Friday, 9 October 2009


I've just finished watching the tape of last night's Nebraska at Missouri game. Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska) was quite frankly outstanding. Click here to read my full write up and don't forget to check out resident scout Kyle Rota's thoughts on Suh.

Click here to read the full article.

Let me start by expressing my general disappointment at the majority of the 'big names' we'll be seeing in either the 2010 or 2011 drafts. I had big expectations for the likes of Eric Berry, Taylor Mays, Trent Williams and Russell Okung and to say they've not lived up to the hype is something of an under statement.

From what I'd seen of Ndamukong Suh last year, I was quite frankly blown away by his quality. Heading into the 2009 season, he was NFL Draft Scout's top rated senior and my expectations were suitably high when I sat down to watch the 305lbs Oregon-born tackle this morning.

For once, a prospect lived up to the hype. The guy is far and away better than any other senior prospect I've seen to date. Any underclassmen that declare for 2010 will have a job bettering Suh. Of course, that doesn't mean he's going to go first overall. This is a quarterback driven league and as such, there's always a chance to top signal callers we go at the very top of the draft.
However, I'm confident enough to say at this stage he should be a lock for the top ten and will have a big shout at going first overall. So what was so good?

It was a defensive battle for the most part, with the Huskers offense creating very little and forcing their defense onto the field for a heavy workload on the night. Suh was always involved. His first big play came with 8:17 left in the first quarter with Mizzou on 2nd and 20 from the 37 yard line. The QB takes the snap in the shotgun and Suh immediately forces his blocker back 3-4 yards. He shakes him off and stalks a scrambling QB before wrapping up and throwing him to the turf. He lays a giant paw around the ball and punches it loose, forcing the turnover.

One sack... one forced fumble.

As the game progresses, Suh is relentless on every play. He has a great motor and attitude, combining raw athleticism and supreme upper body power with instinct and an ability to read the play as it develops. He hits hard, regularly collapses the pocket and is happy to take on two blockers and still find a way to break through.

Later in the game Suh was asked to occasionally drop into coverage. Part of the credit has to go to the Nebraska coaching staff, who have created a superb defense (possibly the best in the country), but the decision was a master stroke and essentially won them the game. Expecting the continued relentless pass rush, Suh just dropped off, catching the offensive line off guard. The Mizzou QB didn't expect nor recognise this, so when he threw a pass down the center of the field with 13:51 left in the game, Suh was perfectly placed to make a leaping interception.

Be honest here, how many defensive tackles do you see making plays like that? The guy had two interceptions for touchdowns last year. This was his first pick of the season and he missed a similar opportunity to make an interception late in the third. Gifting Nebraska superb field position, they punched in a touchdown to give them the lead for the first time - a lead from which they eventually won.

Suh finished the game with six tackles, one sack, one interception and one forced fumble. It would have been two sacks but for a poor call against Suh for a horse collar in the fourth quarter.
So what would Ndamukong Suh offer to the Seahawks?

Since Jim Mora took control of the team's defense, almost entire responsibility has been placed on the defensive line to create pressure. The idea is that this frees up the linebackers to play coverage or let the play develop, react and get to the ball carrier. Occasionally Aaron Curry has put his hand down on third down, but they want the defensive line to make the pass rush and get to the QB. So far in 2009, it hasn't really happened.

Nebraska used a very similar system last year. Again, the focus was almost entirely on the four man front to get to the QB. The two defensive tackles - Suh and the also impressive Jared Crick - were constantly threatening. With Suh taking two blockers this often left Crick in one-on-one battles, something he thrived on. Imagine trying to block a DT partnership of Suh and Brandon Mebane?

On a few occasions they lined up in a 3-4, with Suh playing DE. As Kyle testifies in his report, he's equally adept in that role. It may even be his best position. However, I strongly believe such is the quality of Ndamukong Suh, he'll be targeted by both 3-4 and 4-3 teams.

The interesting subject Kyle also touched on is the amount Seattle rotate their defensive lineman. They have many situational packages and also like to keep their guys fresh. If the Seahawks were in position at the top of the draft to take a guy like Ndamukong Suh, they'd have to justify a $60m outlay for a guy who may only play 35 snaps a game.

However, I also don't think we're ever going to see a top defense in Seattle (in this system anyway) without an elite presence on the defensive line. Some like Suh can be that guy. Put him alongside Mebane and watch them attack the offensive line. You've still go Colin Cole to act as a run stuffer for the situational plays.

It may be a redundant debate because quite frankly, Seattle would have to be 'three or four wins' bad to have any chance of drafting Suh. With the Broncos at 4-0 and the Rams, Buccs and Browns all struggling badly, there's a pretty good chance Suh won't have a chance to return to his native North West.

However, in what has been a year of hype and under achievement, Ndamukong Suh lit up the draft board last night. Suh-perb? Most definitely. He should be top of every big board around the country and when I see 'experts' like Mel Kiper placing him behind Sam Bradford and Eric Berry - I have to ask what else Suh needs to do to reach the top?

Don't just take it from me. Rob Rang thinks Suh should be a Heisman candidate.


Mind of no mind said...

"It may be a redundant debate because quite frankly, Seattle would have to be 'three or four wins' bad to have any chance of drafting Suh. With the Broncos at 4-0 and the Rams, Buccs and Browns all struggling badly, there's a pretty good chance Suh won't have a chance to return to his native North West."

I agree with this statement. I think Suh will most likely be the first non QB chosen (if not first overall). Of the teams that have a good chance of drafting ahead of us, the Bucs, Chiefs, Lions, Raiders and Browns seem unlikely to draft a QB.

I really think both of our picks are most likely to be in the 10-20 range, and I doubt we'd trade up more than a couple spots for anything other than a QB.

But if we do somehow end up drafting high enough to get this guy, I'm 100% on board to draft the best player available regardless of position, and I think Ndamukong Suh just might be that guy.

Mind of no mind said...

You said in your post "What to do with Ndamukong Suh" that "His size, strength, hands, and athleticism would make him a dominant player - far, far, far better than Tyson Jackson, now of the Kansas City Chiefs."

I wonder, if he's that much better than Tyson Jackson and given the fact that Glenn Dorsey was projected to be a 4-3 DT and was drafted by the Chiefs for that purpose, if the Chiefs were in position to draft Suh, if they'd be willing to trade Dorsey. I havn't really heard anything about him this year, and 3-4 DEs never really put up much for stats so it's hard to tell anything from that, but it would be pretty sweet if we could trade a mid teens pick for Dorsey so the Chiefs could select Suh. But that's probably a little to far out there in the fantasy realm.

germpod said...

Any oppinions on who would be a better fit for the Hawks, Suh or McCoy?

Rob Staton said...

I think you have the same issue with both. Essentially, they'd be perfect in the three technique for the Seahawks, but that means moving Brandon Mebane back to his old job. Now, personally, I think Mebane did a great job in the one the last two years. I wouldn't personally have any issues with that. But as Kyle rightly points out, they've trained Mebane to play the three. He's physically worked extremely hard to get into the shape required to play the three - could you really ask him to move back to the one?

You could also look at it another way - you're guaranteed to have one of Mebane or Suh/McCoy on the field every down. But then you're paying premium money to a guy who's spelling someone who's likely to command a decent contract when he eventually hits free agency. A lot of money for a few snaps per person.

As long as you can satisfy yourself with the cost and the situation, then both Suh and McCoy are equally good fits. I would say Suh is marginally the better player, with a very solid background, senior, from the area (originally from Portland). So as a package I'd say Suh, but both players can play in the 4-3.

Kyle Rota said...

Mind of no mind:

Part of the reason I liked Suh so much more than Jackson is Jackson's fault, but Suh is an elite 3-4 end prospect. NE seemed to get a lot out of Seymour, so I could see GM Scott Pioli going for an impact DE. He would completely anchor that side of the defense against the run (he's almost unblockable 1v1), and could get to the passer if set lose.

I like your Dorsey suggestion, but the big problem there is his contract. Unless KC is much better off financially than I thought, his bonus would make it very painful to move him. Though, in an uncapped year, this could change. Dorsey had very limited success his 1st year, though, so I'm not sure I'd be willing to give up a lot... that said, DT, like DE, is a position where rookies often struggle to make an impact, so maybe 2008 is just part of a normal learning curve. That would be a very tough decision.

Lastly, don't be surprised if McCoy goes before Suh. I'm not sure I agree with it, but McCoy is a freakish athlete who hustles and is (I believe) pretty clean off the field. He could rise like Jason Smith did in 2009... and I've heard that NFL teams think he's the next Tommie Harris and value him over Suh. I need to see more of McCoy to figure out who is tops among those two, but McCoy didn't impress me terribly the one game I scouted him in 2008.

Mind of no mind said...

Yeah, I wouldn't be willing to give to high of a pick for Dorsey, but it seems like he'd still be worth a pick in the late teens. I didn't consider the finanical implications of such a move for the Chiefs though.

What's up with Terrence Cody? Everyone was so high on him last year wondering if he'd declare, but it seems like he's fallen off the map this year. How would you compare him to McCoy/Suh? Is he well below those guys in talent, or is he just a completely different type of player? Would he make sense for the Hawks, or would he be to much like Red Bryant and Colin Cole?

Rob Staton said...

Mind of no Mind - I'm watching Ole Miss vs Alabama right now and keeping an eye on Cody. He's a lot different to McCoy and Suh in that they are clearly three technique guys, athletic, capable of getting to the QB. Cody is a big run stuffer type, better suited to a 3-4 as a two gap. I've seen him chase down QB's this season in previous Alabama games, but it's an unusual sight.

Personally, I'm not that big a fan. He isn't a great fit for Seattle's 4-3 and he's just 'too' big for me (350lbs). No doubt his size will eat up a ton of space against the run and he could make a fine nose tackle in the 3-4. He's all power and in the college game I think he can impose himself on smaller interior lineman. I'm not sure the NFL's bigger, faster blockers aren't going to have a much easier time dealing with him.

Rob Staton said...

Another thing about Cody - I don't think I can trust his weight issues. He's been as high as 410lbs and he's supposedly at 350lbs now although he could easily be 370-380lbs. I expect that issue will be discussed in many war rooms by 3-4 teams in the NFL, but it could seriously hurt his stock.

Mind of no mind said...

Cool, thanks for the follow up! I guess the upside will be that quality NTs can be hard to come by, so hopefully he'll be drafted ahead of the Seahawks which will push some talent we can actually use down one more spot.