As Homer (the Greek philosopher, not Simpson) once said, “After the event, even a fool is wise.” And here I am, the wise fool, to pick out a few draft picks who the Patriots could have taken instead of Keion White.
White was just fine for the Patriots and probably played more snaps than anyone expected after Matt Judon’s season-ending injury. But he was a second-round pick, and second-round picks are supposed to be better than just fine.
As a senior in college, he recorded 7.5 sacks in just 12 games. He didn’t transfer that pass-rushing ability to the pros. White recorded just one sack in 16 games in New England. And unfortunately for White, there were a lot of productive pass rushers taken after him in the draw.
Tuipolotu is a bit smaller than White (now, he weighed 290 lbs. in college as a DT, but the Chargers converted him to an OLB), and he’s also 3 years and seven months younger than White. It’s a bit of a mystery how Tuipolotu was allowed to drop all the way to the 54th pick.
Not only does Tuipulotu come from good NFL stock, but he also had a very successful college career at USC. His brother Marlon is a defensive tackle for the Eagles, and his uncle is Haloti Ngata. He’s also a cousin of the 49ers’ safety Talanoa Hufanga.
In his three years studying in California, he recorded 21 sacks and 32 tackles for a loss in his 31 games. More noticeably, he had 13.5 sacks and 22 tackles for a loss in his senior year.
Unsurprisingly, only Khalil Mack made more QB hits for the Chargers in the 2023 season. And only Mack, Joey Bosa, and Morgan Fox recorded more sacks than Tuipulotu this season.