2020 Raiders Draft Prospect
Name: Leki Fotu
Position: Defensive Tackle
School: The University of Utah
Weight: 330 pounds
When right, Fotu generates a pocket-destroying force. He forklifts blockers too far on their toes. Where Fotu can become a constant problem at the next level is preventing pad rise. Given his strength, if Fotu stays behind his pads, his coil will significantly alter the play. This adjustment, while minute, will work wonders for him.
Based on his frame, Fotu stops the target instantly. While not technically sounds, when you are his size, you don’t need to be precise. If he grabs the ballcarrier, they stop, cold. Nothing fancy, just a grab and stop. Forcing three fumbles as Ute shows how much of a foundation for Fotu to build on.
With his power and explosion, Fotu owns the foundation to build upon this trait. Without a doubt, we expect the bull rush to be his bread and butter. Yet, with his height and presumed arm length, a good club move could help him. More importantly, he’s not the stereotypical space eater. With technical adjustment and sound coaching (looking at Rod Marinelli). What he does is use accurate hands to win the one-on-one. He centers his palms and uses hip drop and leg drive. Despite his height, Fotu doesn’t play long-legged.
The Las Vegas Raiders watched the a division rival and former Bay Area contemporay compete in the Super Bowl. More importantly, the attention given to the interior of the defensive line stood out. Names like Buckner, Nnadi, Armstead and Jones collapsed the pocket, allowing the ends to get home. Meanwhile, the Raiders lack a tackle to free up the three-technique and ends. As a result, teams will thrive versus the Vegas front four. Maurice Hurst and PJ Hall are three-technique tackles that need to play alongside a presence to control the interior. Granted, Johnathan Hankins still has one more year on his contract, Fotu could easily supplant him in camp. Merely being a big body on the defensive line isn’t enough anymore. Occupying blockers and disrupting the center of the pocket can no longer remain mutually exclusive.
If you are thinking Fotu would resemble Domata Peko, stop. That is a lazy narrative based on a fallacy. First, Peko is Samoan, Fotu is of Tongan descent. They are not the same. Next, they’re different stylistically. Fotu is much taller and a bit more nimble. The background in rugby helped. The Las Vegas Raiders need strength in the middle, with the ability to flash into the backfield. Fotu may look the part of a plodding earthmover, but he will give the Raiders some internal relief. Meanwhile, Mo Hurst and PJ Hall will feast on the single blocking. Versus the run, Fotu should force the running backs east and west, by driving the guards into the lap of the back. In Round Three, the Raiders could make this move happen.