From well-known commodities such as Will Sutton to breakout stars such as Jaelen Strong, this year's class of draft-eligible players has potential to be Arizona State's deepest in the past 20 years.
Unfortunately, "bad weight" has been the most popular buzzword when discussing Sun Devil prospects. To solve that dilemma, we decided to call in reinforcements and SB Nation's NFL Draft Editor Dan Kadar was kind enough to assist in some analysis.
And have no fear, maroon and gold nation. Kadar still believes that Sutton will still be Arizona State's first top-32 selection since Terrell Suggs in 2003:
Q: What's your review of Will Sutton's 2013 campaign thus far? What's his stock like for the upcoming draft and what teams do you envision being a good fit for Sutton?
Dan Kadar: The general notion about Sutton is that the weight he added between last season and this season has been detrimental to his game. I don't think that's the case. His production is down, obviously. But I thought he was seeing extra blockers early this season because Jaxon Hood was injured. Sutton's stock should pretty much be the same now as it was to start the season, which is somewhere between picks 15 and 32 in the first round. The teams that will be a good fit are those that need a three-technique defensive tackle. The Dallas Cowboys are the first team that really comes to mind. Depending on what happens with Randy Stark in free agency, the Miami Dolphins make sense too. Though I suppose they're going to be on the market for a starting guard because Richie Incognito is a weirdo. The Chicago Bears are also a fit, particularly if Henry Melton isn't brought back.
Q: In your opinion, which Arizona State player's stock has risen the most this season?
Kadar: Jaelen Strong has really taken me by surprise. Because he came out of a junior college, we didn't know anything about him before the season. But that string of games against Wisconsin, Stanford, USC and Notre Dame was impressive. I need to go back and watch the Washington and Colorado games, but he looks like a No. 1 receiver in the NFL. His size, ability to win the ball at the catch point and general athleticism are impressive.
Q: Is there an Arizona State player who you think could end up being a steal at their current NFL Draft market value?
Kadar: Grice is the one to watch in that regard. Because of the ‘value' of the running back position in the draft, I doubt he goes very high. But he has good size, can catch the ball out of the backfield and is an obvious asset inside the five-yard line. In this year's draft, 12 true running backs were taken in the fifth and sixth rounds. Among them were Andre Ellington and Zac Stacy, who are now starting and playing well.
Q: What NFL player do you think Marion Grice's skill set resembles?
Kadar: Grice reminds me of Ben Tate (now of the Houston Texans) when he was coming out of Auburn.
Q: How about Jaelen Strong?
Kadar: In September, I compared Strong to Demaryius Thomas of the Denver Broncos, so I'll stick with that one.
Q: Looking a bit ahead, how does Taylor Kelly rank in the 2015 quarterback class?
Kadar: That depends on which of the top underclassmen come out. Kelly will probably end up being a late-round prospect. He's a decent player because he can run and has a solid arm. I don't think he'll blow NFL evaluators away in any area and tends to need a clean pocket to succeed. But we'll see what another year can do for him. The notion of needing to be a 6-foot-5, 240-pound quarterback is gone and that's good for Kelly.
Q: Can Chris Coyle be the next great ASU tight end to make the leap to the pros?
Kadar: Coyle is most likely a late Day Three pick or a priority free agent. He's not doing as much as a receiver this season, but his run blocking has improved. When you look at the depth of the tight end position in the NFL, it's not all that great. So a player like Coyle, who can block and get open up the seam, should have a spot in the pros. I'll be interested to see if he gets invited to something like the East-West Shrine Game or the Casino Del Sol Game. I don't think he'll be the next Todd Heap, but in the right situation, he could stick as a No. 2 or 3 tight end who contributes on special teams.