Scout's Notebook: Lions DT Ndamukong Suh

Posted Nov. 10, 2010 @ 1:55 p.m.
Posted By Nolan Nawrocki

DT Ndamukong Suh
Detroit Lions
: 6-3 7/8 Weight: 307 Speed: 5.09

Notes: Full name is pronounced "En-DOM- ah-ken Soo." Tore the meniscus in his left knee playing basketball as a high school senior. At Nebraska, appeared in the first two games as a true freshman in 2005, but lacked strength in the knee and underwent arthroscopic surgery in September (received a medical hardship). During five-year career at NU, registered 215 tackles, 57 for loss (second in school history) and 24 sacks with 15 batted passes, four interceptions (two TDs), three forced fumbles and six blocked kicks. As a senior in '09, was a Heisman Trophy finalist and the first defender to win the AP Player of the Year award. Also captured the Outland, Lombardi, Bednarik and Nagurski awards. Was drafted No. 2 overall by the Lions and signed a five-year, $68 million contract that includes $40 million guaranteed. In eight starts, he has tallied 30 tackles with 6½ sacks and an interception.

Positives: Extremely, extremely strong in the upper body with good lower-body power to anchor against the double-team and control the line of scrimmage. Stout run defender. Flashes violence in his hands to jolt blockers with his punch and toss blockers to the ground. Good instincts to locate the ball quickly. Swats away the hands of blockers and has a quick spin move to come free. Plays with great balance and is seldom on the ground. Has an ornery football temperament and took over the game against Washington in Week Eight.

Negatives: Was overmatched at times by Jets ORT Damien Woody and challenged by the physicality of the Jets' offensive line in Week Nine. Could more consistently use his hands to disengage from blocks —  is not a refined pass rusher and relies too much on his bull strength. Cannot easily sink his hips and has a tendency to rise off the ball. Could do a better job wrapping as a tackler and finishing. Could show more spatial awareness — was caught loafing and blindsided off his feet by Nick Mangold. Shanked a PAT as the emergency kicker against the Jets.

Summary: A big man who plays big, Suh stepped into the starting lineup from Day One and has made an immediate impact at a position that is difficult for rookies to master, notching more sacks from the inside than any other defensive tackle in football while seldom leaving the field. Has performed at a Pro Bowl-caliber level in the first half of the season and drawn extra protection. Has shown he can take over games when he wants to and possesses the strength and power to be a cornerstone of the Lions' defense for a long time.