Film Room: NT Breiden Fehoko Is Dollar Menu Beef In The Middle

Omar Khan and the Pittsburgh Steelers made a pair of moves Thursday, inking safety Keanu Neal and nose tackle Breiden Fehoko to contracts. Josh Carney will cover what the team is getting with Neal and I’m covering Fehoko, the less heralded and more unknown player. Undrafted out of LSU, he’s spent the last three years with the Los Angeles Chargers, appearing in 19 games.

So what does he offer Pittsburgh? As I like to do, let’s break his game down in the good and bad with some final thoughts and of course, showing you the tape.

Breiden Fehoko/DL LSU – 6026, 301 lbs. (26 years old)

The Good

— Functionally strong and can hold point of attack when playing with proper pad level
— Experience as a nose tackle/shad in a 3-4 system, used on run stunts
— Able to secure gap when asked to one-gap
— Flashes active hands and ability to club off blocks in run game to quickly win and force runner to change paths
— Lacks great length but able to use arms to create space in run game
— Utilizes wrap and roll tackle to finish plays

Fehoko hasn’t played a ton of football so and the strengths here are pretty simple and straight-forward. He isn’t a huge guy but he shows strength and ability to hold the point of attack when he plays with the correct technique. You can see him here be able to hold the point of attack and get off the block to make the tackle. A nice rep. Watch him over LG, #75, here.

His flashiest moments come in the run game. Though he lacks athleticism or quickness, Fehoko shows active hands and the ability to win off the line before linemen can latch on and drive him. There are moments on tape when he’s able to quickly discard a block and occupy his gap, mostly in one-gap situations. Couple of examples and the best plays I saw on tape. He’s #96 in these clips. In the first one, watch him over center.

Now onto the bad.

The Bad

— Offers nothing as a pass rusher, unimpressive get-off when the ball is snapped
— Limited foot speed and can’t close space to take runners down
— Leans on blockers as a pass rusher and aside from occasional swipe, gets stuck on blocks and doesn’t have athleticism to get around or chase quarterbacks
— Limited to base 3-4 personnel only, removed in sub-packages
— Needs more consistent pad level and plays tall, causing him to play on his heels and get washed

Fehoko really is a classic plugger who offers nothing as a pass rusher. Evident by zero sacks in over 400 defensive snaps, though many of them were run downs/run plays. Still, the tape shows him as a non-athlete too often and easily stuck on his blocks. Watch him over center on these two pass plays.

In the run game, he can play too tall and get washed out. He’s strong but doesn’t have an incredible anchor either and has below average length for the position, 32 1/8 inch arms. He will get bullied out of his gap from time to time. In the first clip against Denver, he’s blocked by the RG.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Fehoko is very cheap – hence dollar menu – depth. The contract is probably for the minimum and it’s hard to be upset at the signing. Nose tackle is thin and getting a guy with some NFL snaps, and it’s not like he’s played only 30 of them, is useful. But this move, like adding Neal, doesn’t change the Steelers’ draft plans at all. At least it shouldn’t. Fehoko will still have to fight for a roster spot next year and his limited position flexibility and skillset will work against him. He has a L.T. Walton vibe but more of a nose tackle than Walton, he was a bit more of a defensive end.

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