Su’a Cravens Makes Mel Kiper’s Big Board for 2016 NFL Draft


ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper released his first Big Board of prospects for the 2016 NFL draft, listing USC do-it-all defender Su’a Cravens as his No. 24 player available.

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Both Max Tuerk and Cody Kessler also earned a mention as players who were considered but just missed the cut off mark.

Cravens enters the 2015 season as a junior, but could declare for the draft early with three years of solid starting experience under his belt.

Kiper believes that a strong enough junior season could seal a high draft grade:

"The Kam Chancellor of college football, Cravens brings a 225-pound frame to the safety position that allows him to drop into coverage or look dominant near the line of scrimmage and into the backfield. Check out the 17 tackles for loss. He has played in 26 games in his first two seasons and could have a special junior season."

From the moment he stepped on campus, Cravens had the look of a future first rounder, starting 13 games as a freshman at safety.

An injury to Jabari Ruffin just before the start of the 2014 season saw Cravens fill in as a hybrid strongside linebacker and he proved his exceptional footballing ability by earning All-American recognition in that spot as well.

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There have always been questions about the junior from Vista Murrieta’s natural position, especially when it comes to the NFL.

Cravens bulked up for the linebacker role he will continue to play in 2015, but remains a safety prospect at the pro level because of his size.

Like Washington’s Shaq Thompson, Cravens may be a victim of his own versatility, earning in-betweener status as a hyrbid player. Still fears that Thompson would be relegated to a second or third round pick because no on can decide exactly where he will thrive proved unfounded as the Panthers took him in the first.

On Max Tuerk, Kiper praised the lineman for being a “versatile talent” and “dominant at center” in 2014.

Kiper’s final player considered, Cody Kessler was compared favorably to Marcus Mariota for his excellent production last season.