Defensive End/Outside Linebacker
Oregon State University Beavers
Henry Foss High School
Part of the record-breaking 102 underclassmen to declare for the draft, Crichton and wide receiver Brandin Cooks are just the fourth and fifth players in school history to leave school early to declare for the draft. While Crichton could justify that move because he is regarded as one of the best defensive ends in college ever since suiting up for the Beavers three years ago, he also had a very good, and personal reasons why he wants to join the professional ranks next season — for his family.
While part of the 335-plus players in attendance at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, Crichton sat down at the table in the media room to tell his story that had more than a handful of reporters impressed with his genuine drive to succeed … for all the right reasons. The underrated Pac-12 Conference player laid out exactly why it was time for him to head to the next level. Simply put, his family desperately needs him to.
"I love my family. I've taken this responsibility to take care of them. My mom works two jobs, and my dad is disabled and still works a job, too. They are getting old and I want them to retire and just stop working. I just did this for my family. I was going to come back to college but just to see my family struggle — we didn't have much growing up and to see my family struggle, I wasn't OK with that. So I had to do something, and this is one of the greatest opportunities for me to take care of my family."
Crichton's parents are both from Western Samoa. His father, Lucky (his given name) lost a leg a while back due to health reasons, and it was impossible for Crichton to recall his dad's struggle since without profound emotion. "He works at a warehouse right now, which is barely getting by like $10 an hour, and he [had taken] care of my grandpa. My grandpa is 90-something and he just passed. It was just unfortunate, and this was all happening at once."
So, Crichton didn't bother getting a grade from the advisory board, like most of the other 102 underclassmen that declared had done. He decided to take his 22.5 sacks and 51.0 tackles for loss over three seasons to the NFL, and see what it would get him. With three siblings as well, Crichton was clearly feeling the pressure. As he told reporters with a laugh, "I'm the baby, but I wasn't the spoiled one."
Fortunately, based on his tape, Crichton's making the right call. Scouts feel that the Beavers standout has an intriguing combination of upper-body strength, pure hustle off the snap and hand moves that will put him on a lot of draft boards. Because he's got the kind of hybrid size that would work with 4-3 and 3-4 systems, Crichton has opened himself to more NFL possibilities.
Using Seattle's Michael Bennett as an optimal example, Crichton is the type of athlete that can stunt inside to disrupt interior gaps just as well as he can burn outside edges and get around tackles. It's a matter of technique. "What is the key to getting penetration inside a tackle? Like a 4-tech or a 3-tech? You've just got to get off the ball and attack, attack the opposing player and you've got to just play on their side of the ball. Coaches always told me, whatever you do, no matter if you are wrong, you've got to play on their side of the ball. That's what I really took pride in this year, and it's worked out for me."
And as a pure edge rusher, Crichton takes pride in his non-stop acceleration. "I think it's just my get-off. It starts with my get-off. Just being explosive and coming off right off the line and then you've got to have technique. I've worked on my craft these last couple years and I feel like I have improved and progressed as a defensive end — using my hands, using my power, my speed. I think all those attributes help me a lot."
Still, Crichton has the simple dream to put his family in a much better place. "Oh, it would just mean so much to me because my parents have taken care of me since Day One," the rush end said when asked what it will mean when he can provide that relief. "And to do this for them it's just … I don't know, I can't put it into words." As with his on-field performance, the tape shows that he did just fine in that department.
Born in Tacoma, Washington, Crichton attended Henry Foss High School. He was a three-year letterman at defensive end and linebacker, and was the Narrows League Defensive MVP with 78 solo tackles. He was also named to the Washington Class 4A All-State first-team and was the Tacoma Weekly Player of the Year.
Crichton committed to Oregon State on January 16th, 2010, but would spend that campaign serving on the scout team as a redshirt, where he was named that squad's co-MVP at the end of the schedule. In 2011, he had a phenomenal season, finishing with 74 tackles (48 solos) that included him leading the Beavers with six sacks and 14.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, earning freshman All-American honors.
The 2011 campaign would also begin a string of three consecutive season where Crichton was nationally ranked in sacks and tackles-for-loss, culminating by ranking second in the league with 14.5 stops-for-loss in 2011, a 21st-place finish with 17.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage as a sophomore and following that up with ranking 11th in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision ranks with 19 more tackles-for-loss as a junior.
The 2012 campaign was hard-fought for Crichton, who received All-American honorable mention despite playing with a shoulder injury that required surgery to repair after the season. But what a sophomore season it was, as he again led the Beavers with nine sacks and 17.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
As a junior, Crichton was named All-American second-team while also picking up All-Pac 12 Conference accolades. The left defensive end again led the team for the third-straight season, posting 7.5 sacks among his 19 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also caused three fumbles and delivered 47 stops in 13 contests. Two weeks the Beavers' returned home from their victory over Boise State in the 2013 Hawaii Bowl, Crichton announced that he was leaving school to play in the National Football League next season.
Crichton started all but the 2012 Nicholls State contest during his 38-game career at Oregon State, lining up at right defensive end for his first 12 appearances before he shifted to the left side…Recorded 165 tackles (100 solos) with 22.5 sacks for minus-130 yards and 51.0 stops for losses of 224 yards…Recovered four fumbles, advancing one 36 yards, as he also caused 10 fumbles and deflected nine passes…