Cameron Sutton - Tennessee
Weight: 188 lbs.
Hometown: Jonesboro, GA
Experience: Four-Year Starter
40yd dash: 4.52s
Broad jump: 120 in.
Vertical: 34 in.
20yd. Shuttle: DNP
Bench Press: 11 reps
In 2012, Sutton’s arrival to Tennessee meant starting all 12 games during his campaign as a true freshman. He never relinquished his starting spot, as he would hold down the Volunteers’ secondary for the next four years. As a true freshmen, he led the team in passes defensed.
He followed up an impressive freshman year with a likewise impressive sophomore year, again leading his team in pass breakups. He also proved to be a valuable special teams player as he notched his first career punt return for a touchdown in his sophomore year. His junior year saw a decline in pass breakups, but not a decline in leadership.
When his teammate, Rashaan Gaulden, suffered a season-ending injury in training camp, Sutton took on Gaulden’s number 7 for the entirety of his junior year as a show of solidarity for his teammate who couldn’t see action on the field.
As a senior, an injury took him out of nearly half the season, but he returned in time for his senior day game against Mizzou. In just seven games as a senior, he climbed his way to the top of Tennessee’s all-time list of career pass breakups.
A fractured right ankle took Sutton out for a month and a half of his senior year, but he showed resilience with a speedy recovery, returning to the field a week ahead of schedule.
Man Coverage 3.25/5.0: Sutton showed occasional confidence in press coverage, and was sometimes able to disrupt routes. He had a tendency to disappear for quarters at a time, offering receivers free releases inside on slants and trying to mirror guys down the field without wrestling them at the line of scrimmage. Sterling Shepard did considerable damage one-one-one in 2014 during Sutton’s sophomore season. The small-framed Shepard was able to box Sutton out and keep him from the ball at will. Against Alabama’s lanky Calvin Ridley in 2015, Sutton did not have the size or strength necessary to force incompletions, though his coverage was often impeccable. His reaction time, quick feet, and active hands made him a pesky opponent for receivers, but not an insurmountable one.
Zone Coverage 3.75/5.0: Sutton’s instincts in the zone made him dangerous. While he did not tear up the stat sheet in terms of interceptions, he could lull quarterbacks to sleep by leaving seemingly large windows in cover 2 which he could abruptly close with a burst of a few steps. Sometimes he came away with picks, but he did not often give up completions. In screen plays, he could read them from the moment the ball was snapped and was usually the first to the ball.
Against the Run 2.0/5.0: Ferocious at times, Sutton definitely eased up when the opponents were larger than he was. He was bullied by nearly every receiver who blocked him. He showed little ability to shed blocks, force blockers back into running plays, or even stand his ground in the run game. When he got a running start, he could cut guys’ knees out from under them, but he could just as easily be neutralized by any blockers in the area.
Speed/Quickness: 3.75/5.0: Sutton’s recovery speed served him well the few times he missed a step or misjudged a double move down the field. His agility made him a threat to strike on any ball on his third of the field in zone coverage. He was always able to smoothly flip his hips when it seemed he may have been out of a play and make life tough for unsuspecting receivers.
Impact Play Ability 3.5/5.0: Beyond his adept coverage skills, Sutton showed an ability to make himself valuable in the return game. He had a few returns for touchdowns guided by great vision and even better burst.
Summary: Sutton played about as good of coverage as one could hope for a corner of his size. While he didn’t strike fear into the hearts of many SEC receivers, he was in the mix on pretty much every single play. His technique in man coverage was good, even if he lacked the strength to really throw off routes. He broke up a lot of passes, and never gave up on a play. He recorded multiple touchdown-saving tackles, chasing down players from the opposite side of the field to give his team a chance for another set of downs. He mirrored just about everybody in coverage without much issue, and his agility made every pass that came his way a matter of whether or not a receiver could rise over him and snag a contested pass.
Overall Grade 3.25/5.0
If Drafted by the Packers:
Sutton is close to Packers corner Damarious Randall in size, skill set, and demeanor. Both are light, quick, pesky coverage guys. If he’s available when the third round comes, Sutton could be an attractive pick for a secondary that had trouble sticking with receivers outside the hash marks last year. Quinten Rollins has not been the most reliable on the outside and if the Packers are just looking for someone to bat balls away, Sutton could grow into that pretty quickly. Corner is such a need, that if Green Bay somehow makes it past the first couple rounds without addressing it, Ted Thompson may be forced to take another sub-6-foot cover man. The coaching staff seems to value size against bigger receivers, as poor Ladarius Gunter took the brunt of the Julio Jones burden last year despite spending most of the season as the team’s third or fourth-string corner. Sutton would be a head-scratcher of a pick in that regard, but he’s had a glowing resume and rave reviews from coaches singing the praises of his work ethic and leadership. If he goes in the third, Packers fans should hope he can pick up some weight and still maintain the quickness that made him the most disruptive corner in Tennessee’s history.
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