Haloti Ngata: Unsung Ravens Hero

chad lamasaCorrespondent IDecember 16, 2008

This morning on Mike & Mike in the Morning, the Mikes were talking about the 2006 NFL draft. They said that after the top two picks of Mario Williams and Reggie Bush, the first round of this draft was pretty thin.

Granted there have only been three Pro Bowlers out the first round—Vince Young, Antonio Cromartie, and Joseph Addai—but there are plenty of other notable players in this draft. Some of these include D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Vernon Davis, Matt Leinart, and Jay Cutler. These players were all drafted above the focus of this story, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.

Ngata was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens 12th overall, a pick they swapped with the Cleveland Browns. Since being drafted Haloti has started 46 straight games for the Ravens. Barring injury he will be up to 48 at the end of the regular season.

Surrounded by names like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Bart Scott, Terell Suggs, and Kelly Gregg, Haloti Ngata gets over shadowed. However, he is starting to make a name for himself.

In his first professional game, the 6'4", 345-pounder picked off Chris Simms and rumbled 60 yards until he ran out of gas at the seven yard line. 

He finished his rookie season with 31 tackles, 13 solo, one sack, and one interception.

In 2007, his second year in the league, he finished the season with 63 tackles (43 of these were solo tackles), three sacks, and two batted down balls. He had four games with seven tackles. His best game was against the New England Patriots, who went undefeated for the regular season.

Ngata was a big part of why the Ravens almost pulled off the upset, recording seven tackles, all solo, and a sack of Tom Brady.

This season he has continued to improve and with two games left he seems to be on pace to at least match last season. So far this season he has recorded 50 tackles, 38 solo, one sack, five batted balls, and two interceptions.

His best game, even though the Ravens got blown out, was against the NY Giants. In this game he recorded seven tackles, five of which were solo.

My favorite play of the game on Sunday against the Steelers, possibly of the season, was a tackle he had on Willie Parker. To show how powerful he is, he basically just stood upright as Willie Parker slammed into him. He might as well have been a brick wall, as Parker bounced off and fell to the ground.

Haloti Ngata deserves to be selected to the Pro Bowl this year. If he doesn't get voted in he should at least be a reserve for the AFC team.

He's not a household name outside of Baltimore yet, which will hurt his chances to get voted in. To prove that, his name doesn't even come up on this site when you search for tags.

His only downfall may be that he just goes out there and plays his game. He doesn't talk smack, he doesn't complain he's not getting enough attention. He just quietly goes out, does his job, and does it well.