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Scott Crichton’s experience comes as a defensive end in even fronts, and he has the skills and potential to be a three-down starter on an NFL 4-3 defensive line. He typically lined up outside, but played the final game of the year versus Oregon at the nose tackle position, where his quick first step wreaked havoc on the bigger, slower interior offensive linemen.
His strengths lie in his explosive first step, his hand work, and his well-rounded game which allows him to be an every-down player. He is a very fluid all-around athlete. He has quick feet and moves naturally in space. He moves well laterally and can change direction sharply without wasted motion. He has good balance, as evidenced by his ability to stand through cut block attempts. He also has the leaping ability to jump up in the line of throws and disrupt passes and block kicks.
His weaknesses start with his straight-line speed, which while not bad, isn’t in the Clowney/Kony Ealy category necessary to push him higher in the draft. He also has a good frame, but his limited by what experts refer to as a stiff frame, lacking flexibility. His pass rushing moves need work, for he has not demonstrated a consistent array of moves to beat blockers either around the edge or inside.
In order to optimize his ability as a speed rusher, he needs to become better at turning the corner. When trying to get the edge, he tends to run perpendicular to the quarterback then crash in, making it more difficult to get to the quarterback than if he developed a smooth arc around the corner.
While a very good athlete, he is not an elite athlete who will win many battles at the next level on his speed and quickness alone. To succeed as an edge rusher at the next level, he cannot simply get by on his athleticism.
Most see him as a first-half-of-the-second-round guy, but with a solid effort at the combine and a smooth run through the interview process, it’s possible he could make his way into the first round.
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