WR Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos
Courtland Sutton leaves SMU after three extremely productive seasons where he averaged 1,073 yards and 10 touchdowns on 65 receptions, even with horrendous quarterback play. After a chance to play on both sides of the ball, Sutton was injured and took a medical redshirt in 2014. Sutton never looked back and began roasting opposing defenses once he regained his form. Once thought to be a lock to enter the 2017 NFL Draft, Sutton surprisingly returned to school, which subsequently strengthened his NFL outlook. Sutton finished the combine with excellent times in the 40-yard dash and three-cone drill at 4.54 and 6.57 seconds respectively. Once he proved his quickness and athleticism, Sutton was considered a lock to be taken in the first or second round of the draft.
The Scout’s Notes
Sutton has a great wide receiver frame, measuring in at 6’3” 218 pounds which he uses to out-muscle and box-out defenders all over the field. His strong hands and precise placement allow him to beat press coverage and take away cornerbacks’ chances of slowing his route. Sutton works down the field well and has no issues high-pointing the ball and winning any contested catches. This is apparent both in the red zone and in all vertical routes and combinations. He has strong hands and catches the ball with ease while playing both down the field and underneath on shorter routes. After the catch, Sutton is sneaky elusive, using cuts and stopping on dimes to pick up extra yards in the open field. In the run game, Sutton is an able and willing blocker who creates space for his running backs in the open field. One concern with Sutton is his questionable acceleration and burst, thus causing occasional difficulties separating with just speed. Though this is a question mark, Sutton wins in many other ways and will find a way to work around it and be successful.
Fantasy Outlook and NFL Comparison
In a somewhat shocking selection, the Denver Broncos selected Sutton in the early second round. With Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders still in the picture, Sutton is likely to sit and learn for a season before beginning his quest for success in 2019. Despite the limited output he will have in 2018, Sutton has been and is still my top ranked wide receiver in this draft class. He is similar to Brandon Marshall coming out of college and will likely follow the same path as Marshall during his first two season in the NFL. After playing a minor role his rookie season, Marshall went on to be one of the most productive receivers of his era, and with time, Courtland Sutton could have a similar result. Even though his stock seemed to drop after his landing spot became official, Sutton would be an easy top five selection in 1QB leagues for me. Don’t miss the boat on Sutton.
The first play of this video, Sutton (top of screen) runs a go route, and once the play develops, it appears he was the intended target for the play. He does not burn the cornerback, but once he sees the ball is slightly underthrown, he adjusts well and uses his strong hands to pluck the ball out of the air and away from the defender.
At 0:54, Sutton is lined up at the bottom of the screen and is designated to block for the strong-side sweep. Although it would be great to see him stay on his feet and use his strength to force the defender back to create space, he throws his body and attempts to take the defender completely out of the play.
The first play of the video shows Sutton running a hitch route, where he releases from the line and stops on a dime just five or so yards into the route. He makes the catch and makes not one, not two, but three defenders miss with agility moves. This is great to see out of a 6’3” 218-pound receiver.
At 2:37, Sutton catches a screen pass and displays more of his big-bodied agility. He makes another defender miss and runs the ball for a gain of about 24 yards.
Stay tuned for more in-depth analysis on this exciting class of rookies!
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