TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 30: Defensive tackle Will Sutton #90 of the Arizona State Sun Devils reacts after a turnover in downs against the Arizona Wildcats during the fourth quarter of the college football game at Sun Devil Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Tempe, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Wildcats 58-21. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
With the Chicago Bears’ training camp in Bourbonnais just around the corner, Grizzly Detail is taking a look at some of the new players donning jerseys this season, and in this edition we change our focus back to the defensive line, where we examine rookie defensive tackle Will Sutton.
Sutton’s draft stock took a bit of a hit with an underwhelming senior season for the Arizona State Sun Devils, but his junior season is what the Bears were banking on when they drafted him in the third round of May’s NFL Draft. In 2012, Sutton racked up 13 sacks for the Sun Devils, forced three fumbles, and picked up a remarkable 23.5 tackles for loss. His 2013 season may not have been as spectacular, with just four sacks and 29 solo tackles (48 combined), but he still showed quite a bit of skill as a pass rusher in his final collegiate season.
What the Bears Hope He Will Bring:
The Bears couldn’t keep defensive linemen healthy last year, with Stephen Paea, Shea McClellin, Henry Melton, and Nate Collins all suffering from a variety of ailments. They did bring in Jeremiah Ratliff to be part of the mix up the middle this year, but as an insurance policy, they added both Sutton and LSU product Ego Ferguson in the draft.
As for what the team will be expecting out of Sutton, it’s pretty simple: getting pressure on the quarterback. Lamarr Houston is more of a run stopper off the edge, and even though Jared Allen has made a habit of sacking the quarterback in his career, he will need help. That area is where Sutton excels, and the team will be expecting him to re-find the form that he had on display during 2012.
We were really high on Sutton coming into the draft, going so far as to suggest that the Bears could target him in the second round. The Bears ended up getting him in the third round of the draft, with his lackluster senior season and questions about his work ethic knocking him down the draft boards of several teams.
Needless to say, Sutton is going to need to take his craft seriously if he’s going to be successful in the NFL. All of the skills are certainly there, and he’s a more polished product than Ferguson is, but he has plenty of work remaining to do, and the Bears will need him to adjust quickly to the NFL game.