Courtland Sutton Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Make tremendous one-handed catches
Dynamic red-zone weapon
Large catch radius
Ability to make acrobatic catches
High points the football
Impacts game plans
Can challenge defenses downfield
Boxes out defensive backs
Experienced 3-year starter
Excelled against good competition
Could stand to be more physical
Not a great with yards after the catch
Summary: In the preseason of 2016, sources told me that they were really impressed with SMU wide receiver Courtland Sutton. He was coming off a redshirt freshman season in which he totaled 862 yards - 17.6 yard average per catch - and nine touchdowns on 49 receptions. One scouting director told WalterFootball.com that in studying up on players before hitting the road for college training camps, Sutton's tape really stood out. Sutton then followed it up with an impressive 2016 season in which he totaled 76 receptions for 1,246 yards - 16.5 yard average per catch - with 10 touchdowns.
Sutton saw a lot of extra coverage in 2017, but that opened up the field for other receivers. Still, the redshirt junior recorded 68 catches for 1,085 yards with 12 touchdowns for the year. Sutton wisely decided to skip his final season of eligibility to enter the 2018 NFL Draft.
For the NFL, Sutton is a mismatch weapon with his excellent size, body control, and leaping ability. The tall receiver towers over the majority of cornerbacks who line up against him. He has enough quickness to get downfield along the sideline and isn't limited to being just a possession receiver. In the red zone, Sutton is a dangerous threat to make receptions over defensive backs. He routinely outjumps corners to high-point passes and use his frame to box them out for the ball. Sutton will make spectacular one-handed catches and sky above defenders to make highlight plays regularly. He should be a great end-zone weapon in the NFL with his size, length, body control, and leaping ability. Along with the red zone, Sutton also is superb at working the back-shoulder plays along the sideline.
Sutton is not a burner wide receiver like an Odell Beckham Jr. or A.J. Green. Sutton's game will be more similar to Alshon Jeffery, Mike Evans or Mike Williams as players who consistently win contested catches through size and skill set. Sutton will box out defenders and use his size to his advantage. However, he could stand to be more physical with them. Sutton has the size and strength to push defensive backs around, but you never saw him do it that much. It would be good to see him play with more of mean streak and get more violent with defensive backs. If Sutton did those things, he would be more like Dez Bryant or DeAndre Hopkins. Sutton has the physical ability to play that way, so perhaps his NFL coach will bring it out of him.
For the NFL, Sutton could fit well as a X - split end - receiver who works on the outside and challenges teams along the sideline. He also has the size to be a Z - flanker - receiver and do the dirty work on underneath routes. Sutton looks like a future first-round pick for the 2018 NFL Draft.
Player Comparison: Alshon Jeffery. Sutton is an inch taller than Jeffery, but they are the same weight. Both of them are big wideouts who consistently win contested catches and are excellent red-zone receivers. Jeffery has been a size mismatch problem in the NFL, and Sutton should provide that as well. I think Sutton could be a better version of Jeffery in the NFL.
NFL Matches: Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, Washington, Arizona, Green Bay, Baltimore, Dallas, Buffalo, Carolina, New Orleans and Jacksonville
There are a lot of teams that could be in the market for a wide receiver upgrade in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Bears and 49ers both could consider more receiving talent. Chicago signed two receivers for Mitch Trubisky, so Sutton going to the Bears seems unlikely. Sutton would be a nice fit for Kyle Shanahan across from Marquise Goodwin, but going with the ninth-overall pick seems too high for Sutton.
In the teens, there are a lot of potential landing spots for Sutton. The Dolphins could consider bringing Sutton to South Florida as they need to replace Jarvis Landry. The Redskins have had some turnover at receiver, and Sutton could finish off their receiving corps. He would be a good fit in Jay Gruden's offense.
Green Bay could use more receiving talent after moving on from Jordy Nelson. Sutton would be a nice fit in the Packers' offense. He could be a valuable No. 1 receiver for the sunset seasons of Aaron Rodgers' career.
Arizona has to consider life after Larry Fitzgerald and could use more receiving talent around the future Hall of Famer. If the Cardinals miss out on a quarterback in the first round, Sutton could be a fit for them.
At No. 16, the Ravens need a No. 1 receiver, and Sutton could be a weapon for them across from Michael Crabtree. Three picks later, Sutton could land in Dallas. There have been rumblings of the Cowboys moving on from Dez Bryant before long, and Sutton could replace Bryant as the No. 1 receiver for Dak Prescott. The Cowboys have shown a lot of interest in Sutton, including having head coach Jason Garrett work him out at his pro day. Sutton is definitely in play for Dallas.
The Bills may end up trading both of their first-rounders to move up for a quarterback, but if they don't, Sutton could be in play for them with their second selection.
Carolina could use a long-term No. 1 receiver after trading away Kelvin Benjamin. Cam Newton has worked well with big wideouts, and Sutton would be an upgrade for the Panthers. Staying in the NFC South, the Saints could go with the best player available and give Drew Brees a twin tower of a receiver to go with Michael Thomas. The Jaguars lost Allen Robinson in free agency, so they could consider Sutton as their future No. 1 receiver.