|Class:||RS Senior||40 time:||N/A|
Simply put, Arizona State‘s Will Sutton was one of the best defensive players in the country in 2012, registering 23.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks from the defensive tackle position. Sutton, who is short for a tackle at just 6-foot-1, and at the time weighed only about 265 pounds, was able to carve out a good reputation as a pass rusher, but he must have believed that his numbers wouldn’t be enough to assure him an NFL career.
Over the offseason, Sutton got all the way up to 305 pounds, which many scouts ended up criticizing him for.
During the 2013 season, Sutton’s style of play has changed significantly. On the positive side, he is now a much more disciplined player. He does a very good job of positioning himself, and he gets in on a lot of run plays. He’s a high-motor guy, and he’ll run towards the action and try to make a play no matter what.
Conversely, though, Sutton has regressed as a pass rusher. He no longer moves as quickly in getting to the quarterback, and actually seems to sit back more and play a traditional defensive tackle role. If he’s going to get in the backfield, it is now much more likely to be because of his outstanding bull rush and swim moves rather than his speed.
While Sutton has probably made himself a safer mid-round pick for teams by putting on weight, he’s significantly reduced his chances at moving up to the earlier rounds. He only has 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks this year, so teams probably will see him as an impact role player who can be part of a defensive tackle rotation, rather than a legitimate every-down 3-technique tackle.
- Makes the most of his short, compact frame, staying low to the ground to get good leverage
- Plays to the whistle all the time and follows plays downfield
- Shoots through gaps quickly
- During his senior year, has become more disciplined; tends to stay close to home and makes more of an impact as a run-stuffer than a pass rusher, a skill he’s significantly improved in 2013
- Lack of size is an obvious concern and could cause him to get run over by NFL offensive linemen
- Put on about 40 pounds over offseason, which many believe has slowed him down
- Needs to get better at coming off blocks when the ball carrier is near him
- Tackling form isn’t fantastic
Sutton’s grown as a player in 2013, but he’s lost his edge as a game-changer. He probably shouldn’t have gained quite as much weight as he did—it’s always risky when a player adds as much as 40 pounds to their frame in one offseason — but he is still a good, athletic player who contributes to the Sun Devils’ defense.
He’s not nearly on the pace that he was at this point last season, but he’s become a more reliable run stuffer, and he’ll probably be rewarded for that come draft time.
2014 Draft Projection: Third Round