Ndamukong Suh was drafted out of Nebraska, by the Detroit Lions in the 1st round (2nd overall pick) in the 2010 NFL draft. Suh was known to be equally proficient at stopping the run and collapsing the pocket in the opposition’s passing game. In other words, he was thought to be the best defensive lineman in the game, today.
Suh had more awards and accolades than I can count, coming out of college. In the NFL he continued his stellar and dominating play with the Lions, earning rookie of the year and 4 pro bowl selections in his 5 seasons in the Motor City.
But to begin his career with the Dolphins in 2015, Suh didn’t seem to be at the top of his game, and it showed in the stats. Perhaps he just needed to get used to the new defensive playing style of the team because in his first 5 games last year, he had only 11 tackles…and 0 sacks.
But in game 6, against Houston, something must have clicked. Suh finally got his first sack for the Dolphins, and actually collected 2 sacks on the day. After that, Suh seemed back to his dominating ways, taking on multiple blockers, collapsing the pocket in passing situations and showing he is still a great run defender. He finished the year strong.
Now in 2016 at age 29, the question is, will he continue to dominate? No doubt Suh is still in the prime of his career but like all players approaching 30 years old, some may wonder how much longer can he stay at the top of his game?
In Suh’s 6 seasons in the NFL, he has already collected 42 QB sacks, which averages to 7 sacks per season. Those are good numbers for pass rushing specialists, like linebackers and defensive ends, but having those numbers playing defensive tackle, is nothing less than sensational. At 6-4 and 320 lbs. Suh still has the speed, strength and athleticism to dominate in 2016, barring injury. Suh is the type of player that comes along once in a generation, and it not too much to hope he has a strong influence on improving the defense, and making the playoffs.
With the well-documented issues and inexperience in their secondary, the Dolphins defensive line will need to be a strength for the team to succeed. If Cameron Wake can return from injury, and if recently signed DE Mario Williams shows his miserable 2015 season was only an aberration last year while in Buffalo, the Dolphins should be awfully tough up front.
Like it or not, Ndamukong Suh is a leader on this defense and on the team. He can be as good as he wants to be. I hope the rest of the team will follow suit.