Courtland Sutton is a 22 year old receiver out of SMU. He was injured two games into his freshman season, receiving a medical redshirt (I searched the internet long and hard, and can’t find what the specific injury was). The 6’4″ 215-220 receiver went on to play three more season in Dallas, averaging about 1,000 yards and ten touchdowns per year. Another interesting note, he played a semester of basketball for SMU under the great Larry Brown. (You can read his recounts here via Adam Grosbard of Sports Day.) The Packers have some interesting young receivers in the program, but they could certainly add a talented rookie to the core.
The draft prospect gets compared to Dez Bryant the most, and not just because he played his college ball in Dallas. He has a big physical profile, and uses his strength to keep the coverage man on his back hip, giving a quarterback with Aaron Rodgers accuracy a window to throw into. He’s specifically dangerous in the bubble screen game, as he can bully corners for extra yards, and in the redzone, where he can use his physical advantage. I’m a fan of football players with a basketball background, even if it isn’t to a Quinten Rollins, Jimmy Graham, Antonio Gates level. Practicing against division one basketball players, especially under a NBA champion coach, had to positively affect how he views route running, body control in some ways.
It’ll be very interesting to see what he runs at the combine, because he doesn’t create a ton of separation in his highlight videos, which is another reason he’s been compared to Dez Bryant. In my opinion, he’s still physically impressive enough that I’d be interested in him even if he failed to run a good time. He has soft hands, and can run over defensive backs who aren’t interested in throwing their body into a brick wall. Although he can use his physicality to make up for his speed, if he becomes a high level route runner (something Dez Bryant hasn’t become) he could be one of the better receivers in football.
He didn’t miss a game in his last three seasons at SMU, but I am a little concerned that his injury history is buried somewhere deep in the dark web.
Nate Davis of USA Today: Round One, 29th to Jacksonville
Matt Miller of Bleacher Report: Second Round, third pick to Cleveland
Chris Trapasso of CBSSports: Round One, 18th to Seattle
He’s considered a late-first round to mid-second round pick as of right now. I think he’s the type of talent that will rise up the draft boards, especially after the combine. If he doesn’t run well, he’ll lift well. Playing in the American Athletic Conference may have hurt his draft stock a bit, but just looking at him as an athlete, there haven’t been many draft prospects with his upside in recent years. If his stock stays pat, I’d be even more interested in him, as the Packers could trade back in the first round, pick up an asset or two, and still get a real talent.
Fit With Packers:
His speed may cause issues with certain teams, but with Aaron Rodgers ability to throw a dime into a shot glass two miles away, I think he’s a good fit in Green Bay. As much as I appreciate Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, the idea of Davante Adams and Sutton on the edges is intriguing. Two big bodies who can make plays after the catch, and it gives the Packers two options for fade routes, bubble screens, and slants. Sutton may not be a star in any system, but the Joe Philbin-Mike McCarthy duo feels like one of his better fits. Sutton is definitely someone to keep your eyes on cheeseheads.