2014 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Will Sutton

  • Superb interior pass rusher
  • Repertoire of moves
  • Quickness to get separation
  • Disruptor
  • Explosive
  • Very quick
  • Quick get-off
  • Ability to bull rush guards
  • Closing speed
  • Ideal three technique for a 4-3 defense
  • Lots of upside

  • Weaknesses:
  • Weight concerns
  • Strength?
  • Conditioning?
  • Could stand to improve downhill run defense

  • Summary: Sutton was in the running as one of the best defensive linemen in college football in 2012. He was right up there with Jadeveon Clowney, Star Lotulelei, Sheldon Richardson and Sharrif Floyd. In fact, Sutton had a better 2012 season than Aaron Donald as he was one of the nation’s best pass rushers.

    Sutton enjoyed a breakout season for the Sun Devils in 2012, recording 13 sacks. He also had 63 tackles, 23.5 tackles for a loss, five passes broken up and three forced fumbles. Sutton presented a real speed mismatch against guards with the ability to fire by them to collapse the pocket.

    Entering his senior year, Sutton was asked to gain weight, and he went from the 280s to around 315 pounds. Sutton still retained some explosion playing at a heavier weight, but clearly wasn’t the dynamic player he was in 2012. Sutton was still awarded the 2013 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award over arguably more deserving players like Stanford’s Trent Murphy or UCLA’s Anthony Barr. He totaled 48 tackles with 13.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks. Sutton also saw a lot of double teams after his 2012 success.

    At the Senior Bowl, Sutton was slow and out of shape at 315 pounds. That extra weight caused him to not have the same explosion, and he was easily winded. He was down to 303 pounds at the Combine, however, and looked much better. Currently Sutton is said to be in the mid 290s.

    Sutton would be best as a three-technique defensive tackle. He is an excellent interior pass-rusher. Sutton beats guards with quickness and has nice hands to fight off blocks and close on the quarterback. His speed can set up a bull rush, and he is tenacious when it comes to getting heat on the quarterback.

    Sutton gained the weight to begin with to help make him more stout in the ground game. He could stand to improve his ability to hold up against downhill rushing attacks coming straight at him, but as a player, he’s at his best emphasizing his speed and pass-rush ability. If run defense is an issue, he could rotate out of the game in running situations, and that would keep him fresh to rush the passer.

    Early in his career, Sutton would be a nice weapon as part of a rotation and being used as a situational pass rusher.

    While Sutton has gone under the radar in the draft process, his 2012 season hasn’t been forgotten by teams, and he could be a nice impact pick on the second day of the draft. Sutton could go in the second or third round.

    Player Comparison: Jonathan Baineaux. League sources they said they felt that Sutton was comparable to Babineaux. There are a lot of similarities, as they are about the same size and both are good interior pass rushers. Babineaux (6-2, 300) was a second-round pick in 2005, and Sutton could go on Day 2 this year. Babineaux has been a good player for Atlanta, and Sutton could be a similar style player in the NFL.

    NFL Matches: Jacksonville, Oakland, St. Louis, New York Giants, Dallas

    The highest that Sutton could hope to go would be in the second round, and the lowest he would probably fall would be the third round. Sources have said that Sutton has graded out in the second or third round, so falling out of day two seems unlikely.

    Jacksonville needs help all over its defense, including the inside of their defensive line. The Jaguars had a pathetic pass rush in 2013, and getting Sutton to cause disruption on the interior would help.

    The Bears lost Henry Melton in free agency and could use a young difference maker at tackle. Sutton’s speed combination fits the profile of a lot of Phil Emery’s draft picks and he would be a great scheme fit for Mel Tucker.

    The Raiders need to improve their defensive tackles and almost drafted one in the first round last year. Oakland has to get better at rushing the passer, and Sutton could have an impact in getting Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Alex Smith to move off a spot. Sutton makes a lot of sense for the Raiders if he falls to their pick in round three.

    In the NFC East, the Giants lost Linval Joseph in free agency and have some older veterans at tackle coming back. They could use some talented youth. Dallas needs to land a three-technique pass rusher, and Sutton would be a good fit for Rod Marinelli. He can be paired with Henry Melton next year and after that Sutton could take over as the three technique. If the Cowboys don’t draft a defensive tackle in the first round, they could target Sutton on day two.


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