Connect with us

Steelers News

Breiden Fehoko is Heavily Relying on Steelers DL Coach Karl Dunbar’s Guidance

Published

on

Steelers Breiden Fehoko

When the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Breiden Fehoko to a deal last offseason, he was expected to come in and push Montrvius Adams for some playing time at nose tackle. While Adams did lose his starting job, it was not to Fehoko, rather rookie Keeanu Benton usurped the role. Instead, Fehoko spent a majority of the season on the team’s practice squad.

After starting four games and appearing in 19 of them, Fehoko brought experience to a defensive line that witnessed their interior struggle at times. While many begged for Fehoko to play when the Steelers struggled up the middle at the start of last season, he never cracked the rotation despite being dressed for a handful of games.

Fehoko knew what it was like to sit back and learn from the sidelines as he did it during his first two seasons which led to a breakout in 2022.

“When I look back to my last year playing in 2022, and arguably my most productive year in the NFL, I think a big reason why I was able to play so well that year for the Chargers in the time being was because of [two reasons,]” Fehoko told Derrick Bell of Steelers Now. “One, I was physically ready from college, and two, the mental reps and mental capacity that I have been able to develop over time in the NFL.”

Now, he is hoping to replicate that trend of learning and then pouncing on his opportunity, this time just as a member of the Steelers.

“Even this past year, I know I didn’t get to play as much as I wanted or the role I wanted, but learning under coach Dunbar and coach Martin and those guys, I already know my game just took a whole other step in a direction that I wanted it to go in,” Fehoko said.

One of the biggest influences on his game and a huge reason why his game improved was his position coach, Karl Dunbar. For Fehoko, Dunbar taught him that despite his elite frame, his game still needed polished and refined. He spent last year and this offseason refining his body, his pass rush techniques, and his knowledge of the game with Dunbar.

“Coach Dunbar is always going to stress technique, he is always going to stress fundamentals, that is a given with him,” Fehoko said. “Before I got to Pittsburgh, I felt like I knew what I was and who I was as a player. I felt like I already had a toolbox that, wouldn’t necessarily say that I didn’t need coaching, but I felt like it was to the point that I could play. … Just getting with him and getting to know what I need to work on, changing my body, becoming a better pass rusher, understanding the game from a whole new perspective of what I thought I knew.”

With a season of experience in the black-and-gold under his belt, Fehoko looks to become a contributor in 2024. The depth chart has him slotted behind both Benton and Adams as of now but with a strong performance in training camp and the preseason, it would not be shocking to see him earn some playing time.

96 • Breiden Fehoko, Defensive Tackle, LSU
6-foot-3, 300 pounds, 27 years old, 5th Season

Acquired: The Steelers signed Breiden Fehoko to a one-year, contract on March 30, 2023 after his contract with the Los Angeles Chargers expired.

Last seasonDuring his first year in Pittsburgh, Breiden Fehoko failed to record any official stats despite being on the active roster for seven regular season games. He spent time between the team’s active roster and the practice squad.

Pittsburgh Steelers Kenny Pickett, Breiden Fehoko and Spencer Anderson appear in the tunnel before a game at Acrisure Stadium, Oct. 8, 2023 — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

CareerThe Los Angeles Chargers signed Breiden Fehoko as an undrafted free agent in 2020 after he won a national championship at LSU with Joe Burrow and many other current NFL players. The Chargers later waived him on Sept. 5, 2020 but decideded to sign him to the team’s practice squad the next day.

The Chargers elevated Fehoko to the active roster for the team’s Week 13 and Week 14 games but placed him back on the practice squad after each game. The defensive tackle totaled two quarterback pressures in his two rookie season games. Fehoko signed a reserve/future contract with the Chargers on Jan. 5, 2021.

On Aug. 31, 2021, the Chargers waived Fehoko before signing him to the practice squad a day later. Fehoko recorded 13 tackles and 10 defensive stops in 2021.

Fehoko made the Chargers’ inital 53-man roster for the 2022 season but was waived in early September and placed on the practice squad once again. In November of last season, the Chargers promoted him to the team’s active roster where he stayed for the remainder of the season while playing a career-high in defensive snaps.

Fehoko made the Chargers 2022 roster out of training camp but was later waived and re-signed to the team’s practice squad on Sept. 12, 2022. Fehoko was promoted to the team’s active roster on Nov. 9, 2022 and went on to play a career-high 278 defensive snaps over the course of the rest of the season. Fehoko also played 36 snaps on special teams during the 2022 season.

Fehoko finished the 2022 season with 12 tackles, 10 defensive stops, and one quarterback pressure.

Fehoko appeared in 19 career games for the Chargers over the course of his first three seasons in the NFL. In his career, Fehoko started four games and recorded 36 tackles and one tackle for loss.

Fehoko is the cousin of Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Simi Fehoko.

Year Team GP Tackles TFL Sacks PFF Rating
2020 LAC 2 0 0 0 51.6
2021 LAC 8 13 0 0 51.1
2022 LAC 9 23 1 0 47.1
2023 PIT 0 0 0 0

CollegeBreiden Fehoko committed to Texas Tech out of high school and arrived as a freshman in 2015. As a freshman, Fehoko started in all 13 games for the Red Raiders as he recorded four tackles for loss, a sack, and an interception. His first colliegate tackle was against former UTEP and current Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones. Fehoko earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mentions in the coaches poll after his freshman season.

His sophomore season at Texas Tech, Fehoko started in all 12 games and was at the top of the depth chart at the defensive tackle position. Fehoko recorded 19 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack in his second season of college.

Fehoko started in all 25 games of his Red Raider career before transferring to Louisiana State University for the 2017 season. Due to NCAA rules at the time, Fehoko was required to sit out the entire 2017 season.

In 2018, Fehoko played and started in eight games in his first eligable season for the Tigers. He missed the final four games of the season due to injury but finished with 16 tackles and three for a loss while recording one sack.

In 2019, Fehoko played in 15 games for LSU while starting in four of those. He finished the season with 17 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, and a half of a sack. Fehoko gained national attention with his pregame “Haka” dance that he would preform with his father and family. Fehoko won the 2020 National Championship with the Tigers.

Year GP Tackles TFLs Sacks
2015 10 19 4.0 1.0
2016 10 19 3.5 1.0
2017 0 0 0 0
2018 8 16 3.0 1.5
2019 8 17 5.0 0.5

Salary cap and future: Breiden Fehoko is signed to a one-year, $1.055 million contract that is not guranteed and does not include any roster bonuses. This means that if the Steelers decide to release Fehoko, the team would not face any deal money penalties in 2024. Fehoko will become a free agent after the 2024 season.

The rest of the 90: