Fresh off of his visit with San Diego yesterday, I figured now would be a good time to take a look at Oregon State's edge rusher Scott Crichton. Crichton was an incredibly productive, disruptive player the past 2 years, as his 16.5 sacks and 36.5(!) tackles for loss would indicate. Unlike Anthony Barr's game, Crichton's isn't built around speed and won't wow you with athleticism. Comparing his combine numbers to the other defensive ends, other than his 20 yard short shuttle, nothing really jumps out at you. In fact, his explosive jumps are below average.
|Arm Length||32 3/4"||33 2/3"|
|10 Yard Dash||1.62||1.63|
|40 Yard Dash||4.84||4.84|
|20 Yard Short Shuttle||4.29||4.42|
Thankfully, they do play games. Which is what's really important. Crichton has some transferrable traits where I can see him being successful at the next level.
Pass Rushing Ability
I mentioned Crichton's game isn't predicated on speed rushes to the outside. Where he does excel at is converting speed to power. After Clowney, you could make a strong argument that Crichton is the best at doing this.
He's not getting credit for sacks on these, but in my book, it's just as good. Disruption is key.
Leverage is the key to Crichton's ability to win. He plays would good pad level, and this is why he's able to convert the speed to power. He also has a quick 1st step. There were times when he was in across the line of scrimmage and everyone else was still in there stance. The below GIF shows Crichton has the burst to win inside.
What you like to see in a pass rusher is variety. Crichton has that. He has very active hands to keep himself clean from offensive lineman, and get home to the quarterback.
Crichton only used this arm over move a few times, but when he did, he had great success.
You see flashes of Crichton not being so involved with the man in front of him, and just wanting to get to his intended target, the quarterback. The special pass rushers do this consistently.
Oregon was very multiple up front. The initial reaction when San Diego brought him in was "why would you workout a 4-3 DE?" Crichton played all up and down the line of scrimmage at Oregon State. He literally lined up in every gap imaginable, even at nose tackle. On passing downs, he occasionally kicked inside as a defensive tackle and showed he could be just as disruptive.
When Oregon State did go to their 3-4 look(which they 2-gaped), Crichton kicked in as the 5-technique. He did a good job at holding the point of attack, by winning with leverage. He has just enough strength to be effective here.
As A Run Defender
Crichton's ability to make first contact as a run defender is very good, and really helps him make plays, by either jolting the lineman back to cause disruption, or disengaging and finishing the play himself.
The below GIF Crichton beats the center off the snap and blows up the play in the backfield.
The first step carries over into the run game as well, where Crichton can shoot gaps, beat lineman to the spot, and make plays.
Why Isn't He a 1st Round Pick Then?
While Crichton does many things well, you'll notice at times he has a tendency to flow inside, and lose outside contain as a run player. While I do believe Crichton does a good job of using his hands, and fighting to keep himself clean, he doesn't have "powerful" hands. He wins as a result of leverage and converting speed to power. He's not going to get washed out, but he's also not going to win because of his hands.
The biggest gripe with Crichton his his lack of flexibility. You really don't see him "win the edge." Combine that with his average athleticism and many tend to sour on players that don't win that way. Crichton has good closing burst, but there is some stiffness to him when he goes to change directions to turn and run, or bend the edge.
|Multiple Pro Bowl Player, Top 10||8.5 – 9.0|
|Highly Productive Starter, 1st Round||8.0 – 8.4|
|Very Good Starter, Early 2nd Round||7.8 – 7.9|
|Reliable Starter, 2nd Round||7.5 – 7.7|
|Potential Starter in Year 2, 3rd Round||7.0 – 7.4|
|Backup/Spot Starter, 4th Round||6.5 – 6.9|
|Productive Backup, 5th Round||6.0 – 6.4|
|Very Good Backup/STs, 6th Round||5.5 – 5.9|
|Quality Backup/Good STs, 7th Round||5.0 – 5.4|
|Backup/STs/Project Player, 7th Round||4.5 – 4.9|
|Priority Free Agent w/ Limitations||4.0 – 4.4|
|Vs. The Run||4||3.7|
|Pass Rush Ability||4||3.8|
|Read & React||3||2.7|
|Pass Rush Moves||2||1.5|
|Stack & Shed/Strength at POA||2||1.8|
Crichton grades out to a 7.7 for me. He grades just a hair higher than another guy I like, Marcus Smith. Crichton is a football player. Many worry about his fit at the next level. You put him on the field, and let him make plays. I'm not sure why his "fit" is an issue when he's proven he can be productive at multiple spots.
How He Fits as a Charger
Crichton has that motor that Telesco covets. He is a high energy player that would bring a much needed pass rush. I've seen questions about would he fit a 3-4 or not, but on passing downs, at least one defender had their hand in the ground. He would bring versatility, and could spell defensive ends for a series or so if need be. Crichton is the type of football player you want on your team.