DT Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska) - Round 1, Pick No. 2
Back towards the end of the 2009 season, the hope was for the Lions to end up with a pick that allowed them to draft Ndamukong Suh, the best defensive player in college football and a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Originally the thought was that the Lions would need the No. 1 overall pick to be in a position to draft Suh, because although the Rams were in need of a quarterback, it was hard to believe any team could pass on Suh. As it turned out, the Rams fell in love with Sam Bradford much like the Lions did with Matthew Stafford a year ago, allowing the House of Spears to be drafted by Detroit.
What he brings: Suh lacks elite initial quickness but is still above-average. He has outstanding upper-body strength, and while he may not get to the QB regularly at the NFL level, he should be a disruptive pass-rusher who can consistently hurry signal-callers. He also has the potential to develop into an upper-echelon run-stopper who can hold his own when teams run at him and make an occasional play in the backfield.
How he fits: This was a great pick for a defense that ranked 32nd overall last year and 25th against the run. While the Lions recently added Corey Williams, they still needed someone to help at the point of attack and to bring stoutness and physical play. Suh is regarded as one of the strongest players on the line of scrimmage this year, and he will undoubtedly tie up blockers, collapse run lanes and change the makeup of the defensive front.
Positives: Large, strong dominant defensive lineman who impacts the game in a variety of ways. Plays with a great amount of explosion, quickness as well as suddenness. Flashes on the scene, shows a good head for the ball and the ability to pursue the action. Plays with good lean, works his hands throughout the action and consistently doubled or tripled on the inside by opponents. Immediately alters his angle of attack and a solid pass rusher. Fluid chasing the action to the flanks, chases hard to get involved, and also displays the ability to make plays in open space. Has a nasty attitude and aggressively hunts ball handlers. Relatively instinctive, quick locating the ball, and slides off blocks laterally to make plays against the run. Solid change of direction, resilient, and works his hands to protect himself.
Negatives: Does not show the brute force or ability to drive opponents off the line. Possesses more of a short burst of speed that he struggles to sustain.
Suh is an excellent combination of size, strength and athleticism. He isn’t a massive body but has enough power to play as a nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme or as a 4-3 defense tackle or end. He utilizes excellent hand strength and quickness to control defenders. Suh is often unblockable for one offensive lineman and draws many double teams from opposing offenses. He shows great range to make plays outside the tackle box and is quick to shed blockers to get to the ball. Suh is a disruptive lineman that can create havoc with penetration versus the running game. Suh has developed an expanded pass rush package with counters coming off his initial power move. His production, power, athleticism, technique and versatility make him arguably the best interior defender in this years draft. Suh is a dominating player that projects as an impact defender in his rookie season.
Final word: Suh is perhaps the best defensive tackle prospect in the last 20 years. Considered a first-round talent entering his senior season, Suh has emerged as clearly the best prospect available in the draft.
As a senior, he won the Nagurski Trophy, Lombardi Award, Outland Trophy and the Chuck Bednarik Award. He was also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and was named the Associated Press College Football Player of the Year.
Suh dominated games as a senior. In the Big 12 title game, Suh had 4.5 sacks and seven tackles for a loss. Against Missouri, he intercepted a pass and had a sack. All season long, Suh got pressure on quarterbacks, knocked down passes and blocked kicks. No player had arguably as big on an impact on games as Suh this season.
It's hard to compare Suh to a current defensive tackle because he's so good. This might be somewhat of an overstatement, but Suh just might be the next Joe Greene.
This is all I think you need to know:
98 Tkl, 23.5 TFL, 9.5 Sk, 20 QBH, 5 PBU, 0 Int, 1 FF, 3 Blk
112 Tkl, 33 TFL, 14 Sk, 48 QBH, 5 PBU, 0 Int, 1 FF, 0 Blk
116 Tkl, 25.5 TFL, 15.5 Sk, 10 QBH, 7 PBU, 0 Int, 2 FF, 0 Blk
82 Tkl, 23 TFL, 12 Sk, 24 QBH, 10 PBU, 1 Int, 1 FF, 3 Blk
ESPN College GameDay feature:
2009 highlights (part 1):
- 2009 highlights (part 2)
- Big 12 championship game (against Texas) highlights
- Training for the 2010 combine
- Interception return for a touchdown against Colorado
- Touchdown catch
- Destroying Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert
- Sport Science (Part 1)
- Sport Science (Part 2)
- The House of Spears (biography)
Outlook for 2010
Ndamukong Suh should be one of the Lions' starting defensive tackles from day one with the team. The hope is that adding Suh (as well as Corey Williams and Kyle Vanden Bosch) will lead to an improved defense line, which will in turn lead to an improved defense as a whole. The defensive line certainly looks like the defense's strongest unit and one that could be ranked at the top of the entire NFL if Suh lives up to his potential.