Haloti Ngata is a beast.
In fact, he has been since he's first entered the league in 2006. But even though he plays at a Pro Bowl level, he's failed to reach Honolulu in his short career. Ngata's been overlooked and underappreciated, but for a reason. The AFC in the past has been loaded with great nose tackles, such as Albert Haynesworth, Kris Jenkins, Shaun Rogers, and even Casey Hampton.
But this year is diffrent.
Haynesworth now resides in D.C. and more importantly the NFC. Kris Jenkins is now out for the season with a knee injury. Rogers has played decently but is trapped in Cleveland. Good players on terrible teams don't usually go to the Pro Bowl, ask Calvin Johnson.
The AFC is wide open for nose tackles, and Ngata will rise to the occasion. This just seems like the year he will burst on to the National scene as a Top Five nose tackle. He's an absoloute freak of nature. His rare blend of size, overall athleticism, and intelligence should make him a shoe-in for the Pro Bowl year in and year out.
Just refresh your memory back to the preseason vs the Jets. Ngata instinctively sat on a screen pass. He was in perfect position to knock the ball down to the turf, but leaped up, snatched the pigskin right out of the sky, and then rumbled his way to paydirt. I KNOW it was preseason, but it was the type of play you just don't see from your typical NFL nose tackle.
Although he hasn't put use to his fly-paper hands in the regular season, he has still been dominant. The Oregon product has consistantly clogged holes for Ray Lewis and Co. to make plays on the ball carrier.
But there have been a few bumps in the road.
Baltimore's "Organized Chaos" , has looked like regualar ol' chaos thus far. They allowed their first 100-yard rusher in 39 games to Cedric Benson. This streak could not have lived forever, but the fashion it happened in was quite disappointing. The defense was consistantly out of place and threw arm tackles. Not to mention, the very next week the Ravens allowed another-100 yard rusher to Adrian Peterson.
Also, Ngata went down with an ankle injury last game.
Will this injury affect Ngata's dominance throughout the season? Will Baltimore's defense breakdown again and allow another 100 yard rusher? There's no telling. But these are ceartainly the types of things that'll keep a man worthy of playing with the elite, at home watching them on television.
But I don't think it will. Keep an eye Ngata this season he's poised for a big year. That's bad news for the rest of the league.