One of the top defensive tackles in the country in 2012 was Arizona State’s Will Sutton, who was an absolute machine from the defensive interior. So much so, that despite his being a little bit smaller than many elite defensive tackle prospects, many thought that going into his senior year, he had a chance to be the first at his position to come off the board in 2014.
That may not be so likely now.
According to NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks, an NFL scout from the NFC West said that Sutton “needs to get in better shape and get his motor running to become the difference-maker some envision as a situational interior rusher in the NFL.”
Not exactly high praise for a guy who was dominant as a junior. Even worse yet, the scout said that Sutton “looks sluggish and lacks the explosiveness” he had a year ago.
Sutton has a long time to put things together, and this is just one scouts opinion. We’ll give the ASU star the benefit of the doubt until draft weekend. Here’s our pre-season report on Sutton:
90 DT Will Sutton (6’1″ 305 pounds, SENIOR)
Sutton could have left after a stellar junior campaign, but apparently he only received mid-round grades from the NFL Draft advisory committee. Those guys must have missed him completely in 2012, and rigged it so he could come back another year. All kidding aside, Sutton is an exciting defensive line prospect that has all the scouts buzzing heading into his senior season. It’s going to be near impossible for him to repeat his numbers from a year ago, but the senior defensive lineman is reportedly up nearly 40 pounds from his playing weight in 2012, and is ready to dominate in the trenches once again in 2013.
As a junior, Sutton displayed incredible quickness, strength, leverage, and explosive ability off the defensive line on his way to 63 tackles, 12 sacks, 23.5 tackles for loss, and three forced fumbles. Despite his height deficiency, he knocked down five passes as well. The biggest problem for Sutton is that he is going to need to be able to use his size to his advantage much more often than not to convince scouts that he’s not going to get eaten alive by pro linemen.
I don’t think that will be the case. Right now, I would firmly entrench Sutton in the 1st-2nd round range, likely in the top 40 selections. He could fall if his numbers take a significant enough dip this season, and if he isn’t able to prove to scouts that he’s not just a one year wonder. He returned to the starting lineup in 2011 after missing the whole 2010 campaign.