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Falcons player profile: DT Sailosi Latu

After a look at the projected starters, our player profile series now shifts to the depth on the Falcons roster. Next up is DT Sailosi Latu—a UDFA NT out of San Jose State with imposing size and above-average athleticism.

NCAA Football: San Jose State at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

We’re finally approaching the beginning of the 2020 NFL season, with only a few weeks left until the first games kick off. I’ll be continuing my Player Profile series in the meantime, where we’ll take a look at each of the players on Atlanta’s roster. I’ll break down their measurables, past production, and try to project their 2020 season with the Falcons.

After taking a look at the projected starters, we now turn our attention to the depth on the Falcons’ roster. Today I’ll be discussing DT Sailosi Latu—a UDFA NT out of San Jose State with imposing size and above-average athleticism.

DT Sailosi Latu

Age: 26

Contract: $610K cap hit in 2020, UDFA contract through 2022 ($761K APY), RFA in 2023

Career Production: 28 games played | 108 total tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1 PD

2019 Production: 12 games played | 54 total tackles, 2.5 TFL

Previous Teams: UDFA signed by the Atlanta Falcons (2020)

Measurables: 6’1, 310 | 5.05s 40-yard dash, 7.57s 3-cone, 4.64s 20-yard shuttle | 30” vertical jump, 109” broad jump

We’ve spent the last few days covering some of the UDFA DL remaining on the Falcons roster. Players like Austin Edwards and Hinwa Allieu, plus former UDFA Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, are all competing for a very limited number of spots on Atlanta’s 53-man roster. Today we take a look at another promising UDFA: San Jose State’s Sailosi Latu. Unlike the previous players we mentioned, Latu is a prototypical NT instead of a traditional DT or inside/outside tweener—and thus will be competing for a different niche on the roster.

Latu grew up in Tonga before eventually moving to the United States—if you’d like to hear more about his personal story, check out Evan Birchfield’s interview. He spent the first two years of his college career playing at Mt. San Antonio College before getting a scholarship offer at San Jose State in 2017. Latu earned a starting job immediately, starting 12 games and putting up 43 tackles and 1.0 TFL—impressive numbers for a NT. Latu played just 4 games in 2018 due to injury, but returned for a strong season in 2019. In 12 starts, Latu set career highs in total tackles (54, 29 solo) and TFL (2.5).

According to his Pro Day video—the only source of official measurements I could find—Latu weighed in at 6’1, 310. All other sources, including the Falcons official roster, list Latu at 6’3, so it’s possible the height could have been a typo. At any rate, Latu has tipped the scales at anywhere from 310 to 334, making him an imposing presence on the defensive line. Despite that size, Latu tested out as an above-average athlete in terms of speed, explosiveness, and agility. He’s purely a run-stuffing specialist at the NFL level, but that size and athleticism could give him an advantage over presumptive NT backup Deadrin Senat for a roster spot.

Projection: Sailosi Latu has a difficult path to a roster spot due to Atlanta’s stacked DT rotation, but his specialized role as a run-stuffing NT may actually help him. Latu is likely a more similar replacement for starting NT Tyeler Davison than former third-round pick Deadrin Senat, who is more of a penetration-focused 1T (similar to Grady Jarrett coming out). Because of that, Latu may have a legitimate shot at beating out Senat for the backup NT role.