Recently I was motivated to write an article about why the Detroit Lions will or should draft Ndamukong Suh with the 2nd overall pick in the 2010 draft. It seems there are people out there who think the best choice for Detroit is Tennessee safety Eric Berry, or Oklahoma State OT Russel Okung. But lets break down the facts and get down to brass tax on why Ndamukong Suh is the best pick for Detroit with the 2nd overall pick IF he's there.
1. Detroit has been the worst defense in the NFL for 3 years in a row now. They give up more points (30.9 average per game in 2009), yards (392.1/average per game in 2009), and big plays than any other team in the NFL and have done so like clockwork for 3 years now. The single key ingredient to any defense is pressure on the QB. So the Lions largest need, on either side of the ball (yes including protecting Matthew Stafford) is to get pressure on opposing QB's. About the only thing the Lions were even close to mediocre at last year on defense was stopping the run. However even stopping the run the Lions were 25th out of 32 teams with a 126/yard per game average. This is a direct result of a massive lack of pressure on the QB and Suh will give opposing QB's nightmares for the next decade at what ever team he plays on.
2. Suh is hands down the best player in the draft. When in history was there EVER a Defensive Tackle nominated for the highly coveted Heisman trophy? Never. Anyone who thinks Berry or Okung should be drafted over Suh, please explain to me why neither of these guys were nominated for the Heisman? It's one thing to have a top rated DT, but it's totally a different thing to have a DT so dominant that he's flown to the Heisman awards ceremony because there is a real chance he could win an award that is almost never even considered for defensive players. Here is a FACT for you, since it's inception in 1936, only 1 Heisman award has EVER been given to a defensive player, and that players name is Charles Woodson, CB out of Michigan in 1997. Now I can tell you that I don't give much weight to the Heisman award when they give it to a RB or QB like normal because those guys bust quite often. But the single Defensive player to ever win the award is arguably the best CB to play the game, ever. Since Suh was so close to winning this award, its OBVIOUS how much of a game changer he really is. If that isn't a good metric to measure the best player in this years draft, I don't know what is.
3. Pressure wins football games. Guys like Darrelle Revis have great seasons because of their front 4 creating pressure on the QB, hurrying passes, forcing mistakes, and just creating havoc in general. No Corner is worth a top 3 pick in the draft because corners lose speed over time (except for exceptional ones like Charles Woodson) and therefore they lose their effectiveness because eventually they can't keep up with the young WR's coming out of the draft. Corners also don't create havoc, they cover 1 person in a game until the ball is thrown to someone other than that person. The highest DB ever drafted once again was Charles Woodson, taken 4th overall in his draft class, and once again, he was such a good CB that he won the Heisman as the only defensive player in history to ever do so.
4. Rotation Rotation Rotation.. Keeping guys fresh on the field is very important. Schwartz knows how important those front 4 guys who create havoc, apply pressure, get after the QB and force mistakes are, they are difference makers and game changers. So no matter who the Lions trade for, draft, or sign in the free agency, there is always room for more talent at DT. Lets be honest here, there are only 2 guys who belong on the DT rotation in Detroit and those guys are Sammie Lee Hill, and Cory Williams. Hill is not yet starter quality though, he still needs work. Fluellen, and the Cohen brothers are not the caliber talent Detroit needs on Defense. Does everyone remember last year in Green Bay when the Lions started playing Manny Ramerez and Danniel Loper at DT because they RAN OUT OF PLAYERS at that position? This situation can NEVER happen again on a Lions team that expects to win football games. Expect the Lions to continue to make sweeping changes at the DT position. Even taking a look at guys like Hargrove doesn't change the fact that Detroit needs 5-6 guys at a position they have 2 for currently (1 starter in C Williams and one back up S.Hill).
5. The wait. There will be other LT's to protect Matthew Stafford who are just as good as Russel Okung, probably in rounds 2-7 of the draft as well as the Free agency. There will be lots of DB's that can cover NFL WR's from both the draft and free agency. It's been 74 years since a Defensive Tackle was nominated for the Heisman award, let alone a finalist in the running to win the award. It's been 53 years since the Lions spanked the Browns in the world champion game of 1957. Personally, I can wait to see how the Lions are going to address their needs at CB, Safety, LT, LG, etc.. But knowing that defense wins championships, I can't wait to see Ndamukong Suh dressed in Blue n Silver next fall.