With the NFL Draft just two weeks away, scouts and general managers are fine-tuning their draft boards and making final observations on prospective players for their franchises.
Arizona State will be represented in this year’s draft by at least two players, defensive tackle Will Sutton and linebacker Carl Bradford, according to ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr,.
Sutton could have left for the draft last year, but elected to stay in school his senior season. Sutton has been working on losing weight as the draft approaches, weighing in at 315 pounds at the Senior Bowl and at 297 pounds at his Pro Day.
When asked about how Sutton’s weight shift will affect his draft stock, Kiper said that an NFL team could take a chance on Sutton during the second or third day of the draft.
“The ups and down of the way the weight went and the way he performed on the field this year was not the level we had seen,” Kiper said in a media conference call Wednesday. “I think somebody is going to maybe try to balance it out and say, ‘If we can get him at the right weight, get him back to the way he was and rotate him in there, you got a guy that can make some things happen behind the line of scrimmage.’ I think somebody maybe in the third or fourth round will take a look at Sutton.”
In his four years at ASU, Sutton totaled 45.5 tackles for loss, 20.5 sacks and twice won the Pat Tillman Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Award.
In 2012, Sutton and Bradford’s combined 44 tackles for loss were the most for a pair in ASU history and they became the first Sun Devil duo since 1994 to post double-digit sacks in the same season.
The two didn’t quite reach the same marks in 2013, combining for 32.5 tackles for loss; Bradford had 8.5 sacks and Sutton had four.
Bradford, a 6-foot-1 linebacker, finished his career in Tempe with 40.5 tackles for loss and 21.5 sacks.
“I think Bradford is a little underrated and a little under the radar,” Kiper said. “I think he can help you off the edge and he can really do some things from a mobility standpoint and an athletic standpoint. I think third or fourth round for him.”