|Class:||RS Junior||40 time:||N/A|
As the NFL develops into more of a passing league, there becomes a greater need for talented pass rushers. Oregon State‘s Scott Crichton is one of those players, and that makes him a realistic candidate to be taken in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Crichton, a redshirt junior, plays all over the defensive line in the Beavers’ 4-3 defensive scheme. He lines up at both defensive end positions and shifts inside to tackle when the team needs extra pressure on passing downs. He’s a very big, physical player, and though he’s not the fastest pass rusher, he does get a great jump off the line of scrimmage.
One of the big questions for teams to ponder about Crichton is what position best fits his style of play. He seems very comfortable in Oregon State’s 4-3 scheme, and it would make a lot of sense for him to continue to be utilized in that type of defense in the NFL. But as more teams switch to 3-4 or hybrid defenses in an effort to better shut down aggressive passing attacks, it’s more likely that he’ll be selected by one of those teams.
In his current role, Crichton does not play much at all like a linebacker, using power moves to rush the quarterback and then jogging to the action after the pass. With this in mind, it’s likely that he’ll need to change his style if he wants to play 3-4 outside linebacker.
The other possibility, however remote, is having Crichton put on some weight and using him as an interior rusher. At 6-foot-3 and 265 pounds, he’d need to put on about 15 pounds to be effective in this role. But, he’s shown that he’s a very capable rusher from the inside while in college, and it might be a safer bet to use him this way than hoping that he’ll be able to rush from a two-point stance and drop into pass coverage, two things he’s done very little of at Oregon State.
Crichton has the talent to be a first-rounder, but as players who were previously afterthoughts like Missouri‘s Michael Sam and Clemson‘s Vic Beasley light up the college scene this year, it’s more of a possibility that Crichton, who’s been very average to date, will drop on draft boards. He’s got great size and strength and is still rather inexperienced, but he’ll need to put up better on-field results if he wants to assure himself a first-round spot.
- Gets a good burst off the line of scrimmage, but is more of a power rusher
- Has experience playing both left and right end and switches between the two spots frequently
- Can contribute as a defensive tackle on passing downs, and actually seems to be most effective in these situations (see UCLA 2012)
- Not as quick as most NFL defensive ends
- Mixed results as a run stuffer; sometimes he gets in great position and makes plays, but many other times he overpursues, takes bad angles, and gets knocked out of plays
- Not very aggressive in pursuit after he has rushed the passer
- Too easily manhandled for a player of his size and strength
- Might be a risky candidate for a switch to 3-4 OLB; he’s not very fast in open space and may actually be better off putting on some weight to play end in a 3-4 scheme
- Seems to struggle against fast-paced attacks
Crichton hasn’t been as effective as expected in 2013. After finishing with nine sacks in 2012, many believed that he could improve on his performance this year. Instead, he has notched just 3.5 sacks through eight games against rather pedestrian opponents, with the exception of Stanford last week.
Crichton was particularly bad in the Beavers’ loss to Eastern Washington, as he consistently seemed to be thrown off by the FCS school’s fast-paced attack. With this in mind, it should be interesting to see how he holds up against Oregon later this season. It is worth noting, though that Crichton has sacks in each of his past two games, so perhaps his offseason shoulder surgery had something to do with his slump, and he’s now rounded himself back into shape.
2014 Draft Projection: Second Round
Film Watched: vs. Utah (2013), vs. Eastern Washington (2013), vs. UCLA (2012), vs. Stanford (2012)