Career Recap: Over the past few seasons, Michigan State has featured one of the top defenses in the nation and has produced a number of talented players for the NFL. The majority of the attention has been on the secondary with back-to-back first-round cornerbacks, Darqueze Dennard and Trae Waynes, but others on the defense have played extremely well. One of those other Spartans who has had spurts of standout play is Calhoun. He has been the program's top edge rusher for both of the past two seasons.
Calhoun had a broke out in 2013, totaling 37 tackles with 14 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. The sophomore got better as the year progressed and showed a lot of untapped edge-rush potential.
There were big expectations for Calhoun to become a double-digit sacker and one of the top edge rushers in the nation in 2014. However, the junior started the year extremely slowly and didn't produce much until the second half of the season, when he turned things around. Calhoun totaled 39 tackles with 12.5 tackles for a loss and eight sacks on the year. He closed out the season with a big bowl performance against Baylor with 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Bears left tackle Spencer Drango really struggled with Calhoun in the second half of that game.
2015 Season Outlook: The schedule is shaping up for Calhoun to possibly end his collegiate career with his best season. There really are only two left tackles of note on the Spartans' schedule. Oregon's Tyler Johnstone will be a nice test for Calhoun in the second week of the season.
In the penultimate game of the regular season, Calhoun will take on Ohio State and left tackle Taylor Decker. Calhoun had a quality performance against the Buckeyes last year with five tackles, 1.5 for a loss and .5 sacks.
Other than those two players, Calhoun should have a lot of opponents that he should get the better of, especially in single-block situations.
Skill-Set Summary: The NFL is always in need of pass-rushers, so Calhoun should have no issues being an early-round pick if he has a strong senior year. Calhoun is a speed rusher off the edge. His agility catches offensive tackles by surprise, and he can be quick enough to turn the corner.
Calhoun can be solid against the run and hold his ground. He has to avoid standing up too high, but he's not getting blasted out of his gap constantly. It would help him to fill out his frame and add more power for the next level.
In the pass rush, Calhoun needs to develop a repertoire of moves. He too often tries to win with speed, and if he doesn't, he tries to slap their hands off of him without much success. Calhoun really needs to add a spin move. Rarely do you see him use it, but it looks like it could be effective. If he can add power, a club move and a rip move would be nice to see as well. Calhoun tries a swim move, but in the NFL, that may not work on bigger, more athletic offensive tackles. Calhoun is going to need more moves for taking on pro tackles.
Currently, Calhoun's body type would fit more in a 3-4 defense as a standup edge rusher. He's down some standing up in college. If the senior could add 10-20 pounds of muscle that would make him a nice fit as a base end in a 4-3 defense.
2016 NFL Draft Expectations: In the 2016 NFL Draft, Calhoun has a pretty big range on where he could be drafted. Calhoun could go as high as the first round, or slip deep into the second day. Everything depends on how he plays as a senior.