FRISCO – The Dallas Cowboys knew this was going to be the plan as they selected defensive lineman Viliami ‘Junior’ Fehokoout of San Jose State with pick No. 129 overall in the fourth round of the recent NFL Draft.
He was listed by almost everybody as a “defensive end.” But the Cowboys think of him a little differently, and right off the bat, they said so.
Dallas assistant coach Shariff Floyd predicted he can someday be a starter – a lofty thought for now. But Floyd also revealed something more immediate and realistic. He said Fehoko can play both end and 3-tech defensive tackle.
“He’s got knock-back ability,” said Floyd (via 105.3 The Fan.)
Fehoko might need to gain 10 pounds to fulfill that vision; he is currently listed as weighing 267. So is this going to be a problem?
No, he said, because during college, he beefed up from 225 to 275 over the course of a six-month period in college.
“Polynesian food,” Fehoko said of his get-big diet. “We eat a lot of crazy stuff. … Pork, beef, tacos …”
Now that he’s in Texas, Fehoko is about to realize that “eating pork, beef and tacos” isn’t considered all that “crazy.” But certainly the training table and the program here inside The Star will represent an upgrade over the dietary supervision he experienced at San Jose State.
So how soon does he join front-seven classmates like defensive tackle Mazi Smith out of Michigan from the first round and linebacker DeMarvion Overshown out of Texas in the third round as roster contributors?
Mazi is easy to pencil in; Dallas would love for him to win a starting job. Overshown is going to be about special teams for now. And Fehoko? He certainly wreaked havoc on opposing offenses on a weekly basis in his final year in college, recording 69 total tackles with a whopping 19 tackles for loss and nine sacks while also forcing two fumbles and recovering another. (In fact, in his last three college seasons, he recorded, respectfully, six, seven and nine sacks.)
“Fehoko is a veteran pass rusher who brings a refined set of pass rush moves and a powerful, violent upper body to the field, but he plays with questionable leverage and some physical limitations,” SI Draft Bible wrote about the newcomer.
Fehoki recently participated in the Dallas rookie minicamp and he will soon be joining a stout defensive front with fellow rookie Smith that already features Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence, looking to make a strong first impression and earn playing time early in his NFL career.
But here’s what’s most interesting about his plan. A few days ago, Fehoko put it into words, saying, “I’m ready to hit the ground running to be a Cowboy.”
And what did coordinator Dan Quinn say about him after getting his hands on the rookie at minicamp?
“I think I’ll be playing probably between the edge and 3-tech,” DQ said. “We’ll hit the ground running the first year.”
See? Junio Fehoko and the Dallas Cowboys are already in synch.