Where does Ohio State EDGE J.T. Tuimoloau settle in the 2024 NFL Draft edge rusher class? The Buckeyes’ defender has been reasonably productive in his three years in Columbus, but what more does he need to show evaluators to give himself a chance at Round 1 capital?
J.T. Tuimoloau Draft Profile and Measurements
- Height: 6’4″
- Weight: 277 pounds
- Position: Edge Rusher
- School: Ohio State
- Current Year: Junior
Two things have always been selling points on Tuimoloau’s profile: Talent and playmaking ability.
Tuimoloau was a five-star recruit in the 2021 class. Not only that, but he was a top-five national prospect on multiple platforms. As a junior in 2019, before the COVID-shortened 2020 season, he logged 11 sacks and established himself as a potential NFL talent.
Thus far in his career at Ohio State, Tuimoloau has only confirmed his professional trajectory. In 2021, he logged 3.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss as a true freshman. And in 2022, he broke out with 28 tackles, 10.5 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions (including a pick-six), four pass deflections, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
Of course, with Tuimoloau, the question has never been whether or not he’ll play in the NFL. That part is obvious. The question is: How high will he be picked? Should he declare for the 2024 NFL Draft, we can give our best projection based on his evaluation below.
J.T. Tuimoloau Scouting Report
- Has rare mass and density for an edge rusher, but also has good length and leverage.
- Has excellent initial explosive capacity and can rapidly accelerate with knee drive.
- Can bait OTs into setting inside with sudden jab-steps, flashing good cylindrical twitch.
- Has a modest degree of ankle flexion and can play with lean while combating blocks.
- Flashes excellent short-area freedom and fluidity-levying spin moves off inside counters.
- With combined length and frame density, has exceptional raw power capacity.
- Has the overwhelming power drive to plow tackles backward and squeeze the pocket.
- Can absorb power at contact with his composite strength and prevent displacement.
- Can set the edge, stack, shed, and rip through run blocks to occlude gaps.
- Has great leverage and angle awareness as a run defender and can align his base.
- Has shown he can execute bull-rushes and can torque his hips through extensions.
- Flashes high-level coordination and efficiency when stacking rushing moves.
- Can employ synergy with his hands and attack angles and supplement with euro-steps.
- Can feign long arms, then violently club extensions and seal with rip moves.
- Motor, sharp instincts, and a nose for the football make him a constant playmaking threat.
- Visibly lacks great ankle flexion and hip flexibility and can’t often sink below the apex.
- Has a noticeable limit on his sink capacity and rarely sustains finesse-oriented rushes.
- Slight hip stiffness limits his recovery capacity on inside and outside counters.
- Sometimes lacks a plan as a pass rusher beyond initial power.
- Despite high-level pass-rushing flashes, is still very inconsistent with execution.
- Can be more consistent in maximizing applied force with proper base alignment.
- Extension placement and timing can be inconsistent on interior stunts.
- Poor hand placement and load efficiency prevent him from capitalizing on widened OTs.
- The pad level drifts high at times, which can expose his torso to opposing extensions.
- Struggles to sustain acceleration while processing information and delineating moves.
- Doesn’t always have the hand strength to break anchors from domineering tackles.
- Doesn’t have elite pursuit speed in space and takes faulty pursuit angles at times.
Current Draft Projection and Summary
Ahead of the season, Tuimoloau was graded as a Day 2 prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft, with Round 1 aspirations. Midway through, he’s still a Day 2 prospect, but his development feels it’s stalling out somewhat. There’s still more that Tuimoloau needs to show before he can realize his Round 1 upside.
MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Big Board
There’s no denying the talent with Tuimoloau. He’s a former five-star recruit with elite explosive capacity at 6’4″, 277 pounds. His combination of size and burst grants him dominating power capacity, alignment flexibility, and stance versatility. And when properly applied, his power can bowl over opposing tackles and suffocate quarterbacks of space.
Beyond his physical foundation, Tuimoloau is also a stalwart run defender with impressive strength, quickness, and angle IQ, and a productive, instinctive playmaker on the football. But that’s where the operational strengths start to run dry.
Tuimoloau lacks high-end flexibility and bend, which hurts him. In run defense, he can struggle to quickly pry free of blocks after deconstructing anchors. And as a pass rusher, he’s very limited in his attempts to bend underneath the apex, reduce his surface area, and roll his hips through the corner.
Without great functional bend, Tuimoloau needs a heightened degree of technical refinement to succeed, and right now, he doesn’t quite have that, either. There are flashes of high-level hand usage and synergy on his tape, but his placement, timing, and overall pass-rushing plan are inconsistent.
It’s refreshing, at the very least, that Tuimoloau has showcased the capacity to stack rushing moves and execute successful counters. But until he becomes a truly consistent technician on the attack, he’ll be a tools-rich developmental Day 2 player with limitations that stem from his lack of bend.
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