by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Washington, Edge, Zion Tupuola-Fetui
Name- Zion Tupuola-Fetui
HT/WT- 6’4” 251 lbs.
Home – Pearl City, HI
Tupuola-Fetui played tight end and defensive end at Pearl City High School. He was invited to play in the 2018 Polynesian Bowl all-star game and was ESPN’s No. 75 outside linebacker in the nation. After, he committed to Washington to play football for the Huskies.
He took a redshirt in 2018 after playing in only 2 games but in 2019, Tupuola-Fetui played in 12 of the 13 games, mostly on special teams. He saw limited time on the defensive side of the ball and finished with 9 tackles. In the Covid-19 shortened season in 2020, Tupuola-Fetui was named first team All-PAC 12 and in just 4 games he was able to collect 13 tackles, 7 sacks and 1 forced fumble. In 2021, he missed the first 5 games of the season with an injury he sustained in spring practice and was limited to 9 tackles and 1 sack in his shortened season.
Last season, he played in all 13 games, starting 2 of them for Washington. He was named All-PAC 12 3rd team after finishing the season with 28 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He chose to use his extra season of eligibility and came back in 2023. So far in 11 games he has collected 26 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble.
Tupuola-Fetui possesses a quickness of the snap and a high end athletic ability that NFL teams like at the position. He moves smoothly when dropping into coverage and has a high motor, never taking a play off. He does a good job of engaging and shedding blockers consistently and although he’s sizable enough, he does have the frame to add 10-15 more pounds as he moves into the next level.
However, he has more hustle than athleticism and is going to be drafted as a 23-year-old who turns 24 by OTA’s. His age will affect where some teams see him on their draft boards. He works better moving north to south and struggles with agility and changing direction. He can lose his containment quickly with a quick back or quarterback cutting up from his edge, and he leaves tackles out on the field. sometimes not playing the correct pursuit angles.
Tupuola-Fetui’s play is reminiscent of Boye Mafe, a 2nd round pick out of Minnesota in the 2022 draft. Both players have size, reach and play with hustle. Mafe was able to help his draft stock at the combine and Draft 412 thinks Tupuola-Fetui has a chance to do the same. Tupuola-Fetui will not be a 2nd round pick but should hear his name called early in day 3.
Never takes play off
Zion Tupuola-Fetui is a 6th year senior who has enough size and skillset to get a team's attention in the front end of the draft. He is a streaky player with a motor and although he is on the older side, he should find himself a home early in day 3.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - 4th or 5th round