New Orleans Saints 2016 NFL Draft Profile: Su’a Cravens


Su’a Cravens is an enticing option for the New Orleans Saints in the upcoming 2016 NFL Draft, especially if the team is targeting a weakside linebacker, so we profile the USC playmaker.

We continue our draft profile series with USC Trojans linebacker/safety hybrid Su’a Cravens, who could enter the scenario as a potential playmaker on the defensive side of the ball for the New Orleans Saints.  He’s one of my personal favorites of the incoming rookie class, and for good reason.

Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 226 LBS
Arm length: 32 1/8 inches
Hands: 9 1/2 inches

Combine results:
Bench press (225 LBS): 16 reps
Vertical: 27 inches
Broad jump: 114 inches

First and foremost, while Su’a Cravens did not have the best combine performance in on-field drills (also didn’t run the 40-yard-dash), he left a strong impression on teams in the interview room.  Plus, he made up for it with a strong presentation at USC’s pro day, which was highlighted by 4.54-second 40 time.

Cravens is instinctive against both the pass and the run, which is highlighted by supreme versatility, athleticism, and awareness.  He boasts an athletic frame with room to grow and fill out —  he showed it after gaining weight for the combine.  He doesn’t possess the ideal size and length and still has a few kinks to work out as he continues to adjust to the linebacker position.

Drawing comparisons to Shaq Thompson and Deone Bucannon, Su’a Cravens’ versatility 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.  That hybrid skill is becoming a popular commodity in today’s NFL.

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How he fits with the New Orleans Saints:
Despite adding three linebackers in free agency, the Saints are still in need of a weakside linebacker — the health of Dannell Ellerbe is nothing to count on.  Before free agency, it was arguably the team’s biggest obligation.  To many, it still is.

Su’a Cravens could be the answer in the upcoming NFL Draft.  He played in a strongside linebacker/safety 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.  The Saints could also use depth at the safety position, especially after the departure of Rafael Bush.

With potential first-round talent, Su’a Cravens is projected to go in the second round of the upcoming draft, but his name could still get called on the first night.  The Saints have already expressed interest in the USC star by scheduling a private visit with him to get a closer look after his noteworthy pro day.