The Vikings decided to re-boot their defensive end spots causing the exodus of Jared Allen to Chicago. One of their choices was third round pick Scott Crichton from Oregon State. In a defensive end class that was short on play makers, Crichton is a solid contributor, who might make an impact this season for your dynasty fantasy squad. I watched four of his 2014 games against California, Stanford, Boise State, and Oregon to get a better feel of the skill level and talent he brings to Minnesota. In every IDP league, you need good pass rushers at the defensive end spot if you want to compete.
Although, Crichton is best built to be a defensive end in a 4-3 system, he struggles to anchor his spot on the line. The defensive end is a little small and not powerful enough to force the play back inside. He is a significantly better pass rusher than a run stopper, even though Crichton has his moments on designed run stunts. There were a few times that he lined up as a defensive tackle and Crichton did his job forcing double teams. He has good balance and is powerful enough to hold them at bay. Oregon State usually only lined him up in the three gap on long yardage situations, but Crichton is more effective attacking from the outside in space. This makes him a better IDP player to target in sack happy scoring leagues.
As an outside pass rusher from the five or seven gap, Crichton got a great first step penetrating the line of scrimmage. He is a very fluid player who breaks down quickly, using his good vision to find the ball. Crichton has a good motor that he uses to chase down the ball carrier. His college defensive coordinator would flip him around lining him up almost everywhere on the line to take advantage of any weaknesses in offensive line protection. Crichton uses a combination of a swim move, spins, and a bull rush to make it difficult for people to block him. It was his quick powerful hands that kept them at bay with striking punches and great balance, dancing with them.
Crichton has the habit of knocking the ball down by timing his jumps to disrupt the passing lane. He also likes to club the ball out of the quarterback’s hand when the signal caller gets ready to sling the pass. There were a few occasions that he would strip the ball, scoop it up, and take off running with it. Crichton is a load to take down. The young defensive end loves to cause havoc, smashing the quarterback.
I like Crichton for the long-term, but I would not want to be forced into starting him for more than a few games this season. He will most probably be rotating in and out of the Vikings defensive line too much to make a major impact this season. Hopefully you can secure him as a DE4 or DE5 on your contending dynasty teams.
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