6’2 1/2, 341 pounds | Defensive tackle | Washington
Pass rush: Is better than most players his size at slipping blocks and getting into the backfield. Won’t surprise anyone with pass rush moves, but Ta’amu can hit gaps fairly well and has good short-area explosiveness when there’s an opening. Uses a decent bull rush. Hasn’t been used a lot to play the B-gap on stunts.
Pursuit/quickness: For a big defensive tackle, Ta’amu has good quickness and takes good pursuit angles. When a run plays works the edge, Ta’amu does a good job of positioning himself to work toward the sideline but not give up a cutback lane. Doesn’t run hot and cold with his effort.
Run defend: Is versatile in run defense in that he can hold up multiple blockers or split gaps. Moves around well to close the alley or get after the ball carrier. Because of all that, his best spot could be at end in a 3-4 system.
Strength: Doesn’t have quite the in-game power you’d expect from such a big defensive tackle. Got pushed around far too often during his senior year and played more like a 3-4 end than a 4-3 or 3-4 tackle. Still, he’s strong enough to take on double teams and hold his own.
Tackling: Ball carriers have difficulty shaking Ta’amu when he gets a hold of them. Has the strength to stop a running back with one hand as they come through the hole. Can be a scary tackler when he gets moving straight ahead.
Technique: Will get upright in his stance and will bend at the waist instead of the knees. If Ta’amu doesn’t consistently come out of his stance low, it negates his natural size and power. Knows how to use his hands properly to shed blockers. Maintains his balance well when occupying blockers.
Final word: When a defensive tackle is this big, the expectation is that the player is an immovable object in the middle. Coming out of Temple, the knock on Terrance Knighton was that he didn't play quite as strong as his size may suggest. The same thing can be said of Ta'amu. Also like Knighton, Ta'amu is a better athlete than you'd expect and gets off his blocks fairly easily. There is also some versatility in how they can be used. Coming out, Knighton played both one- and zero-technique, much like Ta'amu was at Washington. While Ta’amu could hold up as a 3-4 nose tackle, he’s not quite as natural there as his measurables suggest.
Started 40 games at Washington, playing in 50 total. Finished his career with 109 tackles, nine sacks and 19 tackles for loss.