The Chicago Bears will be starting their rookie mini-camp on Friday morning, and thanks to the quick work of GM Phil Emery and his front office staff, they will be doing so with their entire rookie class under contract.
That’s because defensive tackle Will Sutton agreed to a four-year contract on Thursday. Sutton was the last of the eight Bears draft picks to sign a deal, and the Arizona State product will be in uniform when the team begins their weekend camp.
Sutton, who won Defensive Player of the Year in the Pac-12 two years in a row, started 40 games for the Sun Devils in his collegiate career. He had 161 tackles at Arizona State, and he had 20.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in his career. In the 2013 season, Sutton started 14 games and had 13.5 tackles for loss.
Taken in the third round, Sutton will get an opportunity to prove that he deserves playing time at the defensive tackle position. The Bears’ line is completely reconfigured this season, and with incumbents like Stephen Paea and Jeremiah Ratliff still in the fold, Sutton will have to compete hard to get playing time for the squad. He is a gifted pass rusher who is incredibly explosive off the snap, but his smaller frame means that he is going to have to work hard to utilize his natural leverage on the line, and that is a skill he will have to hone in the NFL.
Along with Ego Ferguson, Sutton could prove to be part of the backbone for the pass rush in the years to come, and if he and his fellow rookie can deliver on that potential, then the Bears’ defense could go from one of the league’s worst to one of its best in short order.