Explosiveness: Excellent first step allows for quick penetration and gap control. Wins as a 0- or 1-technique when he key the center's snap hand and immediately win by driving upfield and breaking his opponent's anchor. Has solid balance through the gap and can fight pressure with pressure to continue driving initial steps through his opponent. Closing burst is also evident in space -- has great pick-up for a man of his size. Stride length helps.
Short-Area Quickness: Limited player here. Can win off of the snap with a strong L-step to switch gaps or slant, but if he doesn't separate with agility initially, he rarely is able to work across face or challenge pass sets with quickness. Has very tight hips and an upright approach to the game; cannot use pressure to rush an angle or win with tilt.
Pass Rush Technique: Some solid hand usage allows him to separate from opponents and generate softer rush angles. Will work and re-work his hands when his opponents try to lock him out and can break most grips. Flashes an arm-over and a cross chop. Inability to work secondary counters is a big concern: does not work a hump move or a push-pull to adjust off of his initial shock of explosiveness and power off the gap. Has the requisite power to work these ideas; just doesn't show them often on film.
Leverage: Poor leverage leads to some issues. Doesn't get uprooted because he's just too thick and long but regularly surrenders initial hand placement. Will die on his bull rush because he's working from too high of an angle and regularly limits his own power by restricting his lower body by keeping his shoulders directly above his hips. Hip sink likely can't be improved given tightness.
Block Deconstruction: Disappointingly poor player here. Has the length, strength, and motor to win against most run blocks, combo blocks, and pass sets, but simply does not activate himself often enough to work to the backside of blocks to react to backfield motion. Doesn't seem like a mental processing issue, just seems like he's very married to gap disciplined and limited as a change of direction player. Far too content to play in close quarters and doesn't lockout with length. Upright approach allows him to get broadsided by combo blocks.
Lower-Body Power: Clearly has some rolling power to him and can uproot opponents when he uses his whole body. When he builds his house, he can hold up against double teams, but he's a bit narrow in his stance at times. That said, generally withstands down blocks or combo blocks and can swallow up double teams to free up second-level defenders. Lower-body power is minimized by stiff hips in the trenches.
Upper-Body Strength: Has clubs for hands and deals some devastating blows quickly off the snap. Can turn his opponents' shoulders and hips with strikes to generate soft angles as a rusher and breaks opponents' grips as well with clubs and chops. Has enough strength to ragdoll as a two-gap defender but doesn't secure a chest-plate grip and lockout as often as you'd hope.
Mental Processing: There may be some concern here. Seems late to react to backfield flow at times and will continue to penetrate in his gap when his job is already done and he could get involved in the backside of the play. This may just be a dedicated approach to gap discipline. Ability to feel backside pressure or read OL sets is hit or miss and he doesn't seem to work backside when he can tell he's getting pushed beyond his path.
Motor: Impressive motor. Will get involved in gang tackles just to add some 330+ pound oomph to the situation at hand. Gets on his horse as a pursuit player and has good speed to deal some crushing pursuit hits against unwitting cutback players. Doesn't seem to run out of gas late in games or drives.
Round Grade: Incomplete
Best Trait: Upper-Body Strength
Worst Trait: Leverage
NFL Comparison: Incomplete
Summary: Leki Fotu is a late Day 2/early Day 3 candidate for a team looking for a penetrating 1-technique rusher. Fotu has excellent explosiveness for a player of his size and can accordingly win quickly off the snap when aligned in a gap or head-up on the center, with strong hand usage in his rush moves and enough quickness/tackle radius to finish in the backfield. His stiffness and uprightness, however, limit him as a two-gap player despite having the ideal length/strength, and his struggles to cross face and work into backside gaps limits him to a penetrating role in the NFL. Fotu is ideally a rotational player in Year 1 with the ability to take over a starter's role by Year 3 as he continues to develop a pass-rush profile.