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Browns Breakdowns: What DT Tommy Togiai brings to the D-Line

Togiai’s strength is his calling card, and he could have a chance to show how it translates to the NFL sooner rather than later as a rookie

It doesn't take long to see the kind of strength Tommy Togiai brings to the defensive line when reviewing the tape from his 2020 season at Ohio State.

At 6-foot-1 and 300 pounds, Togiai's figure might not appear as imposing as other defensive tackles from the perspective of an offensive lineman, but don't be fooled — he's always been one of the strongest players on the field. With three sacks, 4.5 tackles for a loss and two passes defensed last year, Togiai was ripe for a team in need of a player capable of growing into a possible every-down starter.

That's why the Browns picked Togiai in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He's still just 21 years old, but he's proved his strength was already imposing enough to possibly make an impact early in the NFL, according to Dane Brugler, a draft analyst for The Athletic.

"The power he shows is really, really unique," Brugler said in a recent "Browns Breakdowns" video with Nathan Zegura. "I think one of the things we like about him is the effort. When he's on the field. He's going full speed the whole time."

Check out photos of the defensive linemen the Browns will be bringing into training camp

That observation is no surprise upon hearing what Togiai is capable of doing in the weight room. He completed 40 reps of 225 pounds, and 38 of them were lifted without any rest. His mark was tied for the best of all players who participated in Pro Days last spring.

The strength is on full display when Togiai attempts to motor through linemen. His upper-body power is tremendous, but he also knows how to properly use his feet to win at the point of contact and plow through any gaps to the quarterback.

One of the best examples from the tape was his final game with the Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff against Clemson, when Togiai recorded four tackles, three quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and a tipped pass.

"This was the game where he flexed his muscles," Brugler said. "He was the MVP of Ohio State's defense here against the run and the pass. It didn't matter — he was unstoppable."

So where will Togiai fit in his rookie season? There's a lot of work left to be completed at training camp until the answer arrives, but he's certainly a candidate to at least carve a considerable role in the rotation if he impresses. He'll likely receive lots of reps in preseason games as well, and with eight players vying for starting spots in a wide open defensive tackle competition, Togiai can't be ruled out as a rookie who could carve a big role with the Browns sooner rather than later.

But regardless of where he's first listed on the depth chart, it's a safe bet to believe Togiai will receive chances at some point throughout the regular season to show how his strength matches up against the top lineman in the league.

"I think he's going to be inside as more of that one-technique," Brugler said. "He's going to be stout first with the run. That'll be his bread and butter. When he's given opportunities to be that one-gap penetrator and use that initial quickness, it's not just power and it's not just quickness. He's a smart player. He understands blocking schemes. He understands what an offense is going to do.

"He was a three-year player and still has yet to play his best football. He's still a young player, and in the fourth round, you love to see the value there. He's going to get better and better with more coaching."