Su’a Cravens left an impression at the 2016 NFL Combine in the interview room, but received mixed reviews on his physical testing and on-the-field drills.
USC hybrid linebacker Su’a Cravens finished his NFL Combine showing Sunday, impressing teams in interviews and scouts in field drills. However, there were some questions about his athleticism in Indianapolis.
Measurements: 6’1″ | 226 lbs | 32 1/8 arms | 9 1/2 handsBench: 16 repsVertical jump: 27″Broad: 114″
Observers raved about Cravens’ on-the-field performance, noting his fluid movement and athleticism. However, those observations don’t quite jive with the numbers he logged in other testing.
Cravens put up 16 reps in the bench press, which was on the low end of linebackers at the Combine. He was tied with four others for third worst. His 27-inch vertical was the worst among linebackers, which is greater concern considering his background as a safety and aspirations as a hybrid player capable of guarding receivers.
The explosion shown in his long jump was middle of the pack for linebackers as well. In short, Craven’s passed the eye test for athleticism, but on paper fell short.
Part of that could be due to the fact that he wasn’t a participant in certain drills. He skipped the 40-yard dash, opting to run at his Pro Day in hopes of increasing his time over the next month.
Testing as a linebacker might also be the root cause of his skewed numbers, as his hybrid status puts him somewhere in between a linebacker and a safety.
Cravens spoke to the media about his decision to wait to run his 40-yard dash and the weirdest question he had asked of him during interviews (via LA Times)
"“I ran a fast time before I came here,” he said, “and I guess it surprised my agent and my trainer and they said, ‘Well, we think you can go faster than that.’ So they wanted me to wait till Pro Day.” “They see the versatility,” he said, “and I guess it all just depends what the team wants. I’m going to play wherever they put me.” “I’ve been asked if I’m a prima donna,” he said. “I get that coming from USC. People think a lot of USC guys are entitled. But things have changed since the glory days. “So I think I’m a hard-working guy, to answer that, with a little swallow of my pride right there.”"
The USC stand out also told the NFL Network that he would play strong safety if he could pick his own position.
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Cravens’ Combine performance was always going to be a bit hard to evaluate because of his hybrid ability. With some teams looking at him as a linebacker and some teams looking at him as a safety, his stock is even harder to gauge.
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No doubt his performance in the bench press and vertical is a disappointment, but some context will be added Monday when defensive backs undergo their testing.
By going through drills as a linebacker now, saving defensive back drills for USC’s Pro Day, he’ll be able to give teams more of a taste the full spectrum of his abilities.
Perhaps most importantly, he received glowing reviews from his formal interviews with teams. Reports that he wow’d teams with his football IQ could be the most important thing for him to take from his Combine performance.