ASU DT Will Sutton drafted by Chicago Bears in 3rd round of 2014 NFL DraftPosted: Updated:
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Will Sutton will now be eatin' in Chi Town.
Sutton, the two-time Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year was selected by the Chicago Bears in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft, officially closing one of Arizona State's most decorated football careers.
Sutton's selection ends a one-year drought in which no ASU players were drafted. Prior to last year, a Sun Devil had been taken in every NFL Draft dating back to 1963.
The Corona, Calif. native came to ASU in 2009 as a three-star prospect and started two games as a true freshman, making 17 tackles. However, his career hit a major obstacle when he sat out all of the 2010 season due to academics.
Sutton came back strong a year later, earning a starting job and posting 33 tackles with the first 2.5 sacks of his career. Despite the upward swing, there was concern that his vast potential may never go fully realized.
Those fears were swiftly cast aside in 2012 when Sutton become the centerpiece of ASU's new look attacking defense under incoming head coach Todd Graham. He registered at least half a sack in the season's first six games, and was garnering national recognition. Unfortunately, a knee injury against Oregon slowed him down during the middle part of the year, but he finished strong to make 8.5 tackles for loss over the season's final four games.
On the strength of his 13.5 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss, Sutton was named the Pac-12's Defensive Player of the Year and became ASU's 18 consensus All-American. With many projecting Sutton to be a high pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, Sutton surprised many by announcing his return for his senior year.
After playing around 280 pounds as a junior, Sutton admitted to feeling pressure to add weight in preparation for the NFL. Getting over 320 pounds, Sutton did not display the quickness and agility with the consistency that made him such a threat in 2012. His bulk, along with increased attention from opposing offenses, resulted in his production dropping to four sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss. Nevertheless, he was a stout contributor to the Sun Devil defense and repeated as the Pac-12's Defensive Player of the Year.
During the pre-draft process, Sutton spoke candidly about the weight issue. He weight in at 303 at the NFL Scouting Combine and 295 at ASU's Pro Day. He with many teams including the Saints, Raiders, Ravens, Cowboys, Buccaneers, and Packers.
With his quickness, interior pass rushing ability, and shorter (6-foot-1) frame, Sutton has garnered comparison to Cincinnati Bengal Geno Atkins, but will need to improve his strength, as he can be neutralized at the point of attack. With the Bears, Sutton will add depth to a Chicago defensive line that added Jared Allen over the offseason. He should be a very good fit in the interior of their 4-3 scheme.