2014 NFL Draft results: Tampa Bay Bucs sign Chaz Sutton as free agent

Streeter Lecka

Is Chaz Sutton a steal as an undrafted free agent?

The Tampa Bay Bucs have picked up Chaz Sutton as a free agent. The Bucs may have gotten a steal in Sutton, who has unrealized physical upside.

Sutton is coming off a somewhat disappointing year. After producing several big plays as a situational pass rusher in 2012, Sutton moved into a starting role opposite Jadeveon Clowney with the departure of Devin Taylor. Sutton was expected to be the guy who would benefit from the attention to Clowney. That guy ended up being Kelcy Quarles, though, with Sutton having a disappointing season in which his deficiencies defending the run were particularly exposed.

Sutton's problem? Whereas he excelled in beating interior linemen out of Carolina's "rabbit" package (a situational pass-rushing look in which the interior defensive linemen are replaced by speedier reserve ends) in 2012, the lack of refinement in his game was exposed as the starter in 2013. Sutton has the physical tools, but his hand work undermined his ability to set the edge against the run, and his limited array of pass rush moves hurt him against elite tackles.

The good news for the Bucs is that Sutton isn't a bad investment at all as a free agent. He's not someone who's going to be able to help right away, but as said, the physical tools are there. With the right coaching, he has the potential to be a productive cog in an end rotation.

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