Heading into 2013, Will Sutton was seen as one of the premier players in all of college football. After an extremely disappointing season for Sutton, coupled with questions about his gained weight, have lead to Sutton dropping from a potential top 20 pick to a mid round pick now. Sutton’s game is based on his speed and ability to penetrate and make plays. With the added weight in 2013, Sutton was playing a game much different from what he was used to. Sutton has the tools to be a very good player in the NFL, but concerns about his length, weight and his poor 2013 season will lead to a very long NFL draft process.
When watching Sutton you have to evaluate him based on all of the film that is available for him. When you watch the 2012 film on Sutton, you see someone who plays with violent hands and uses good solid technique to make plays and be successful. When you then turn on the 2013 film, you see someone who instead with the added weight starts to play with sloppy technique and get washed out way to easily. Sutton’s game is based off of his hand usage and his ability to play violent at all costs. Sutton does a good job of playing with leverage and doesn’t seem to get upright easily, allowing for him to get into the pads of the offensive linemen and be able to make plays. If Sutton can get back to the weight he played at in 2012, then he can become a very successful player again because he used his technique to his advantage. In 2013 Sutton used his technique as a last resort and expected to just win based off of his power he had.
When you compare what exactly Sutton does well on film, the thing that Sutton does need to improve on is his run defense. Sutton is a bit of a guesser in the run game and will look to just jump and make plays. When Sutton plays under control and doesn’t guess where the play is going, he plays very well and gets the job done. The other main issue that comes into play with Sutton is that he tends to get washed out of plays way too easily, and it was more apparent in 2012 than in 2013. Sutton plays with good leverage, but when you combine the weight he plays at with his ability to guess on plays, he can become overpowered way to easily. The other main issue that shows with Sutton is that his arm length is short for a defensive linemen and when you combine that with playing with guys who are longer than him, he tends to struggle and get taken out of plays. Sutton is an interesting prospect, but he doesn’t really make his name on his ability to play the run, but he also needs to improve on it in order to become a better well-rounded player.
This part of his game is what sets Sutton apart from other players on the defensive line. When you watch Sutton he uses his explosion and first step to get past offensive linemen and cause havoc in the backfield. Sutton uses his violent hand usage to be able to win battles and based on that is able to rack up high sack numbers. When you turned on the 2013 film for Sutton you saw the weight really take away from what he did so well. Sutton went away from using his quicks and ability to collapse the pocket, and instead turned into a power player. By moving into that power mentality, he didn’t have the arm length to be able to match up with the offensive linemen and it led to many times of being stonewalled at the line of scrimmage. Sutton boasts a ton of potential especially with his ability to pass rush, but will need to return back to his 2012 roots to be able to be successful in the NFL.
Will Sutton is still one of the better defensive players in the draft due to his ability to pass rush with the best of them. If teams can maintain that Sutton stays around that playing weight of 290 to 295 then he can truly cause a lot of havoc on opposing teams. Look for Sutton to come off the board somewhere in the 3rd round range, but could drop to the 4th as teams are still concerned about his 2013 play and his less than desirable measureables he has.