As I’ve said in my first article: Hidden Gems Series: Charles Snowden III, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter at @bears_atb or @ryfootballscout for any questions regarding Chicago Bears football. In the second installment of my “Hidden Gems” series, we will go over Khyiris Tonga, a 7th round draft pick by the Chicago Bears. Grab your favorite beer, cocktail, or cup of coffee and let’s dive in.
Khyiris Tonga, BYU
Defensive Tackle — 6’2” — 330 lbs.
Khyiris Tonga was a two-star defensive tackle out of Granger High school in Salt Lake City, Utah. Tonga has played in forty-seven career college games for Brigham Young University, compiling 130 total tackles and eight and a half sacks. Tonga saved his best year for last when he accounted for three and a half sacks and five pass deflections, both season highs for his career. Tonga was selected in the seventh round, 250th overall, by the Chicago Bears.
Khyiris Tonga is a classic nose tackle, similar to Eddie Goldman. Tonga is stout against the run and consistently is able to shed the offensive lineman’s block to get to the ball carrier. He is sometimes too upright after the snap allowing the offensive lineman to get lower than him, this makes the offensive lineman’s job much easier. The old saying “The low man wins” is absolutely true inside the trenches. Using your hips and thighs to push back the opposing lineman is crucial for both the offensive and defensive linemen, the lower the lineman is the more he is able to use his hip and thigh muscles to push back the opposing lineman. Tonga must learn to get lower after the snap. Tonga did not have much production as a pass rusher for BYU, yet there were flashes where he showed great acceleration and quickness after the snap when he was asked to attack the A-gap instead of the offensive center in front of him.
Desai will most likely stick with implementing an “odd-front” which is what the Bears have run since Vic Fangio came in to town in 2015. This means the bears will have a defensive lineman lined up directly over the offensive center. Eddie Goldman plays the position Khyiris Tonga played in college. I do not see Tonga as anything besides a nose tackle, meaning his role in 2021 will most likely be as a back-up or 3rd string depth piece. However, if Tonga impresses I could see him pushing Eddie Goldman out of Chicago in 2022 or 2023 as Goldman’s salary cap of $11.8 million in 2022 and $11.4 million in 2023 could force Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears to cut him which would approximately save them $8.8 million in 2022 or $9 million in 2023 cap space.
Overall, Khyiris Tonga should be able to stick on this roster as a backup to Eddie Goldman in 2021, while improving his technique as an anchor at the line of scrimmage and working on not getting pushed back by offensive linemen as often. Tonga will prove to be a steal for Chicago if he is ever a full-time starter for them and I believe he has the ability to be that and possibly more, if he improves as a pass rusher as well.
Thank you to everyone who read this quick dive into Khyiris Tonga. Be sure to keep a look out for more upcoming articles! Like, Retweet, Share, and Follow me: @ryfootballscout on Twitter as well! We will be churning out much more articles so stay plugged in by following us @bears_atb on Twitter as well, peace!