Every year there is a prospect that stays a year too long and kills their draft stock. This year, that player is Will Sutton. In his 2012 season, Sutton had 13 sacks as a DT. In the 2013 season, Aaron Donald, the best interior pass rusher in the draft, "only" registered 11 sacks. In 2010, Ndamakung Suh was drafted number two overall after recording 12 sacks in his final year at Nebraska. In 2012, Sutton exemplified dominance.
The problem is that this is obviously the 2014 Draft and Sutton is not being graded solely off of his 2012 performance -- his 2013 effort was dull. The disparities between the two seasons are almost eerie. In 2012, Sutton was an explosive athlete that used an array of pass rush moves and played a high motor to repeatedly abuse interior offensive linemen. In 2013, he wasn't explosive, played slow, disappeared for long stretches in games and wasn't relentless. According to Sutton, the reason this happened was because he got too fat.
Sutton reportedly weighed 330 lbs last season, up from the 280 pounds he said he played at as a Junior. When asked about the reason for his weight gain, Sutton said, "I was listening to outside sources, too many outside sources...I was playing at a high level at 280 and shouldn't have changed what I did, what I was good at."
Aforementioned, what Sutton is good at is being an interior pass rusher that wins with quickness, an array of pass rush moves and perseverance. Once he gained too much weight, he lost his explosiveness and motor. Sutton had this to say about were the weight affected him the most,
"I noticed it in my stamina. My junior year my motor was a lot better than my senior year. I noticed that for a fact, a lot more run to the ball. That's something I've got to prove coming in. I've got to improve on my motor."
In 2012, when his motor was running hot, he would put together a string of plays like this (all video via DraftBreakdown.com):
In 2013, when his motor was running cold, he would put together a string of plays like this:
This offseason, Sutton has been losing weight in hopes of showing NFL teams that he can regain his 2012 form. He weighed in at 315 lbs at the Senior Bowl, 303 lbs at the combine, 297 lbs at his Pro Day, and 295 lbs at teammate Marion Grice's Pro Day. Speaking of the combine, Sutton put up lackluster numbers during his workout. He had a 1.82 10 yard split and a 28.5" vertical which when considering quickness and explosion are his strengths, these numbers are slightly troubling.
Nonetheless, his 2012 tape is crazy and if PCJS think he can regain his old form, they may take him as high as the 64th pick. If they think the 2013 version is the real him, they would probably wait till the 4th or the 5th to get him. Maybe they will even think the 2012 version is the real Sutton but still draft him in the 4th because everyone else was misinformed - they tend to do superior stuff like that.
Though it would be amazing if the Seahawks could grab Sutton in the 4th, interior pass rushers usually do not last long so he may not be around that late. If the Seahawks miss out on Sutton it wouldn't be a huge deal so it is not like they have to force the pick in the 2nd either. Jordan Hill and Greg Scruggs both have the potential to be productive pass rushers on the inside and will be given the opportunity to compete for snaps. Seahawks Defensive Coordinator, Dan Quinn had this to say about Hill,
"I think the thing that sets him apart for us is his movement. For a big guy, he's got good feet, and we're hoping that he can develop as an inside pass rusher. As you know, that's one of the things that's hardest to find, you know, those pass rushers that are bigger guys that can play inside over the top of a guard, so, that's the role that we hope he'll develop into, and that's going to be a big emphasis for him this offseason."
Similar things could be said about Sutton, the man did have 13 sacks in 2012. Here are some examples of him owning offensive lineman:
Here he wins with against with an outside move against Missiouri's RG:
Here he wins with a double swipe move against Cal:
Here wins with another double swipe move but from the 5-tech against Colorado:
Here he wins late with his motor against Arizona:
Additionally, even though stopping the run is not Sutton's forte, it is not like he is inept. He is fully capable of making plays in the run game, often winning with quickness by knifing into the backfield to destroy plays. Again, the 2012 tape will be used to demonstrate what a skinny Sutton can do.
Here he gets his Brandon Mebane on by penetrating the strong side A gap against Arizona:
Here he does the Tony McDaniel by smashing USC's weak side guard:
In conclusion, if Sutton was judged solely off of his 2012 tape, he would be a late 1st/early 2nd prospect. However, his 2013 tape sadly has a lot of garbage on it which is why he is projected by many to fall into day three. If the Seahawks took him with the 64th pick, the payoff could be worth risk. If they were to take him anywhere after that, he could possibly turn into the steal off the draft.