NFL Draft Profile: San Diego State ILB Kyahva Tezino

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The Los Angeles Rams are undergoing a defensive scheme and regime change. With that being said, former Pro Bowl starting inside linebacker Cory Littleton has departed via free agency. That leaves the Rams set to start Micah Kiser, a former fifth-round pick and one of their young crop of inexperienced talent. While the Rams have talent and potential at the position, one could make the argument that they will need to look in the NFL Draft early on for a replacement to Littleton.

Here’s a linebacker in the draft who could possess some value to the depth chart, Kyavha Tezino.

Interview

College Bio

Kyahva Tezino was a four-star recruit coming out of high school. He redshirted his freshman year and followed that year played in 11 games out of 14 mostly on special teams. The following redshirt-sophomore season Tezino started five games. His junior season he was named to the first-team All-Mountain West team. His senior season he was an honorable-mention All-American by PFF.

Measurables

Height: 6’0
Weight: 236

Strengths

Tezino is a true leader in the middle. He possesses the alpha male mentality you want your inside linebacker to have. He’s a quick mental processor and has no trouble reading and reacting. Very good athlete that showcases his short-area burst and lateral agility in space. A three-year starter at San Diego State and someone that got better every year there. Has some serious pop behind his pads and can finish tackles solo. Always seems to be in complete control of himself, keeps the over pursuit plays in check and displays spacial awareness. Can help a special teams unit in a pinch. Solid floor in coverage and a great blitzing linebacker. Exceptional gap-shooting linebacker that can stifle the backfield. Steps up his game in clutch situations and is a menace in short-yardage situations.

Weaknesses

Tezino is not adept in coverage, while he has a solid floor there are still many areas he needs to improve on. Is a little on the stiff side and has trouble in deeper coverage reps. His man coverage skills are not up to par to cover the likes of a starting NFL tight end yet. Despite his athleticism, he doesn’t display a great deal of range to get from sideline-to-sideline at will. He tends to take poor angles to the ball-carrier. Can get absolutely bullied by bigger and stronger offensive linemen. Needs to improve his ability to deconstruct blocks and focus on being more aggressive than passive versus blockers.

Three Plays on Tape

Development

Kyahva Tezino is a potential future starting linebacker in the NFL. He offers the mentality, the athleticism and work-ethic you need in a starter. Tezino operates well as a gap-shooting linebacker that has the versatility to challenge in coverage and rush the passer. He can come in day one and compete for a job in training camp and he might even win that competition. This man never acts like a follower, never acts like a sidekick, he’s a true defensive leader. He’s got some serious hard-hitting ability that will make him a missile on special teams. He does need to develop his overall game, he needs to get better in coverage, particularly in man coverage and deeper zones but he has a lot going for him to project him as a future starter in this league.

Draft Grade: 4th round

Bottom Line

Tezino finds himself as a mid-draft pick that can come in and offer contributions in his first year. As mentioned before, I do see him as a future starter. He’s going to need to develop his coverage skills but in the meantime, he can contribute in a sub-package and special teamer role. It works well to have an alpha male mentality on your team and Tezino doesn’t plan on changing his mind anytime soon. Due to this, I see him as a potential running mate next to Micah Kiser for the Rams. He may not be the best in any category but I project him to develop in coverage and turn out to be quite the player.

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