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NFL Draft 2018: Courtland Sutton could be a Day 2 bargain for the Bengals

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Courtland Sutton will have to prove he has the tools to succeed in the NFL after being restrained by a lack of talent around him at SMU.

SMU v Cincinnati Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Courtland Sutton had a rough time in college that shouldn’t overshadow his immense talent.

Sutton was the victim from a lack of talent at the quarterback position. He was still able to show flashes of his talent despite this though. He was able to top 1,000 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns.

Sutton has a way of playing that really doesn’t fit the formulaic process of studying receivers for the draft. Most people look for receivers who are able to create separation for their quarterback, and Sutton doesn’t often do that. He is probably one of the best receivers in this draft at making contested catches though.

Profile

School: SMU

Position: Receiver

Height: 6’3

Weight: 218 pounds

Projected Round: Second day

NFL comparison: JuJu Smith-Schuster

40-yard dash: 4.54 seconds

Bench Press: 18 reps

Vertical: 35.5 inches

Broad jump: 124 inches

Three cone: 6.56 seconds

20-yard shuttle: 4.11 seconds

60-yard shuttles: 11.06 seconds

Highlights

Analysis

I really feel the Juju Smith-Schuster comparison bodes well for Sutton. I know how Bengals fans feel about Smith-Schuster, but as a receiver he has shown he could end up having a productive career. That is something I can see Sutton having as well.

When I watch Sutton play, I see a very talented possession receiver. Sutton is able to make the contested catches that help gain a quarterbacks trust, and he possesses enough speed to make something happen after the catch. His combine numbers are fairly similar to Smith-Schuster’s as well. They ran they exact same 40-yard dash time close to the same broad jump.

Sutton did really show off his agility and acceleration during the three cone drill, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle. All three of which he ranked near the top of the receivers’ times.

Sutton will have to find a way to apply that to his actual play speed, but that doesn’t seem like it would be terribly hard. Really, Sutton needs to work on his routes. He doesn’t maximize his speed by running routes technically sound. It makes him look slower than he is. Some of that may be effort based though.

Overall it seems Sutton could be a valuable addition to any receiving group. Especially if he isn’t forced into the top receiver role too early.

How he fits with the Bengals

Sutton could easily push Tyler Boyd, Cody Core or Brandon LaFell off this roster, almost instantly. I think he may need a year under A.J. Green to really grow into being an NFL receiver and to learn all the on the field things that need to be done. After that though, he could end up being a nice second receiving option for Andy Dalton.

The Bengals have been trying to replace the ghost of Marvin Jones Jr. since he left in free agency, and Sutton could very well end their search. I’m not sure the Bengals would be willing to spend a second-round pick on Sutton given their other needs. It would really depend if they address the center position in round one or not.

If Sutton ends up being a Bengal, then it shouldn’t be too long until he sees the field.