Rookies that enter the NFL with versatility are like college graduates entering the job field with a double major. The more you can do, the more valuable you’ll be to your future employer. While talk of this year’s draft is dominated by pure edge rushers, there are a number of defensive lineman that offer rush skills in addition to other assets. Scott Crichton of Oregon State will be listed as a defensive end, but he can play all over the line of scrimmage and he’s trained in the art of the tackle for loss.
As a pure pass rusher, Crichton’s no slouch. He’s third in Oregon State history with 22.5 sacks. He’s a high-energy player that lacks blazing speed, but has plenty of quickness to win after the snap. At Oregon State, Crichton was the key defender and he frequently drew double teams for his assignments, but still managed to end his redshirt junior season with 19 tackles for loss. He has 51 of those in his career, third in school history.
Crichton’s versatility is what intrigues NFL teams. At OSU, he frequently played as a defensive tackle as well. His ability to draw the double team and fight through it helped free up defensive teammates all over the field. Some scouts envision a role for Crichton not unlike Seattle’s Michael Bennett, a smart end than can play inside and collapse the pocket. He stands 6-foot-3 and 273 pounds so he won’t out-size anyone and he doesn’t have the body weight to produce the kind of force needed to dominate consistently in the interior, but he can slip through blocks and uses his body well to navigate the mass of bodies at the line of scrimmage.
Crichton may have improved his draft stock with a return to college for his senior season, but he opted to turn pro to help his family. His mother works two jobs and his father continues to work despite an amputated leg. He’s far from a finished product and he doesn’t always produce “wow” plays, but he’s consistently where he’s expected to be and can make the routine plays as well as generate some game-changing ones.
ESPN’s Todd McShay thinks the Falcons would make a good fit for Crichton. He comes in as a player that has done nothing but work to get where he is. Since high school, he’s added 30 pounds to his frame and he still brings some upside.
The general consensus on Crichton is that he’ll be available in the second round, but not past the third. He’s far from a project due to his proven production and development in college and while he’s not discussed with some of the premier names in this year’s draft, he’s the type of player that could outlast many of them and have a long NFL career.