Sunday, 22 November 2009

Ndamukong Suh still number one

Today I watched the tape from Nebraska's win over Kansas State, offering another chance to watch the man ranked number one in my 2010 rankings (which can be found on the right hand side bar) - Ndamukong Suh. In all honesty, he was kept pretty quiet for the first three quarters. He faced double teams on nearly every play and it's to K-State's credit that they managed to keep fellow tackle Jared Crick quiet despite the extra attention afforded to Suh.

However, in the fourth quarter Suh took control of the game. Whilst the offensive line trying to stop him began to tire, Suh just kept on going. Suddenly he was getting into the backfield, tipping passes and getting to the QB. Now, I had mixed feelings about this. If teams can effectively double team him to this extent in college, will NFL lines be able to manage him with equal sufficiency? He really only got into the game when his opponents got tired.

On the other hand, every time I've seen Suh this year he's been involved in one way or another. I don't think I've ever seen a defensive tackle with his range - he leads his team in tackles, he makes interceptions (and returns them for scores), he blocks passes, he gets sacks. He'll drop into coverage every now and again and he never gives up on a play until the whistle goes. It might have taken a while for it to happen yesterday, but when Suh took over he effectively ended the game on his own.

His two tipped passes in the final quarter took him to ten for the year - a school record for his position. He added 1.5 sacks and a couple of hurries. He was still chasing guys down like a linebacker with just a couple of minutes to go. His career stats (which can be found here) have to be seen to be believed.

Suh is certainly flexible enough to play in either the 4-3 as a three technique or the 3-4 at defensive end, which is the main reason I continue to keep him above Gerald McCoy in the rankings. He appeals to all teams, whilst McCoy will strictly interest those looking for a 4-3 three tech. Depending on who is picking at the very top of the board and with a less than stellar quarterback class unlikely to take up the top picks, it's not unrealistic that the pair could go #1 and #2.

There was one other prospect that stood out for Nebraska - senior safety Larry Asante. Reader and contributor '1st Hill' recently asked me to keep an eye on him and he wasn't hard to pick out against K-State. He was called early for an ugly horse collar penalty but recovered to make a series of well timed tackles, an interception and also a key forced fumble. Asante did a good job diagnosing plays throughout, showed good center field skills in safety support and generally his tackling was sound. He finished with 11 total tackles.

He's had some injury trouble and hasn't shown a consistent ability to make big plays during his career, but I'd feel comfortable giving him a grade in the 5th round range. If you're looking for a late round alternative to bigger names like Eric Berry and Taylor Mays, then Asante might be worth keeping an eye on.


Anonymous said...


It is looking like we will have two pretty high draft picks (Denver has lost 4 straight, and we're not doing any better) how does this effect your mock?


Rob Staton said...

It'll change dramatically if both teams keep losing. The schedules are easier in both cases over the next few weeks, but then neither the Seahawks nor the Broncos seem capable of getting out of the slump they're in. Denver looked very poor against San Diego, but they made crucial errors when the game was close, it could've been a different score.

The more Seattle lose (and the teams below them - KC, Oakland, Detroit - win) the easier it makes it to be in position to potentially target the top defensive lineman in the 2010 draft. That is where the strength lies, it's a need for the Seahawks and it's the position I believe the current front office will target early. Having a higher pick through Denver makes it potentially easier to target offensive help like Charles Brown or C.J. Spiller also in round one.

ivotuk said...

Man who was the Neb player who was tearing it up? No. 55 I think? Any prospects on either O Line?

bob said...

I have seen a more Neb games for the last 30 years than I haven't seen (I'm 36).

Trust me. Suh is the real deal.

Rewatch the tape if you want... it seemed most Neb. guys were going 1 on 1 in the early part of the game and Suh was getting doubled (which he was).

However, I noticed instances where it seemed the coaches had him "lay back" and play the draw, screen, etc. Basically, his purpose wasn't to penetrate like he should have at all times. To the naked eye, people would think he sucked and was overrated. On the flip side, Bo had a smart defensive game plan on some of those plays where Suh was supposedly sucking and not getting penetration.