Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
In precisely a week from now, the eyes of the football world will be glued on New York City for the National Football League’s shining moment of the off-season: the NFL Draft.
Now made into a primetime spectacle that will span across three separate days, it resembles the circus coming to town more than young men’s name read at a podium. It has become a showman’s affair where large men dress up in extra-large suits and get the privilege of shaking the commissioner’s hand.
For the days following the initial media-driven first day, it becomes a more somber affair. Those not guaranteed first-round money or fame will have to compete just like all the rest for their jobs and livelihoods.
Four former Arizona State Sun Devils have the possibility of hearing their name called.
The most likely of all is Will Sutton. Known as the fearsome frontline defender the Sun Devils have relied on in the past, there are questions about how his game will translate to the pro level, likely keeping him out of the first round.
From CBSSports.com, “Possesses surprisingly strong and active hands to rip free from blocks and to rip away at the ball when he sees it exposed (three forced fumbles in 2012).” While on the downside, they also note, “Seems to tire easily. Will make a big play and then disappear for long stretches.” This assessment should be nothing new to Sun Devil fans who watched Sutton take the field for the past three seasons.
Projected as anywhere from a second, to a third-round pick, Sutton fits the needs of quite a few teams. Both the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys have a need up the middle, and should they neglect to draft a defensive lineman earlier, Sutton should be there for the taking.
In addition, a guaranteed lock to hear his name called is outside linebacker Carl Bradford. Graded as high as the sixth best outside linebacker in the entire draft, Bradford lacks the potential first-round sleeper status of Sutton.
“Locates the football quickly and shows an explosive burst to close emphatically,” CBSSports.com. In addition, “Sports a compact, powerful frame… Adept at slipping blocks.”
Working in Bradford’s favor, his critiques are not very astonishing. “Played in a highly aggressive scheme that may have maximized his big-play ability while minimizing his faults,” CBSSports.com iterated.
Look for Bradford’s name to be called anywhere from the second to third round. His most likely landing spot seems to be an organization where he will not have to start and contribute in copious amounts right away. Being able to work on his craft behind some wily veterans may suite Bradford best.
Unlike his former teammates, Marion Grice has no guarantee of even making an NFL roster. Seen as a sixth or seventh round selection, Grice’s numbers took a nosedive, affected by injuries at the conclusion of his senior year last season.
Nolan Nawrocki of NFL.com sees Grice with “(a) blue-collar work ethic. Solid character,” type of player. How far those redeeming qualities take Grice in this year’s draft will be the question. Especially considering he “needs to bulk up and get stronger,” Nawrocki stated.
Even if Grice does not merit a selection during the draft, definitely keep an ear out to hear where he lands in camp.
The man with the slightest chance of meriting a selection (who has a shot at all) is safety Alden Darby. Bordering so close on the ledge of non-selection, draft experts have not even chimed in on where his strengths and weaknesses lie.
He is ranked as the 12th best strong safety in the entire draft, but a less-than-inspiring 336th overall. If, by some chance, you find yourself still watching the draft in the final moments, listen for Darby’s name as he may sneak into some team’s last second plans.
Stay tuned here at Heat Waved next week during the draft as we update you up to the moment with not only who the Arizona Cardinals have selected, but also where the former Arizona State Sun Devils will continue their future.