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Chargers 90-in-90: DT Breiden Fehoko

Can this fan favorite carve out a role for himself this summer?

NFL: AUG 24 Chargers Training Camp Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As a senior at Farrington High School, Fehoko was a dominate player along the defensive line. In his final year, he tallied 74 tackles, a staggering 27 tackles-for-loss, 16 sacks, and six forced fumbles. He was named a five-star recruit by Scout.com and a four-star by Rivals and ESPN. He was named the 51st-ranked player in the ESPN 300 and was an invitee to the Under Armour All-American Game.

His career started at Texas Tech where he played his first two seasons. He started all 25 games for the Red Raiders, collecting 46 tackles, 7.5 for loss, two sacks, and an interception across that span. As a freshman, he was named an Honorable Mention All-Big 12 selection.

Fehoko then transferred to LSU but had to sit out the entire 2017 season due to NCAA restrictions. In 2018, he started eight games and missed four due to injury. Among hose eight starts, Fehoko played six at tackle and two at end. He finished his junior year with 16 tackles, three tackles-for-loss, and 1.5 sacks.

In his final year with the Tigers, Fehoko played mainly in a reserve role with four stats in 15 games. He finished the season with a career-high six tackles-for-loss among 17 total stops and a half a sack.

The 6’2, 291-pound defender became a fan favorite during his time in Death Valley after him and family made it a tradition to perform the traditional Haka dance while the team made their way into the stadium. A really cool fact I learned is that Breiden’s father Vili was the live mascot for the University of Hawaii for 10 years. As a child, Breiden joined his father occasionally on the field during halftime performances.

Unfortunately, he was not one of the 16 players from LSU invited to the NFL combine. However, Fehoko went the extra mile and recorded interviews of himself answering the common questions he expected be have been asked would he have been invited.

After going undrafted in last year’s draft, Fehoko was signed as one of 19 undrafted free agents by the Chargers. He saw time in two games on the active roster but recorded no statistics in his rookie season.

Basic Info

Height: 6’3
Weight: 300
College: Texas Tech/LSU
Experience: 1
Years with team: 1

Contract Status

“Breiden Fehoko signed a 2 year, $1,485,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including an average annual salary of $742,500. In 2021, Fehoko will earn a base salary of $660,000, while carrying a cap hit of $660,000.” - Spotrac.com

The Good

Behind Linval Joseph, Fehoko is the next best option as a true nose tackle. 2021 UDFA Forrest Merrill is also in the mix but his lack of size (6’0) may be a problem in the end.

For starters, he’s incredibly strong, just from a weight room standpoint. LSU head coach Ed Oregeron saw him working out one day prior to him transferring to Death Valley and he noted just how immediately enthralled he was with his potential. His work ethic seems to be on par right where you want it for a player without high expectations and he seems to be a great locker room. Whether any of that can be parlayed into a successful NFL career remains to be seen, however.

The Bad

One of the biggest things Fehoko needed to improve upon after signing with the Chargers was his ability as a pass rusher. When he was featured on Hard Knocks, former coach Anthony Lynn made a note to the former Tiger that his pass-rush repertoire should be the biggest point of focus in his rookie season.

Coming out of LSU in last year’s draft, NFL.com noted that he lacks the necessary mass to play his position at a high level while also not possessing the coveted short-area quickness to be successful at the next level. it also didn’t help that he was a rotational player for most of his playing career.

Right now, it seems like too many things are fighting against him, but only time will tell whether he’s able to overcome them.

Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2021?

I think Fehoko is a sure-thing for the practice squad and may end up making the active roster should he progress enough in his second training camp. The depth along the interior is rather rickety and there’s definitely room for a player or two to surprise the coaching staff. Behind the starting three, plus veteran Christian Covington, I think it’s a wide-open competition on the inside.