Su’a Cravens Undecided on NFL Draft Decision


After USC lost to Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Saturday night, one of the biggest storylines for the Trojans turned to the NFL future of hybrid linebacker Su’a Cravens.

A junior, Cravens has the option to skip his senior season and enter the 2016 NFL Draft. However, with the deadline to declare still being a month away, he’s still undecided.

The hold up? His draft evaluation, which he told reporters on Saturday night that he has still yet to request from the NFL.

“I’m not leaving if I’m not first round,” Cravens said. “I didn’t come here to start as a freshman, get freshman All-American and all of these accolades to be a second day guy. I want to be a first day guy.”

USC hasn’t had a linebacker drafted in the first round since 2012, when the Green Bay Packers selected Nick Perry as the 28th overall pick.

Much like Perry though, positioning will play a big role in how Cravens’s draft stock could be assessed.

Perry played defensive end at USC, though he was drafted to be an outside linebacker. Cravens finds himself in the middle of two positions on the back end.

“I’m a safety playing linebacker, for the millionth time,” Cravens said. “Everyone thinks I’m an inside linebacker. I came to play safety and that’s what I plan on playing.”

Sep 12, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans linebacker Su’a Cravens (21) during the game against the Idaho Vandals at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s positional uncertainty or any kind of doubt that the first round could be in play, it could result in a return to Troy for Cravens.

“If I feel like I need to spend another year to solidify that, then that’s what I’ll do,” Cravens said.

What it comes down to is living out of a lifelong dream and Cravens’s own self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts.

He told reporters that he set the standard back in middle school, when he wrote about his football goals in a journal entry to his dad. That list included going to USC, being a first-team All-American and an eventual first round pick.

Several years later, Cravens is on the cusp of completing his triple crown. He just wants to make sure he checks off the boxes just so, making the pending evaluation all the more important at determining his future at USC.

“It’s been my dream since I was a kid,” Cravens said. “It’s just another one of those things to look at and it’s the reason why I haven’t made up my mind.”

Through 13 games, Cravens has been the Trojans’ defensive MVP, as he leads or is tied for the team lead in tackles, tackles for loss, sacks and forced fumbles. Just last week, he was named a first-team All-Pac-12 selection for the second consecutive year.