Can this fan favorite carve out a role for himself this summer?
As a senior at Farrington High School, Fehoko was a dominate player along the defensive line. In his final year, he tallied 74 tackles, a staggering 27 tackles-for-loss, 16 sacks, and six forced fumbles. He was named a five-star recruit by Scout.com and a four-star by Rivals and ESPN. He was named the 51st-ranked player in the ESPN 300 and was an invitee to the Under Armour All-American Game.
His career started at Texas Tech where he played his first two seasons. He started all 25 games for the Red Raiders, collecting 46 tackles, 7.5 for loss, two sacks, and an interception across that span. As a freshman, he was named an Honorable Mention All-Big 12 selection.
Fehoko then transferred to LSU but had to sit out the entire 2017 season due to NCAA restrictions. In 2018, he started eight games and missed four due to injury. Among hose eight starts, Fehoko played six at tackle and two at end. He finished his junior year with 16 tackles, three tackles-for-loss, and 1.5 sacks.
In his final year with the Tigers, Fehoko played mainly in a reserve role with four stats in 15 games. He finished the season with a career-high six tackles-for-loss among 17 total stops and a half a sack.
The 6’2, 291-pound defender became a fan favorite during his time in Death Valley after him and family made it a tradition to perform the traditional Haka dance while the team made their way into the stadium. A really cool fact I learned is that Breiden’s father Vili was the live mascot for the University of Hawaii for 10 years. As a child, Breiden joined his father occasionally on the field during halftime performances.
Unfortunately, he was not one of the 16 players from LSU invited to the NFL combine. However, Fehoko went the extra mile and recorded interviews of himself answering the common questions he expected to have been asked would he have been invited.
After going undrafted following the 2020 draft, Fehoko was signed as one of 19 undrafted free agents by the Chargers. He saw time in two games on the active roster but recorded no statistics in his rookie season.
During Fehoko’s sophomore campaign in 2021, he recorded a career-high 13 tackles across eight total games played with one start.
College: Texas Tech/LSU
Years with team: 2
“Breiden Fehoko signed a 2 year, $1,485,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including an average annual salary of $742,500. In 2022, Fehoko will earn a base salary of $825,000, while carrying a cap hit of $825,000.” – Spotrac.com
In Fehoko’s limited snaps, he quietly became the best run defender on the team in terms of run stop win rate. Among all interior defenders in the NFL during the 2021 season, Fehoko ranked first (minimum 65 run defense snaps) while new teammates Sebastian Joseph-Day and Austin Johnson were ranked second and 18th, respectively.
The Chargers’ IDL group by 2021 run stop rate ranking (min. 65 RDEF snaps):
Breiden Fehoko: 1st!
Sebastian Joseph-Day: 2nd!
Austin Johnson: 18th
Jerry Tillery: 122nd
Every family has an odd child
Fehoko is also a fan favorite with his infectious energy and constant positive vibes. On and off the field, the fans and coaching staff seem to love him immensely.
Fehoko is still a limited athlete who struggled to make much of an impact at the college level despite being a former high-ranking high school recruit and playing at two different schools. His limited lateral movement skills will keep him locked into a role as a rotational nose tackle in the pros.
After two seasons of going to working day-in and day-out to stick with the team after going undrafted, Fehoko has earned a legitimate role as a rotational player along the interior. Two years behind Linval Joseph has seemingly paid off a he is becoming one of the most-underrated run defenders in the NFL, regardless of the small sample size. Fehoko will likely earn one of the last spots on the roster as the fourth/fifth interior defender kept on the team.