Sutton Smith

Position: Edge

College: Northern Illinois

Height: 6'0"

Weight: 235 lbs

SCOUTING GRADE

Injury History: No Major Injury History

Games Evaluated: 2018: Utah, FSU, 2017: Nebraska, Western Michigan

Scout: Jason Feiner

Scouting Report

Athleticism: 6.84

Q.A.B. / C.O.D.: 7.60

 

Great quickness and agility allow him to fire off the line in a low and controlled motion. Possesses a quick first step that forces the lineman back. Displays the ability to plant his foot and move upfield with ease changing direction and crossing the lineman's face. Rarely loses speed when changing direction.

Flexibility: 6.90

 

Good flexibility allows him to fire off the ball with a low pad level and bent knees in order to gain leverage on bigger bodies. Possesses excellent bend at the top with the talent to dip his hips and close on the quarterback. Excellent hip movement allows him to beat tackles off the edge.

Explosiveness: 6.30

 

An extremely fluid athlete with a quick step who lacks explosiveness off the line of scrimmage. Doesn't seem to have quick twitch muscles to fire off the line. Has the quickness and good acceleration to beat tackles regardless.

Playing Speed: 7.30

 

Fast athlete who will beat tackles around the edge or backs to the sideline. Has the speed to play stand up linebacker if asked to do so.

Coordination: 6.10

 

Needs to develop better coordination. Will often end up on the ground and can overrun the play giving leverage to the blocker. Needs to break down and keep his feet underneath his base.

Pass Rush Ability: 6.70

Initial Quickness: 6.90

 

Good quickness off the line with a solid first step and good technique. Can hesitate when the ball is snapped, but has the acceleration to get to top speed fast.

Use of Hands: 6.10

 

Possesses short arms and can't use his length to keep blockers off his body. Utilizes a good chop move to knock hands down at the top of the arc. Needs to develop a wider range of hand moves to keep lineman off his chest and away from his body.

Leverage: 7.00

 

Fires out with excellent technique and pad level utilizing a good base to keep balance. Often relies on speed to beat tackles to the outside, as he can get stopped if timing is consumed.

 

Pass Rush Moves: 6.20

 

Uses his speed to win on the edge with the ability to cut back inside when forcing tackles off balance. Possesses a head fake that will often create a lane for him to take to the ball. Head fake won't be as successful at the next level against disciplined lineman.

Finish Ability: 7.30

 

Great finish ability who will rarely miss a tackle in the backfield. Can occasionally overrun the ball, but possesses excellent football IQ and tackle technique.

Competitiveness: 7.57

Toughness: 6.60

 

Small frame and short arms make for a rare breed of pass rusher. He is hard player with loads of heart and a will to succeed. Possesses a never give up attitude with the mentality to do what is asked. Doesn't possess the necessary play strength to play edge full time at the next level.

Consistency/Motor: 7.90

 

Will never quit on a play and will often win one-on-one fights with tenacity and his motor alone. Will always play longer than the person across from him and will be seen chasing the ball carrier from behind.

Production: 8.20

 

One of the most productive edge defenders at the NCAA level. Gaining extra attention from offensive coordinators along the line. Lead the NCAA with 29.5 TFL and 14 sacks in 2017. Struggles against double teams and fails to disengage when tackles get their hands on his chest.

Against The Run: 6.27

Play with Leverage: 5.80

 

Lacks the play strength to rip through blocks and struggles to gain separation once engaged. Has excellent technique with good pad level and a solid base. Lacks the length to keep lead blocks from getting into his body.

Stack and Shed: 5.80

 

Struggles in contact and doesn't possess adequate strength to break free of big bodied offensive lineman. Good athleticism and quickness combined with excellent instincts and field awareness allow him to make plays on the ball carrier. needs to add weight and strength to compensate for his small frame and short stature. Rarely uses his hands to shed blocks. His motor will often outlast blockers.

Gap Shooting Ability: 6.20

 

Great speed and a solid get off allow him to shoot gaps freely. Has been getting held up when keyed on by the offense, and struggles in double teams or on plays when he is slow to react and sluggish off the line. Won't make a play when he allows the blocker to initiate contact.

Run at Him: 6.20

 

Strong against the run, but can get held up when he is slow to react. Will often beat ball carriers to the boundary and can consistently make plays on the ball behind the line of scrimmage.

Run Away: 6.50

 

Great speed allows him to chase down runners from behind. Possesses a powerful nose for the football and will consistently be around the runner.

Tackling/Hitting: 7.10

 

Great form tackler who will rarely miss a tackle when engaged. Needs to build muscle and add weight, as he can occasionally gets knocked off balance and run over by strong bruising backs.

Intelligence: 7.47

Instincts: 6.40

 

Solid mental processing allows him to diagnose the play early and make plays in the backfield, while finding the football in a crowd. Has shown slight hesitation prior to firing off the line of scrimmage.

Learn/Retain: 7.90

 

A smart athlete with a high football intelligence. Played running back in highschool and during his redshirt freshman season and was moved to linebacker and edge rusher at the beginning of his sophomore campaign. Loves film and continues to learn the position. has been known to study film and learn the tendencies of opposing players in order to get an edge. Often seems like he knows what the offense is doing as a result.

Teamwork: 8.10

 

Will do anything for his team and will continuously do his job well. Craves success and has the heart to beat anyone at any task.

STRENGTHS:

An athletic defender with excellent footwork and good paying speed. Possesses a quick first step with fluid motion off the line. He does an impressive job of avoiding contact at the point of attack utilizing a slippery nature and his athletic ability to keep himself free in pursuit of the bal. Has good change of direction with the talent to plant his foot and work back inside to make a play on the ball. He has the ability to win with a combination of his speed, footwork and play recognition as a pass rusher. Has displayed a solid chop at the top of the arc to separate from the block knocking their hands down and away from his body. His low pad level allows him to dip underneath punches and his flexibility creates an elite level bend once at the top of the arc and attacking the ball back inside. Has displayed excellent mental processing, and a high quality motor that has helped him win deep into a play. Has a larger heart than most opponents and will win with sheer determination off the edge.

WEAKNESSES:

Possesses a small frame and poor length with marginal play strength. Lacks the physical tools to consistently matchup against NFL lineman often getting bullied and engulfed by size and power when directly engaging. Repeatedly false steps out of his stance lacking the explosive quality wanted on the edge. Unable to consistently create pressure utilizing the speed rush, as he fails to create a speed-power pass rush lacking physical strength. Disciplined tackles don't fall for his head fake causing him lose ground and ultimately get knocked out of the play. Counters as a last resort, and will often rely too heavily on speed and athleticism to get him to the corner. Lacking physical power causes him to widen out of his stance losing ground on the tackle before snap. Desires to dance and run around tackle rather than engage and hold the point of attack firing through the gap. Will fire out of his stance solely relying on speed causing him to run out of the play failing to break down and process the field.

BIG PICTURE: 

Sutton Smith possesses excellent athleticism with the leadership, personality and desire qualities teams crave for. However, he is undersized to be an NFL pass rusher with limited play strength and poor length. He will be best suited to play stand up outside linebacker at the next level being utilized as a sideline-to-sideline backer with the capability to rush the passer in blitz packages, Stunts and obvious passing situations. His athleticism, technique, and intelligence will bring him far in his career, but his heart and motor will make him a high level player. He possesses the capability to be a three down linebacker in a 4-3 scheme and the athleticism to carry backs out of the backfield and run with them stride for stride. He is a raw athlete with loads of room to grow.

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