I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a player come from the college game to the pro game and appear like there was no adjustment the way Ndamukong Suh did as a rookie last season. He dominated the NFL the same way he dominated on the college level.
Let me say that’s rare at any position. I haven’t seen anyone so dominant entering the league since Haloti Ngata five years ago.
Suh is a perfect fit for the 4-3 defense, and when you look players in the league who can play the position as well as he can, it’s a short list. There’s Ngata, and maybe Minnesota’s Kevin Williams. Maybe Darnell Dockett in Arizona.
Most people will look at Suh’s 10.0 sacks, which is great, because that’s a difficult number to achieve. But Suh is so much more — and so much better — than just sacks. He plays the run and plays with violence. He chases plays down from behind. His recognition of plays is unbelievable considering most defensive linemen take a year to figure out the NFL game.
For Suh to have that recognition, and physically be able to play his position, makes him one of a kind. He really has no weaknesses in his game.
What’s striking is Suh can even get better, I think, because his recognition will improve. He’ll learn how to pace himself better in games and at what points in a game to really turn it on. He will learn the book on opposing players — such as Josh Sitton of the Packers, one of the league’s best guards — as he sees them more often. Most players tend to make the biggest jump between their first and second seasons.
I’ve never seen anyone play the position quite like Suh. Although I consider Ngata the best at what he does, Suh is a different type of player because he’s not quite as big. If Suh improves like I expect him to, it will be just he and Ngata in this conversation.
It’s the ultimate compliment, really, that Suh doesn’t compare to anyone else in the league.