Defensive linemen spoke with the media today and Stanford defensive tackle Sione Fua was one such player. He weighed in today at 308 pounds, which teams consider a bit undersized for a 3-4 nose tackle. The nose tackle is meant to take up blockers and is often upwards of 320 or 330. Fua addressed concerns about his size in a couple of contexts:
Fua weighed in at 308 pounds and said he’s been told by many teams he’ll need to add more weight. Fua said his focus pre-draft is to show teams how athletic he is for his size. “I’m focused on looking fluid in the drills, like an athlete,” he said. “Really, a lot of my training was focusing on the agility tests.”
After weighing in at 307 pounds last month, Fua was 308 today and acknowledged that NFL teams seemed to want him a little bigger. His size, however, was perfect for Fangio’s Stanford defense in which he sometimes played nose tackle in a 3-4, sometimes played defensive tackle in a 4-3, was asked to penetrate on some and held back on others. Fua said he was shooting for 33 or 34 reps of 225 lbs. on the bench press.
It will be interesting to see if the 49ers are a team that looks at Fua in the middle rounds of the draft. The team has some question marks at nose tackle, particularly given the uncertainty surrounding free agency. Much could depend on the kind of defense Fangio envisions at the NFL level. A smaller defensive tackle would likely have more success in college than in the NFL, which would make a guy like Fua not all that undersized at the collegiate level. We’ll see if Fangio thinks he can duplicate that system at the NFL level.