could make better plays with better processing once the ball has been snapped. Tufele will also need to work on his pad level at the NFL level as there were times that he would play too high which gives the blockers an easier target to block with an easier opportunity to establish leverage when blocking.

 

Fit with the Packers:

Tufele would be a great fit with Green Bay alongside nose tackle Kenny Clark to give them an upgrade over players like Dean Lowry and Montravius Adams, who is now with the New England Patriots. Tufele is the type of player that fits perfectly in the mold of the defensive linemen that new defensive coordinator Joe Barry is looking for with his speed and explosiveness allowing him to win 1-on-1 pass-rush reps, which is a necessity in Barry’s scheme.

Along with his success in rushing the passer, Tufele can soak up multiple blockers to give linebackers room to pursue runners coming out of the backfield. Since Green Bay first switched to a base 3-4 scheme under Dom Capers in the 2009 season, they’ve asked their down lineman to focus on soaking up blockers more than rushing the passer. While Tufele can do both, his success in run defense is what would get him snaps early on while most rookies are focusing on figuring out that aspect of the game.

Clark often faces multiple blockers on every play because the other down-linemen don’t command as much attention. Tufele would change that, and, as we’ve seen with teams such as the San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, you can never have too many pass rushers. The more highly productive defensive linemen that you have makes every other player’s job easier which puts more pressure on the offense to block more rushers with fewer guys. If Tufele were to fall to the Packers at the end of the second round, he would get a hard look from GM Brian Gutekunst.

 

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5 points

Comments (12)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
stockholder's picture

March 27, 2021 at 05:45 pm

The more highly productive defensive linemen that you have makes every other player’s job easier. Boy do you have that right. But Gute doesn't draft DL early. I just don't see him selecting him. I believe a sleeper will be picked later. unfortunately.

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MarkinMadison's picture

March 27, 2021 at 06:52 pm

All signs seem to point to CB, so doing a head-fake and picking up Tufele at the end of the first feels like a Packers move, if he is there. I don't think he will be there though. Highlight film is obviously a distortion, but there are a couple of plays here that are pretty striking.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTmEQUMEsx0

5 points
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splitpea1's picture

March 27, 2021 at 08:01 pm

Sold! Love the last paragraph! Besides, now that we let M. Adams slip away to New England, you think maybe Tufele can give us a little better return for our hopeful investment?

2 points
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packerbackerjim's picture

March 27, 2021 at 08:41 pm

Is there a reason stats are from someone at FSU unless it was a serious typo.

4 points
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gracewmuinamo's picture

March 28, 2021 at 01:54 am

i like the project

2 points
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HankScorpio's picture

March 28, 2021 at 06:33 am

I'm just an idiot trying to casually follow along from my couch. I do believe DL is as big of a need as any on the team. But I'm less certain that the draft class quality will allow help to be added. I think the most likely scenario they get help is by adding a effective snap-eater for the rotation in the 4th.

Tufele is the 4th DL by draft industrial complex consensus, #71 overall according to NFL Mock Database dot com. That makes him a 3rd rounder by consensus. But I don't believe the 4th DT will last until the 3rd round, much less the end of the 3rd round.

You cannot force filling a need by overdrafting for it. That's just wasting a pick.

2 points
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PeteK's picture

March 28, 2021 at 08:56 am

Shelvin or McNeil should be available in the 3rd, and they will be viable run stuffers. I enjoy watching a good NG at work. They don't get the stats and notice, but help the rest of the defense. Our last two SBs had Brown and Raji.

1 points
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MikeS's picture

March 28, 2021 at 10:22 am

A good day 2 possibility to pair with Kenny Clark.

2 points
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PhantomII's picture

March 28, 2021 at 08:38 pm

First the post box statistics says school was Florida State, not USC. Big guy moves really well. Looks like an ideal DL next to Clark. Should start immediately as nobody else on DL would push him unless Keke really does some post season work and puts on a few pounds of muscle. I don't think he makes it half way thru round 2, honestly.
If Gute is unable to get top DL in the draft. I can see him getting top 3 CB in RD 1. Gute will never...ever use a 2022 #1 pick so DL may be addressed in RD 3. I predict WR in RD 2. Either way a good CB will cover a WR and let the pass rush get there as well as good DL getting a push up the middle. We need both. Either way helps incrementally.

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Kendie's picture

March 29, 2021 at 04:26 am

Wow cool!

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Kendie's picture

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Kendie's picture

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