Dec 30, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils defensive tackle Will Sutton (90) tackles Texas Tech Red Raiders running back Kenny Williams (34) during the 2013 Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. Texas Tech defeated Arizona State 37-23. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Arizona State DT Will Sutton

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Overview: Another player who has been linked to the Bears this offseason.  There was a lot of talk about Sutton being a future first round pick at this time a year ago after a stellar junior season, in which he recorded 64 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles.  That talk has cooled down quite a bit after his production diminished considerably as a senior.  In 2013 Sutton tallied 48 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks.  He was more disruptive than the numbers indicate, however, and was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row.

Strengths:

  • Explosive at the snap.  Gets off like a flash and often beats the opposing offensive lineman very early in the play.
  • Good tackler.  Shows really good form and has the athleticism to bring down ball carriers in space.
  • Athletic.  Changes direction well and has good short-area burst.

Weaknesses:

  • Short.  At only 6 feet tall with 31 1/4 inch arms, he doesn’t fit the traditional mold of an NFL defensive tackle at all.
  • Questionable work ethic.  Was academically ineligible in 2010 and NFL teams will have to do their homework.
  • Hands need to be more active.  Flashes decent hand usage, but needs to be more consistent
  • Needs to get stronger.  Tends to get pushed around by bigger offensive linemen.
  • Must play with a better base.  Winds up on the ground a little too much.
  • Only fits certain schemes.  Doesn’t fit the 3-4 at all and not all of the 4-3 teams will have a use for him.
  • Limited pass rush repertoire.  If he doesn’t beat the offensive lineman with his initial quickness, he seldom wins.

NFL Player Comparison: Jurrell Casey, Tennessee Titans.  Sutton has similar physical talent to Casey and I expect him to be drafted in the same range (Casey was drafted in the 3rd round at 77th overall).  Sutton has a long way to go to become the high motor impact player that Casey is, but the raw physical ability is definitely there.

The Way I See It: You might call me crazy, given all of the weaknesses and relatively few strengths I listed, but I wouldn’t mind it if the Bears took Sutton at 82 this year.  His weaknesses are mostly correctable and his strengths are hard to find outside the first round.  Another factor to take into account is that he was noticeably quicker during his 2012 campaign as compared with 2013.  I think this is mostly due to his putting on a considerable amount of weight to develop more of an NFL caliber body.  As a team that plays a scheme that doesn’t necessarily need 300 pounders at the defensive tackle position, the Bears could have him cut the added weight and get that lost athleticism back.

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