The consolation prize for a horrid ‘09 campaign is the fact the Buccaneers are in the running to draft one of the most dominant defensive lineman to come out of the collegiate ranks in over a decade. The last time the Buccaneers drafted a defensive player at the top of the draft from the Big Twelve conference was back in 1976 when they used the first overall selection to take Lee Roy Selmon, who went on to have a Hall of Fame career and shape the defense into a power in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
Now, the Bucs are battling the likes of the Rams, Browns and Lions for the right to draft Ndamukong Suh, the 6-foot-4 inch, 300-plus pound defensive tackle from Nebraska. Suh, is the closet thing to sure fire that the draft has seen in some time, from a defensive standpoint. The dominance that is displayed on the field when being double and even triple teamed has many front offices and scouts salivating at the chance to potentially add a player the ilk of Suh to their respective rosters.
Based on the remaining schedule for the Bucs, Rams, Browns and Lions the race to the finish should leave fans holding their collective breath that each of these teams shows signs of improvement, but ultimately doesn’t win any more games because missing out on a consolation prize such as Suh would leave many feeling ditched at the alter.
Here is who each team has remaining in the battle for the top spot and the chance to land the coveted Suh.
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From all accounts through reading several scouting reports from various reputable websites and the eye ball test when watching him in games, Suh not only has the production to go with the hype but he also has a tremendous upside. His ability to take on multiple blockers frees up other team mates and allows them more one on one matchups, throw in his ability to shed blockers and collapse the pocket and his non stop motor make him one hell of a consolation prize should the Bucs continue to find ways to lose.
Since Bo Pelini arrived at Nebraska, Suh has been a dominant force – the face of the Cornhuskers defense. Suh has amassed 158 tackles, 36.5 tackles for loss, 27 quarterback hurries, 19.5 sacks, 13 passes defended, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, five blocked kicks and 2 touchdowns in 26 games, that just over a season and a half, at the NFL level.
In the 53 collegiate games Suh has played in, his progress has been a steady if not remarkable ascension to the top. His career totals for a defensive tackle are eye popping and part of the reason he is getting as much hype as he gets. In those 53 games Suh has collected 212 tackles, 48.5 tackles for loss, 24 sacks, 32 quarterback hurries, 6 blocked kicks, 15 passed defended, 3 forced fumbles, 4 interceptions, 2 touchdowns, 1 reception for 2 yards and 1 touchdown.
According to KC Joyner, of ESPN.com Suh is hands down the best player he’s graded in the Draft Lab series. Joyner stated that this is one of the deepest defensive line drafts in NFL history and the metrics say Suh is head and shoulders above his positional competition. He should be the No. 1 pick in the draft and, if he had a vote, he would nominate him for the Heisman Trophy without hesitation.