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ASU Football: Will Sutton Rising Up NFL Draft Radar

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Will Sutton's beastly start to the 2012 season has him not only raking in Pac-12 honors, but showing up on NFL Draft boards

Christian Petersen - Getty Images

Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton had long been labeled with the "potential" tag during his time in Tempe, but had yet to translate that into production.

That is, until this season, when he was unleashed in the Sun Devils' new attacking defense. He was named the Pac-12's Defensive Player of the Week for Week 5 for his terrific performance against Cal, but now, people at the next level are taking notice.

Sports Illustrated's NFL Draft analyst Tony Pauline publishes a weekly "Risers and Sliders" column, and Sutton made the list after his monstrous performance against the Golden Bears.

Sutton was another very productive defensive lineman who was a major factor in his team's victory. Against Pac-12 foe Cal, Sutton finished with 6.5 tackles, including four for loss and two sacks while also forcing a fumble. Five games into the season, Sutton lists second on the Sun Devils' defense with 34 tackles and has 10 tackles for loss. At barely 6-foot-1 and 270 pounds, he lacks classic size for the next level, yet his intensity and nose for the football will have defensive coordinators at the next level moving him around the field ala former Pro Bowl player Mike Vrabel.

Sutton is just a redshirt junior, so should he continue his dominance for the remainder of the season, he will have a big decision to make as to whether he will enter the NFL Draft early.

As Pauline notes, Sutton is undersized for a traditional defensive tackle spot, but could be ideally suited for an end spot for a team that runs a 3-4 defense. His strength, tenacity and quickness are all excellent tools that many defensive coordinators would love to have.