Scouting the NFL Draft: LB Su’a Cravens

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Su'a Cravens, LB, USC
Ht. 6', Wt. 226, Arm: 32 18", Hand: 9 12", Bench: 16
40 yd: 4.69, 10 yd.: -, 3 Cone: 6.92, Vertical: 30.5", Broad: 9'6"
Games Watched: Stanford, Cal, Notre Dame

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Su'a Cravens was an All-America Los Angeles prep star that was even named the AP Defensive Player of the Year. The No. 1 safety recruit committed to USC in 2013 and enrolled early. He was named the starting strong safety as a freshman, where he finished the year with 52 tackles, 4 INTs and 1.5 TFL. He missed two games that season with a groin injury.

USC's coaches made Cravens a safety-linebacker hybrid before his sophomore year and the move paid off. Cravens responded with two highly disruptive seasons, totaling 154 tackles, 32 TFL, 10.5 sacks, 5 INT, 15 passes defended and two forced fumbles. He was also voted to several All-America teams and named a semifinalist for the Butkus and Bednarik awards.

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• Strength - Anchors against offensive linemen
• Quickness - Changes direction like a RB
• Coverage - Fluid hips, efficient feet
• Speed - Closes quickly, covers sidelines
• Blitzing - Works the edge, penetrates
• Tackling - Sure, explodes through contact
• Instincts - Diagnoses, finds ball quickly
• Shedding - Uses hands, length to disengage
• Physical - Eagerly takes on blockers 100 pounds bigger
• Versatility - Ability to line up all over


• Size - More slight than ideal
• Durability -  Violent style and frame could be trouble
• Aggressive - Occasionally overpursues
• Inexperience - Only two years in role

Verdict: First-Round Pick

Those worrying about where Cravens will stand before the snap will likely miss out on what he does after it. The term "playmaker" is hackneyed, but that's what Cravens was at USC in every role from CB to 7-technique. His negatives are mostly nitpicking, as he's a do-it-all three-down defender that can cover like a safety, hit like a linebacker and stack like a defensive end.

Positional lines have been blurred by innovative defensive coordinators looking to put their most disruptive players on the field. While Cravens is a traditional WILL, where Sean Lee plays, the Cowboys should think of him as a disruptor and add him to their defense that lacked that quality last season. There's a good chance Cravens will slide past the first round, but Dallas shouldn't let him get past their pick at the top of the second round.

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