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Redskins Go Defense In Second Round, Pick Su'a Cravens


The Redskins added a versatile defensive player Friday evening, selecting linebacker Su'a Cravens with the No. 53-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

On Thursday night, the Washington Redskins strengthened the offensive side of the football by selecting wide receiver Josh Doctson.

Friday night, they used their second round pick to boost the linebacking corp, adding Su'a Cravens out of the University of Southern California with the 53rd-overall pick.

Cravens finished his career for the Trojans with back-to-back seasons as a third team AP All-American and first team All-Pac-12 selection.

In his final season, the 6-1, 226-pound defender led the team with 86 tackles, including 15 for loss and 5.5 sacks.

Throughout his college career, the 2012 USA Today National High School Defensive Player of the Year underwent a transition. Originally stepping on campus a strong safety in 2013, the Vista Murrieta High product moved to a safety/linebacker hybrid role as a sophomore.

When asked at the 2016 NFL Combine, he told reporters that it doesn't really matter where he sees himself on the depth chart, but rather where he'll fit in best to help the team.

"I feel whether its safety or linebacker, I can play the position," he said. "I learned it pretty well, the linebacker position, and I feel like I can still go back and get in the back-pedal at safety. It all depends on what the team wants."

At the Trojan's pro day, Cravens ran the 40-yard dash in 4.69 seconds, jumped a 30.5-inch vertical, ran the short shuttle in 4.41 seconds and finished the 3-cone drill in 6.92 seconds.

The bottom line on Cravens, according to, is that he was "highly disruptive and productive in each of his three seasons as a starter thanks to his tools/traits to act on his instincts. Cravens will help on special teams immediately and could become an early stater for a 4-3 defense looking for a playmaking weak-side linebacker."

It's his versatility and knack for the football, head coach Jay Gruden said Friday night, that made him such an appealing prospect.

"There's not alot of things that he can't do," Gruden said. "He's a playmaker. He's got position flex. He's a ball hawk. He's a turnover machine and he's a great player."

With the 53rd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected linebacker Su'a Cravens out of USC. Take a look at his collegiate career in photos.

Gruden continued to say that special teams is a place where Cravens can come in and begin to contribute. And while he's defensive position may not be clear at this point, the coaching staff is confident that he'll be able to contribute somewhere on the field, whether it be inside the box at linebacker or at safety.

"Once we get him in the building, we will figure out a way to get him on the field," Gruden said.

To simply say that Cravens can be a versatile player is an understatement. He's played in the back of the defense and has shown the ability to move up front. Along with leading the defense in tackles in college, he has a total of nine interceptions, including four as a starting strong safety his freshman year.

When on the phone with the Redskins on draft night, Cravens revealed afterwards that the coaches discussed him playing the dime linebacker position. Since he admittedly is more comfortable playing in open space, the former Trojan is excited about his possible new position.

"I like that you can be a playmaker," he said. "You can be in open space. You can come fit down and get ready to protect agains the run, and then also be in space and cover and show your athleticism. So it gives me the chance to use my instincts and just be in the right position to make plays."

As he begins his transition to the NFL by way of the Redskins, he knows where his strengths lie.

"I just think I bring versatility to the next level. I know the role of being a big safety is beginning to change," he said at the Combine. "But now that guy that can run with slots and guard tight ends in man and then come into the box and be that extra linebacker without having to sub, it's pretty big nowadays."

"With the league becoming a passing league you're going to need guys like that so I think now I'm at an advantage more than a disadvantage," Cravens added.




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