Eighteen defensive tackles were drafted in 2013. The smallest of the bunch was Florida State’s Everett Dawkins (6-2, 292), who went in the 7th round.
Sutton’s a far superior prospect than Dawkins, so it’s not like he’d be looking at a last-day selection because of his measurables. Still, the issue with the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year is his size. He’s listed at 288 pounds, which is roughly 20 pounds heavier than he was listed at last year. Sutton has to show that he can pack on the pounds without losing a step.
It’s his quickness that will appeal most to NFL scouts. Sutton has shown tremendous ability to shoot gaps, penetrate and make plays. He had 13 sacks and 23.5 TFL last season, to go with three forces fumbles and five pass breakups.
Surely he came back to school to show he could add bulk without losing that explosiveness. Sutton needs to add some upper-body strength, as well. Sheldon Richardson, the DT from Missouri went to the Jets with the 13th overall pick, was 294 pounds and put up 30 bench press reps at the Scouting Combine; that should be the template Sutton has in mind.
This final season with the Sun Devils will also give Sutton the opportunity to develop a secondary pass rush move. Right now, he’s winning the matchups with speed. But in the NFL, he’ll need to develop the ability to bull rush his blocker. That’d become especially important if Sutton can’t put on the weight needed to stay inside and is forced to move to defensive end.