Photo of J.R. Tavai

Combine Results

5.14 ?
  • 4.91 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 20 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 30.5 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 112.0 INCH
    Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

  • 6'2" Height
  • 31 1/2" Arm Length
  • 249LBS. Weight
  • 9 1/8" Hands


2014: Honorable mention All-Pac 12. Played in 11 games with nine starts. 2013: Honorable mention All-Pac 12. Played in 12 games with eight starts. 2012: Played in 10 games as a reserve defensive end and outside linebacker. Missed three games with an ankle sprain. 2011: Played in seven games as a backup defensive tackle.

Pro Day Results

20-yard short shuttle: 4.6 seconds
Three-cone drill: 7.38 seconds
Bench press: 23 reps of 225 pounds



Tough guy. Started his career as a defensive tackle and defensive end for the Trojans. Has produced consistent pressure as an outside linebacker over the last two years. Gets off the snap quickly. Is a relentless effort rusher who never stops when his rush seems to stall. Will create hesitation from tackles when he uses his head fake inside. Aggressive. Meets blockers with a stiff punch and keeps himself clean. Finishes tackles when he gets his hands on ball carrier. Involved in momentum-swinging plays. Energizes his unit. Effective in USC twist game.


Wasn't a full-time starter during most of his stint at USC. Short-legged effort player who doesn't gain enough ground upfield to consistently threaten the edge. Limited tackle range. Plays at one speed and allows tackles to time him up with their punch. Has missed time due to injury for three consecutive years. Lacks NFL closing burst. Is ill-equipped to drop and match up in space against tight ends and running backs.

Draft Projection

Round 6 or 7

NFL Comparison

Trevor Reilly

Bottom Line

When Tavai hits the grass, he goes all out until the final whistle sounds. Limited athleticism could cause decline in production in the pros and medical concerns have some scouts lowering his draft grade. His energy, effort and enthusiasm from snap to snap are characteristics defensive coordinators will welcome at any stage of the draft.
-Lance Zierlein
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.