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Trojans in the NFL: Su'a Cravens performs at USC Pro Day

Su'a Cravens ran the 40 and performed a series of drills at USC's Pro Day, but questions remain about what position he'll play in the NFL.

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Representatives from every NFL team were on hand for the USC Trojans Pro Day and the player generating the most buzz was Su'a Cravens. Cravens' future in the NFL remains a bit of a mystery. The general consensus is that he can be a great player in the league and is projected anywhere from round one through round three. The big mystery and part of the reason his draft projection fluctuates, is what position Cravens will play.

Cravens has been an impact player at both linebacker and defensive back during his time at USC. Some NFL scouts believe Cravens could play a hybrid role in the NFL, others think he is more of a defensive back. Not every team may have a plan in mind for how to best utilize Cravens and thus may opt to pass on drafting him early. This fact may hurt his draft stock the most.

Su'a opted not to run the 40 and worked out as a linebacker at the NFL combine but NFL scouts have started to trend towards looking at Cravens as defensive back. That is great news for Cravens' as he has said he enjoys playing defensive back. The bad news is that his 40 time at Pro Day was clocked at 4.65 which is slow for the safeties in this draft class (it is middle of the pack for linebackers). Fortunately Cravens poor 40 time probably will not limit him too much as his ability to play multiple positions is very appealing.

It seems for Cravens that the NFL teams with defensive needs and a solid plan for using a hybrid player probably have Cravens very high on their draft board. Teams without a clear plan to capitalize on Cravens' defensive utility, however, probably have Cravens much lower on their boards and may only be interested in drafting him if he unexpectedly drops to later rounds.

From "Cravens continues to carve hybrid role for pros" at NFL.com:

"Said NFL Media's Lance Zierlein: "I don't think (a 4.65) changes much for him. He's a hybrid, sub-package player. He can give you some linebacker reps, some box safety reps. He's a good athlete and a functional cover guy. He might hurt his draft stock in the sense that only certain teams will have a plan for him. But on the other hand, those teams that do have a plan for him give him the best shot at being the best player he can be."