Target: Su’a Cravens
Size: 6-foot-1, 225 LBS
Projected Round: 2-3
The New Orleans Saints are in dire need of a weakside linebacker, like I’ve mentioned countless times, and it should be their top position to address. But if they wait, USC’s Su’a Craven’s could be the answer.
He played a strongside outside linebacker/safety hybrid role at USC. However, his awareness and route recognition in pass coverage in addition to the hands to come away with the interception make him better suited at the weakside opposite Hau’oli Kikaha.
Cravens is instinctive against both the pass and the run, which is highlighted by supreme versatility. He’s an all-over-the-field kind of guy. His flexibility at both linebacker and safety will make coaches gush. He could be an excellent situational guy both in the secondary and in the front seven, similar to Carolina Panthers’ Shaq Thompson or Arizona Cardinals’ Deone Bucannon.
Cravens boasts an athletic frame with room to grow and fill out. He may have to do that if he wishes to be an effective linebacker in the NFL, otherwise he may end up being schemed into a full-time safety role.
His size will be something for the Saints to think about. If Sean Payton and company feel he can play the weakside at a high level, this is somebody who could become a real play maker on the defensive side of the ball. Cravens is one of my favorite prospects in this draft who projects out of the first round.
Next: The Next Marques Colston?