How Will Sutton Fits with the Chicago Bears

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How Will Sutton Fits with the Chicago Bears
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

After causing a slight uproar on Twitter with his selection of Ego Ferguson in the second round, Bears general manager Phil Emery redeemed himself with the selection of Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton in the third round.

Sutton had a monster season in 2012, registering 63 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, five pass deflections and three forced fumbles. Despite his terrific season, his weight jumped from 290 pounds to over 300 pounds, and his production steadily dropped off.

In 2013, Sutton registered just 48 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and three pass deflections. He lost his explosiveness because of the weight gain and likely dropped down many draft boards over concerns of whether or not he could get himself back to his 2012 weight. 

In a teleconference Friday night, Sutton revealed that he is back down to his 2012 weight of 290 pounds.

According to ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson, Emery feels that Sutton's ideal weight is between 285 and 295 pounds.

If Sutton maintains his weight between 285 and 295 pounds, he will be a strong candidate to become the eventual starting 3-technique tackle in the near future.

The team lost former Pro Bowl 3-technique Henry Melton to the Dallas Cowboys this offseason, but they did re-sign veterans Jeremiah Ratliff and Nate Collins.

Ratliff will likely split time between the nose tackle and 3-technique spot, leaving Collins as Sutton's main competition for playing time in 2014.

Collins has proven in the past that he can be an effective starter, but concerns over his ACL injury from last season likely prompted the Bears to take Sutton in the third round.

Adding Sutton to go along with Ferguson now gives the Bears two young players at the defensive tackle position that project to be potential impact players in the future.

"I bet they think that us two could make a good tandem together, either he plays nose and I play three-tech or vice versa," Sutton said of Ferguson on a conference call Friday night. "Wherever they want us to play, I feel like us two can come in and really do some damage."

In order for either Sutton or Ferguson to "do some damage," they will both need to become more fundamentally sound. Sutton has a tendency to become overaggressive and can play erratic at times. He struggled with his conditioning in 2013, but that should improve as long as he is able to maintain his weight. 

Despite some of the negatives in his game, Sutton's upside may make him one of the best picks that the Bears make all weekend. Despite a dip in his statistics in 2013 because of the weight gain, he still made plays for the Sun Devils and earned first-team All-American recognition by the Associated Press for the second year in a row.

Out of the three selections that Phil Emery has made so far in the 2014 draft, Sutton may have the most potential. As long as he can maintain his weight and his explosive first step, he has a real shot at becoming a full-time starter before the 2014 season is over.

 

All stats courtesy of Sports-Reference.com.

Matt Eurich is an NFL/Chicago Bears Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.

Follow @MattEurich

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