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Analysis Bears News/Notes

Bears Scouting Report: Courtland Sutton

Player: Courtland Sutton
Position: Wide Receiver
College: SMU
Size: 6’3″ 218 Pounds

When looking at the wide receivers, Courtland Sutton stands out as one of the top in this draft class. Ryan Pace has shown plenty of times that he is okay with going for boom or bust players, but I see a lot more boom than I do bust in this guy. He would give Ryan Pace a young wide receiver to grow with his fancy new quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
I have watched plenty of film on this guy, and I truly believe he could be something special. From the film I have watched, he is a hard worker that can make the big plays that the Bears missed in 2017.

Positives

  • He is a big physical wide receiver that Chicago doesn’t currently possess. Sutton will give his quarterback a strong player that will make a play for him, even if he is covered. He does a great job breaking through the defender when they try to muscle him up, and it is very difficult to try to stop him when he is running full speed at them. He does a great job staying physical through the catch and after the catch, as he has shown that he can break tackles.
  • Sutton shows a surprising amount of athleticism for his size. I was very impressed at the NFL Combine with how well he did in the testing. He ended up running a 4.54 40 time, which is really good for his size. What really surprised me was his three-cone drill, where he ran a 6.57 second time. He finished in third for this drill, but he would’ve finished tied for first with a .01 second faster time. This kind of athleticism for a receiver of his size is almost unheard of. He shows a level of athleticism that could put him all over the field, whether outside or in the slot.
  • A much smoother route runner than gets credit for. I have seen NFL Draft analysts say that Sutton is not that great of a route runner, but I strongly disagree. He looks very smooth on film getting around defenders. You could say that it was against worse talent in the American Conference, but when I watched him at the NFL Combine, he looked like one of the best at route running. He did a great job at dropping his hips on speed cuts. He was not the best, but the difference between him and the guys at the top is that he’s much bigger than the other top route runners.


I really love the clip above because it shows how smooth of a route runner he is when running downfield. He makes it look effortless going right past the defender.

  • He has big/strong hands. In terms of hands, Sutton has proved that he can make the tough catch that not many can make. Like I mentioned before he is quite strong overall, and makes the tough catches while getting hit, but he also shows off strong hands when he is not getting hit. He can be the one to go up and get the big play, but also could just throw up one hand and make a bad throw look good. He had plenty of that when he was at SMU.

  • Not afraid to help block. An underrated portion of a wide receivers job is to block the cornerback. I get so frustrated when a run play is looking good and a cornerback blows it up. I love to watch a wide receiver that is willing to help. From the film that I saw, Sutton can do just that.

Negatives

  • Didn’t play against very tough competition. When you’re comparing draft prospects, you have to look at the competition they played against. A guy like Calvin Ridley will get more of the benefit of the doubt on bad plays because it’s against the SEC. The American conference is not a very good conference, so when he didn’t dominate, it hurts much more for him.
  • Sutton is slow off the line. It takes him a long time to get up and going off the line. He has very long strides, which makes it a bit difficult to accelerate quickly. It can slow down the development of the play. This is something that coaches have to put into consideration.
  • Sutton also takes a while to get going after a catch. He was able to still break away from defenders on routes where he has to stop and go at the college level, but I’m not so sure he can get away with this in the NFL. His long strides force him to take a long time to get going.

Conclusion

For Chicago Bears fans, no position group was quite as frustrating to watch than the wide receivers group. It hurt to watch Trubisky drop back and try to find a wide receiver who could create any sort of separation but not get it. Chicago is going to invest in the wide receiver position this offseason, there is no doubt about that, but where are we going to do this? We could see Ryan Pace go all in and try and sign the top wide receivers, or try to stick to his plan of building through the draft.
Sutton reminds me of Dez Bryant when I watch him, except he doesn’t have the character flaws that Dez had. I’m sure that Trubisky would love to have his own Dez Bryant, and I think Ryan Pace should make it happen.

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