Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton has not received as much attention as some of the other defensive line prospects in this year’s NFL draft class, largely due to his size and weight.
Sutton isn’t as tall as scouts may like. And there has been some buzz about the weight he has put on. Those concerns alone have taken Sutton out of the conversation of being a first-round selection.
The former Sun Devils standout was a force in the Pac-12 in junior season in 2012, though. Despite his weight, Sutton was quick enough to beat blockers and displayed impressive closing speed. In some cases, he could be a situational pass rusher.
But while attending the Senior Bowl usually inflates a player’s draft stock, it did the opposite for Sutton. The tackle measured in at 6-feet tall and 315 pounds, and scouts believed he was carrying “too much weight” on his frame. In 2012, playing closer to 288 pounds, Sutton made a case for being the top interior lineman in the nation. He posted 13 sacks, 63 tackles and 23.5 tackles for loss en route to All-American honors and being named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
In 2013 he recorded 44 tackles, four sacks, and an interception.
Those at the Senior Bowl still saw flashes of the 2012 version of Sutton, and perhaps an NFL training staff can get Sutton into better playing shape. His stock has room to grow should he shed some pounds prior to the combine, which in itself will answer any questions about conditioning.
Sutton is ranked as the No. 16 overall prospect by Rotoworld and No. 54 overall by CBS Sports, and the sixth-rated defensive tackle. He’s been likened to former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle La’Roi Glover, as well as Cincinnati Bengals All-Pro Geno Atkins, as both are undersized at the position but are quick-footed enough to rush the passer. He’ll likely be taken off the board in the second round.
Sutton could be a fit with the Jacksonville Jaguars with the No. 39 pick, serving as a nose tackle in Gus Bradley’s 3-4 much like he did while at Arizona State. He may also go five picks later, as the St. Louis Ram could grab him to add depth behind Michael Brockers.
If the Chicago Bears don’t address the defensive line with their first pick, they could take a look at Sutton if he’s available at No. 51 — as could the Green Bay Packers at No. 53, the San Francisco 49ers at No. 56 and the New England Patriots at No. 62.