Nebraska's Suh Still Not Getting The Respect From Some

Bleacher ReportAnalyst IFebruary 23, 2010

SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 30:  Ndamukong Suh #93 of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers pursues the play during the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl against University of Arizona Wildcats on December 30, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. The Cornhuskers defeated the Wildcats 33-0. (Photo By Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

What more does Ndamukong Suh have left to prove?

Hasn't it been positively affirmed with on the field performance the last two years that he is in fact, and by a wide margin, the very best defensive tackle in college?

Not only the best in 2008 and 2009, but many "experts" with years and years of experience evaluating college players have called him possibly the best defensive tackle prospect to come out of college.

ESPN's own NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. was quoted as saying that in his 32 years of watching and scouting college players that he thinks Suh may be the best prospect at defensive tackle that he has seen in his years of evaluating college talent.

Yet lately, we have a few guys like Mike Mayock and Jamie Dukes, both of the NFL Network, claiming that Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy rates higher than Suh at the defensive tackle spot.

Jamie Dukes stated that he rates OU's McCoy in front of Suh, just barely because McCoy makes more explosive plays behind the line of scrimmage.

Really Jamie?  I wonder where he is getting this information. Or maybe he is just knowingly throwing out misinformation to convolute the story.

Because the recorded statistics for things such as tackles for loss and quarterback sacks (i.e. behind the line of scrimmage), the explosive plays that Jamie mentioned actually show that Suh makes a lot more plays than does McCoy.

These statistics don't even show the real story either.

I can't tell you how many times Suh wasn't credited with a tackle, but on the snap of the ball he blew up the offensive line, forced the QB out of the pocket, or the running back to adjust his run, and forced the player into a bad throw or into the teeth of the outstanding Nebraska defense.

Because of Ndamukong Suh, I think there should be a new defensive statistical category.  Call it something like, "Forced offense into bad play."

Or, "Defensive assist not resulting in tackle."

You get the picture.

McCoy's Stat Line  

2007: 19 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, six QB hurries, zero PBU, zero INT, zero BFG

2008: 30 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, three QB hurries, two PBU, one INT, zero BFG

2009: 34 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, 12 QB hurries, two PBU, zero INT, zero BFG

Totals: 83 total tackles, 33 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, 21 QB hurries, four PBU, one INT, zero BFG

Suh's Stat Line

2008: 76 total tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, seven QB hurries, three PBU, two INT (two TDs), one BFG

2009: 85 total tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, 26 QB hurries, 10 PBU, one INT, three BFG

Totals: 161 total tackles, 43 tackles for loss, 19.5 sacks, 33 QB hurries, 13 PBU, three INT, four BFG

Notice something here?

McCoy's statistics include his entire three year career at Oklahoma, while Suh's stats are only from 2008 and 2009. Who leads in every category and by wide margins?

In 2008, Suh was hardly off the production of 2009, a year that saw him put up statistics and make plays that it took McCoy an entire three year career to come close to matching. Suh consistently did in one year, 2008 and 2009, what it took McCoy a three year career to come close to matching.

Stunning if you ask me.

There are those that say it is the defensive systems, that the Nebraska defense must be designed around Suh and for him to make plays.

No, it's not.

McCoy and Suh play the same two-gap defense designed for the defensive tackle to take up blockers and to play thick. Suh is responsible for the "A" and "B" gap just as any two gap defensive tackle is, including McCoy, but Suh is able to beat those blocks, get off those blocks, and make plays.

In watching a lot of Oklahoma the last few years it appears that McCoy is quite often easily handled by a double team of the guard and center. McCoy was often buried or completely stoned by these double teams and rendered a complete nonfactor.

Double or triple teaming Suh guarantees nothing. Go ask the Texas offensive line who were supposed to be among the best in the country.

There were times throughout the 2008 and 2009 season, and probably none more so than the recent Big 12 Title Game, that you could read the body language of the offensive lineman and it said, "I thought you had 93."

Or, the body language of the offensive lineman said, "Which way did he go? Which way did he go??"

Suh plays a style of game that is so out of the ordinary for a defensive tackle. Sure, he is as strong as they come at the defensive tackle position, but isn't strength for a defensive tackle a given?  I think strong and physical defensive tackles are a dime a dozen.

For Ndamukong is the incredible, out of this world, ungodly quickness, nimble feet, athletic ability, ability to move laterally and quickly, and the strong hands that separate him from the Gerald McCoy's.

These sort of athletic attributes and skill sets are the exception and not the rule for players at 6'4" and 300 lbs. It is these tools that allow Suh to drop into coverage, to bat down balls, to pick off passes and rumble 50 and 30 yards for interception touchdowns.

Manifest all these physical skills into the same package and what you have is some sort of rhinocerous/cheetah hybid.

And Suh is so very strong against the run. He often beats pulling guards and tackles to the spot and stones any counter type run action. On pass plays to running backs he recognizes and destroys screen plays before the running back has any chance to get down field.

On the occasion that a play did get past the line of scrimmage, number 93 was very often 10-12 yards downfield making tackles and doing all this from sideline to sideline.

In short, it is obvious to me, as obvious as a kick to the groin, who the better, more explosive, consistent, No. 1 pick defensive tackle is.

It is Nebraska's number 93, not the Sooner's.

Really this decision backed by statistics and video evidence is a very easy one to make, but some people are just determined to out think themselves.

Something else to consider..

McCoy was a two time All American in 2008 and 2009.

Here is a scenario to consider..  What if McCoy and Suh switched helmets/teams in 2008, but the statistics that they each compiled in 2008 stayed with them.

Does anyone really think that Gerald McCoy is an All American in 2008 if he put up 30 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks playing for a rebuilding, mediocre Nebraska team with that line of statistics?  If you do.   I say, Oh please! Not a chance!

McCoy is a very fine football player and by all accounts a good young man, but he is still several rungs below Big Mr. Suh.


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