LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears doubled down on defensive tackles Friday, using their third-round pick, No. 82 overall, to select Arizona State's Will Sutton, just a round after acquiring LSU's Ego Ferguson at No. 51.
While critics lambasted the Ferguson pick in the second round because of his relatively limited body of work at LSU, Sutton comes to Chicago with a long resume of solid production.
A three-year starter, Sutton racked up 45.5 tackles for lost yardage at Arizona State to go with 20.5 sacks, including 13 in 2012 as a junior. Sutton switched positions as a senior from strongside defensive tackle to what was called the "Tiger" position in Arizona State's scheme brought in by a new coaching staff. In prepping for the new role, in which he would be asked to handle multiple blockers on a down-by-down basis, Sutton bulked up from 285 pounds to 320.
The weight gain led to a dip in production from Sutton but was also viewed by some as him sacrificing personal success for the good of the team. Sutton felt he received bad information from outside sources and bulked up believing he'd need to gain weight to play in the NFL.
Sutton said he now weighs 290 pounds.
"I think this is where they want me, at 290," Sutton said. "I can always get down another five or 10 pounds if they want me to. I felt [the weight gain] hurt me a little. But I was just getting information back saying, 'He's too small for the NFL.' And I was just listening. I've been working to get the weight off. I'm back down to what I was my junior season. I'm just ready to show what type of player I really am."
Sutton started in 40 of 51 games at Arizona State playing three positions, and he totaled 161 tackles, four forced fumbles, an interception and eight pass deflections. He's only the second player in Pac-12 history to win conference defensive player of the year honors twice in a career.
At the conclusion of the 2013 season, one in which the Bears -- partially because of injuries along the front seven -- allowed a franchise record 2,583 yards rushing, including an NFL-worst 5.35 yards per attempt -- general manager Phil Emery admitted the Bears were "at least" one defensive lineman short and took responsibility for not stocking the roster with capable talent.
Emery atoned for the shortage Friday by doubling up at the position in Rounds 2 and 3.
"Both present different styles as players, both fit for the Bears for different reasons," Emery said. "Both of them were targeted players. As we have painted this plan over the last couple of weeks, they were the two players we had slotted for those two spots. I was extremely happy to get them. It's a short supply, high demand position. You have to take them when they're available, and you take the ones you feel good about. We wanted those players."