Draft Day Target: DE Terrell Suggs

The Cowboys are seeking help in several areas this offseason and even though the defensive line may not be focal point of those needs, Arizona State defensive end Terrell Suggs might be just what the doctor ordered with the #5 pick. Is Suggs being seriously considered by head coach Bill Parcells?

Cowboys' defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer has seen two areas of concern on his side of the ball headed into the 2003 NFL Draft.

One, he knows that he needs a true shutdown cornerback, and two, he also knows that he needs a pass-rushing defensive end to help create more havoc in the backfield.

And while most people are quick to point out the offensive struggles with the Cowboys in each of the last two seasons, it must be noted that Bill Parcells is a defensive minded coach. He knows that a stingy, big-play defense will get him where he wants to go faster than a high flying, fun-and-gun offense.

That's just one of several reasons he may look to fill his defensive needs with the Cowboys' first round draft pick this April.

Arizona State's Terrell Suggs set an NCAA single-season sack record with 22 last season, while also leading the nation with 29 tackles for loss.
Arizona State defensive lineman Terrell Suggs (6-4, 265) certainly appears to be near the top of the Cowboys' draft board Suggs set an NCAA single-season sack record with 22 last season, while also leading the nation with 29 tackles for loss.

Suggs is described as an explosive athlete that continually blows up plays behind the line of scrimmage. He's quick off the snap with a nice first step, plays low to the ground with leverage, and displays force and speed in any direction of the field.

"He collapses from the outside to defend the run, moves well laterally and pursues the action with speed," notes NFL Draft Expert Tony Pauline.

"He's fast enough to run down ball carriers from the backside and quick closing on the passer. He also effectively uses his hands to keep blockers off him, redirects well to the action and squares into tackles, wrapping up."

As if that wasn't enough, Suggs holds ASU records for single season sacks, career sacks (44), single-season tackles for loss (31.5), and career tackles for loss (65.5).

"You simply can't replace a guy like Terrell Suggs," says Arizona State head coach Dirk Koetter. "He has evolved into a tremendous leader. He has a very unique style, he speaks from the heart and he means what he says and that part will probably be very difficult to replace."

Suggs is another defensive end with speed to burn, running the 40-yard dash in 4.61 seconds. He has excellent range and movement skills; and he can even play up to ten yards off the line of scrimmage on zone blitzes and drop back into coverage.

Simply put, having Terrell Suggs on your team gives you options that you aren't accustomed to, because he's so athletic.

But therein lies part of the downside of this speedster on the defensive line. Some experts view him as an undersized end, and worry that he could be overmatched against some of the bigger linemen in the National Football League.

"There's no doubt that he needs to grow a little more physically and add some bulk," noted one NFL Scout recently. "But he's the type of kid that has so much upside, and you know he's just going to get better the more he sees the field."

Unfortunately, the Cowboys haven't had the best of luck when it comes to drafting defensive ends. Consider Ebenezer Ekuban and Peppi Zellner, who both have to be considered as busts at this point in their respective careers.

Ekuban was taken in the first round out of North Carolina in 1999, while Zellner was taken in the fourth round out of Fort Valley State in the same year.

Perhaps their luck is about to change however, as Suggs is as about as close to a "can't miss" player in the NFL as it gets. He's the perfect combination of strength and speed, and he'll no doubt bring more to the table than any other rush end on the Cowboys' roster.

And the good news is that he'll likely be available when the Cowboys go on the clock with the 5th overall selection.

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