It’s no secret that the New York Giants need to restock their roster with defensive linemen who can rush the passer. In free agency, longtime left defensive end Justin Tuck chose to take his talents to Oakland, leaving the team thin at defensive end. Although some have speculated that the focus on upgrading the secondary in free agency meant a changing of strategy, I think it had more to do with the market.
Where there weren’t many fits from an age, talent and value perspective in free agency, there are plenty of potential fits in the 2014 NFL Draft. In this piece, I will profile a defensive end who would provide a great value for the Giants with their second-round pick — Scott Crichton. I have done extensive film study on Crichton, more so than any other defensive end prospect, and I am excited to share what I’ve learned.
College: Oregon State
Position: Defensive End
Bench Press: 24
Three-Cone: 7.19 (fourth-best out of the DL at the NFL Combine)
Production: In three seasons, Crichton totaled 165 total tackles, 100 solo tackles, 51.0 tackles for loss, 22.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles.
Strengths: Crichton has a unique combination of size, flexibility and strength that render him best suited as a 4-3 defensive end, and more specifically as the strong-side defensive end. He is an all-around player whose production does not come entirely as a pass rusher — he plays the run just as well. What separates him as a pass rusher is his quickness and change of direction skills. These skills were highlighted at the NFL Combine when he completed the three-cone drill, which is becoming a very popular measurement to determine a defensive lineman’s success at the next level. He displays natural football strength, but you can also tell that he is a mature player who listens to his coaching — more than not he displayed great technique.
Weaknesses: Crichton does not have the overall straight-line speed that some of the top prospects like Anthony Barr, Khalil Mack and Jedeveon Clowney have displayed. There is some concern that he has competed against inferior talent throughout his collegiate career. Also, he may have trouble transitioning to a 3-4 scheme at outside linebacker.
NFL Comparison: Michael Bennett or Chandler Jones
Projected Round: Late-first to second
Overall: The Giants have a major need at left defensive end. Mathias Kiwanuka was one of the worst 4-3 defensive ends in the NFL in 2013, and second-year defensive end Damontre Moore is best suited on the other side. Crichton could step right in and start, while providing the team with a defender who makes impact plays in both the pass and run game.