Calhoun had a bit of a slow start to his collegiate career. After redshirting in 2011, he barely played in 2012. Calhoun was a backup who picked up 2.5 tackles for a loss on the season. Last year was a different story though; the Spartans had one of the best defenses in college football, and Calhoun was one of the primary reasons why.
Calhoun broke out in 2013 and was named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. He recorded 37 tackles with 14 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception for the season. Calhoun had a huge game against rival Michigan with two sacks, three tackles for a loss and six tackles. He also had big performances against Ohio State, Nebraska and others. Calhoun closed out the season with some good battles going against Stanford skilled left tackle Andrus Peat. Both Peat and Calhoun won some snaps.
2014 Season Outlook:
Calhoun's first big test comes in Week 2 when Michigan State takes on Oregon. The Spartans will need Calhoun to be tough against the Ducks' great ground attack and put a lot of pressure on quarterback Marcus Mariota before the elite quarterback can hurt Michigan State through the air. Calhoun will also have to hold up against Oregon's high-tempo offense and a talented offensive line that can make it tough to rush the passer. That will be a great tape for NFL evaluators to test Calhoun on the ground and through the air, along with his conditioning.
After Oregon, the Big Ten schedule offers some quality competition for Calhoun, but he really doesn't have any elite offensive tackle prospects to deal with. With his breakout performance in 2013, Calhoun is sure to see a lot of double-teams this season. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain or increase his production despite the extra attention.
Calhoun's game looks like it could be an excellent fit for the current style of play in the NFL. He is a speed edge rusher who combines athleticism and developing strength to have the potential to be a three down defensive end.
Calhoun has nice first step quickness off the snap. That sets him up to get pressure with speed rushes around the corner. He also has a burst to close and get to the ball-carrier when he's in space. Like 90 percent of college edge rushers, Calhoun could stand to add and develop more pass-rushing moves. With his speed, a spin move could be very dangerous. Packing on more muscle should improve his bull rush, plus he could add a club or rip move.
In the ground game, Calhoun needs to add strength for the NFL, but he isn't bad by any means. Calhoun is pretty strong for his size and last year showed the ability to stuff runs at the point of attack. Adding more power will help him in the NFL.
For the next level, Calhoun looks like he could remain a base 4-3 defensive end after some time in an NFL strength and conditioning program. He also has enough athleticism to adapt and stand up as an edge rusher in a 3-4 defense.
2015 NFL Draft Expectations:
Entering the 2014 season, Calhoun is one of the top draft-eligible defensive end prospects. He could be a first-rounder and a potential high first-rounder with a big year.
2015 NFL Mock Draft: Charlie's | Walt's
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