NFL Draft

2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Tennessee CB Cameron Sutton

From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to examine as many prospects as possible and showcase both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

#23 Cameron Sutton/CB Tennessee: 5’11 182

The Good

– Fluid athlete, quick feet and turn, with good-enough speed
– Shows burst acceleration in turn and in the return game
– Physical, plays bigger than his size, and does well to jam receiver in press man
– Shows strong ability to recover when he’s beat, works hard to get back to inside hip of the receiver, and technique to read the receivers eyes/hands, play the pocket, and break the ball up (good ball skills)
– Impressive punt returner, quick decision maker and gets upfield with great burst, threat in the open field
– Does well to get square to and under each punt, fields the ball cleanly, no bobbles/double-catches
– Versatile, can wear multiple hats
– Shows high football IQ and ability to handle new information on te fly
– Tons of starting experience at a high level of competition

The Bad

– Average size, needs to add weight and arm length is poor (29 ¼ arm, 72 ½ wing), likely not a fit for press man defenses
– Needs to treat run game like the pass, play more aggressively, and fight harder off
– Seemingly not around the football much in his career, limited amount of tackles
– Will gamble and can get beat by double-moves


– 45 career starts, became starter immediately as a true freshman
– Career: 127 tackles, 30 pass breakups, 7 INTs
– 2016: 23 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 INT (seven games)
– 45 career PRs, 14.6 average, 3 career TDs (2 in 2015)
– Fractured right ankle during senior season, missed seven games, but returned to finish out the year

Tape Breakdown

Sutton was a guy I watched prior to the Senior Bowl but I liked him more leaving Mobile than I did coming down there. If for nothing else, his versatility, which we’ll talk about in a moment.

He’s not a big guy but he plays big and physical in press at the line of scrimmage. Sort of a tough sell because he’s not a big guy, and his length is really poor, but it’s the same as Ross Cockrell, who has rolled up before in coverage. For other teams, who really covert length, it may change the evaluation.

His best trait, by far, are his ball skills. Solid in coverage and plays catch points really well. Has good ball skills, that is, the ability to track and make a play on the football, separate from just interceptions (hands).

Great job to get over top this rub route against Alabama and close on the slant against Calvin Ridley, Bama’s top weapon, jam his hand into the receiver’s chest, and disrupt it enough to knock the ball out.

Even when he’s beat, he shows the technique and recovery to still make a play. Stop ‘n go where the receiver beats him clean. But Sutton stays in-phase, gets to the hip of the receivers, reads the body language to know when the ball will be there, and plays the pocket at the end with a hard swipe down and through, breaking the pass up.

Sure, the pass was a bit underthrown but making a play is making a play. And Sutton made a play.

As aggressive and talented Sutton is against the pass, I wish I saw the same against the run. Doesn’t seem to embrace it as much; not that he’s terrible, but he’s much more passive.

I know this is against Derrick Henry, and he made many a college defensive back look silly, but Sutton gets run over and through here. He is wearing #7 from his junior season.

Or here, a better representation of what I’m talking about. For an aggressive guy in coverage, I’d love for him to stick his face into the fan at the end of this wide receiver screen. No need to back off. That’s some Cockrell-esque stuff.

To the versatility. Sutton has a strong punt returners background, as highlighted in our bio, but in Pittsburgh, that may not mean much. At the Senior Bowl, he played a lot of safety, something he hadn’t done at Tennessee. But he did well and looked natural at the position, taking good angles to the football in his zone turn and showing an all-around high football IQ. Coaches gave him a lot of praise.

Sutton is probably a better fit to stay at cornerback than moving to safety because his run defense is questionable. Don’t have complete confidence in his run fit ability, consistency in coming up to support the run. But that’s a possibility down the road after coaches work with him and round his game out.

The only issue here is an unlikeliness he’ll contribute right away. The outside spots are locked up, making it tough for Sutton to see playtime. But he’s someone the Steelers have met with, like, and he has long-term value. Sutton will probably be linked to the team in mocks by myself and others throughout the process.

Projection: Early Day Two

Games Watched: vs Alabama (2015), vs Vanderbilt (2015), vs Virginia Tech, Senior Bowl

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun Watson Haason Reddick Marshon Lattimore Corey Clement Tim Williams
Jourdan Lewis Takkarist McKinley Brad Kaaya Nathan Peterman O.J. Howard
Charles Harris Alvin Kamara Tyus Bowser David Njoku DeMarcus Walker
Chidobe Awuzie DeShone Kizer Marlon Mack
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