Patriots fans have become accustomed to the ever present undrafted free agent (UDFA) on the roster. Every opening day roster since 2004 has seen one or more UDFA’s, a total of 34 players over that span. This year there are 16 Patriot hopefuls looking to extend the streak and make the final 53. Let’s take a look at each player and how they can make the roster.
Take a look at our previous profiles here:
- Rashod Berry, TE/DE, Ohio State
- De’Jon “Scoota” Harris, LB, Arkansas
- Brian Lewerke, QB, Michigan State
- Bill Murray, DT, William and Mary
- Nick Coe, DE, Auburn
If you follow me on Twitter, you know that this week was a busy one. First I made a special guest appearance on the Patriot Nation Podcast with Pat Lane and Ryan Spagonli — check it out here. Then, the NFL just completely ripped off my (very original and not at all inspired by anyone else) idea of tiering things.
Finally, I fell in love with an undersized linebacker out of San Diego State University named Kyahva Tezino, who just so happens to be the newest subject of the UDFA profiles.
Tezino comes to New England after captaining the No. 2 defense in all of college football last season in terms of points allowed per game (12.7). He was also named the SDSU MVP in both 2018 and 2019. He totaled 290 tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles in his 48 games as an Aztec. For many it is a wonder why he went undrafted. That is especially true for fans of the mountain west, who saw him dominate their teams year in and year out in his college career.
An explanation for the question of why he went undrafted can probably be found when you look at his measurables. Standing at only 6’0” and weighing 235 lbs he doesn’t fit the mold of a prototypical linebacker. As has become the norm in the NFL, college production doesn’t guarantee anything.
Speaking of college production, I bet you’re wondering what Tezino looked like at San Diego State. If you followed me on Twitter you’d have your answer, but since I’m in a nice mood I'll show you my break down:
Here’s a quick video of him bench pressing a double team and popping the running back before he even hits the hole. A king. pic.twitter.com/7zrhP9LjNc— keagan (@KeaganStiefel) June 22, 2020
“Hey Siri, what does timing a blitz perfectly look like?” pic.twitter.com/ViTdhdWBRx— keagan (@KeaganStiefel) June 22, 2020
Last one here. Tezino starts in coverage and notices the play breaking down. Does a good job fighting through traffic and making the play. pic.twitter.com/ynsg0oObBG— keagan (@KeaganStiefel) June 22, 2020
There are a lot of things to like about Tezino, he brings an unfamiliar skill set than what we’ve seen in recent seasons but plays a similar game to Elandon Roberts, which is perfect because it looks like that is the role he is projected to compete to fill. Tezino, DeJon “Scoota” Harris and Cassh Maluia are all competing for one reserve spot in the middle of the defense, Tezino will have to show the qualities that made him a captain and team MVP at SDSU early and often if he wants to win the job.
Personally, I think he’s got as good a shot as anyone.