The Atlanta Falcons have added a big body to the defensive line room in the way of (another) former Chicago Bears nose guard Khyiris Tonga.
He was signed to the practice squad on Monday morning according to a release from the team.
Tonga certainly fits the bill of a run-plugging nose guard in the middle of defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ 3-4 scheme. He’s listed at 6’4 and 348 pounds and started two games for the Bears last season.
He was drafted out by Chicago in the seventh round of the 2021 draft and appeared in 15 games for the Bears totaling 24 tackles with a tackle for loss.
Despite being in just his second season, Tonga is already 26-years old having played four years at BYU. It’s common for BYU players to go on a two-year Mission prior to playing for the Cougars.
Tonga played in 37 games for the Cougars and had 130 tackles and 8.5 sacks in his career.
The Falcons defensive line looks better equipped to handle the running game than they did last season.
Tonga joins Anthony Rush (360 pounds) and Timmy Horne (323 pounds) as prototype run stuffers that should hold up better against the run than the Falcons did last season.
Rush joined the Falcons midseason last year and looks to have improved tremendously to end last year and in the offseason. Horne made the team as an undrafted free agent after impressing the coaching staff.
The Falcons also have Abdullah Anderson who can play end or nose guard in the 3-4. Anderson was among the initial cuts by the Falcons, but he was immediately re-signed after the Falcons moved five players to injured reserve last week.
The Falcons are next in action against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, September 11th at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.