Suggs just right for Ravens

OWINGS MILLS - In scant seconds, Terrell Suggs can end an ambitious football play crafted for months with a noisy exclamation point. Blink at an Arizona State contest, and Suggs' blur of acceleration from his 3-point stance to gloating into the ear of a fallen, twitching quarterback might have been missed altogether. Over the last few months during the annual dissection of evaluating college players, the perception of the Sun Devils' sack master suddenly devolved.

Too slow, executives and scouts stated authoritatively about the NCAA record holder with 24 sacks last fall.
Because Suggs didn't demonstrate elite ability in campus workouts to sprint 40 yards, covering the distance between 4.84 and 4.92 seconds, he slid on draft boards across the league.
Not with the Baltimore Ravens, though, who were thrilled to acquire Suggs with the 10th overall selection of the first round. The Ravens project him as an outside linebacker across from Peter Boulware in a 3-4 scheme and occasional work at end.
Suggs' pedestrian times may have contributed to the Arizona Cardinals' decision to trade their sixth overall pick to the New Orleans Saints for extra selections.
"Yes, he didn't run well, but we have found one thing here: A pass rusher is a pass rusher," said Ravens scout Art Perkins, who specializes in grading West Coast prospects. "The first five steps are very quick, he has all the different moves, and the quarterback is usually sacked within 10 yards. He's very strong through his upper body, his hips and his legs.
"Consequently, as he comes up with his hands, he's strong enough to functionally leverage off the tackle. He has enough speed to run laterally and plays with a lot of enthusiasm. That will make him a success in this league."
It was only a few months prior to the perceived workout debacle that the Lombardi and Bronko Nagurski Award winner was criticized as too small at 6-foot-3, 245 pounds to wrestle with pro offensive tackles.
So, Suggs bulked up through a high-protein diet, mostly consisting of steaks, to reach his current 262 pounds. Too small, then not fast enough?
"I don't think it was fair, but it's football and nothing's fair," Suggs said. "I just have to shut up my critics now."
Top pass rushers Simeon Rice (4.85), Michael Strahan (4.9), Tony Brackens (4.9) and Robert Porcher (5.0) all ran sub-par times coming out of college.
Ravens player personnel director Phil Savage was overjoyed when Suggs ran poorly, calling general manager Ozzie Newsome and coach Brian Billick from Tempe, Ariz., to tell them Baltimore could benefit from Suggs' anticipated slide.
Savage said Suggs' aggressiveness at the line of scrimmage overshadows a lack of track speed.
"You're not just out there playing football, you're living football," Suggs said. "It's your job. Passion, to me, is sacrificing your body for your team, doing whatever it takes for your team to win."
Suggs is one of five children and flourished athletically after his family moved from a rough Chicago neighborhood to Chandler, Ariz., where he became a prep All-American running back.
In Chicago, Suggs often wasn't allowed by his mother to play outside for fear of stray gunshots, but watched Ravens linebackers coach Mike Singletary play for the Bears.
The talkative Suggs is definitely not shy.
"I guess I've got that middle-child syndrome, but in a good way," Suggs said. "I'm just the weirdest out of all my mom's five kids. I need the most attention, the most spoiled. I just love to talk, love to have fun."
Suggs has already appeared in a football video game commercial with Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. First, Suggs brags about his sack total before Lewis presents the rookie with two sacks of dirty clothes.
"The first thing, I thought about was me and Ray Lewis doing that commercial, how he made me do his laundry," Suggs said. "He was telling me what he was planning on doing with his rookies and I was like, 'That's cool because I ain't going to be there.' "When they called my name, I was like, 'Yeah! .. No!' Now, that's going to be a reality."
Suggs left Arizona State with a school-record 44 career sacks and 65 ½ tackles for losses with 14 forced fumbles and two interceptions.
He sacked Heisman winner Carson Palmer, the top pick in the draft, three times over the last two years. Suggs nabbed Washington's Cody Pickett four times last fall.
Fellow Ravens first-round pick Kyle Boller, who played at Cal, said his team's game plan centered on assigning three blockers to Suggs.
"He's very quick off the edge, so you definitely have to step up in the pocket," Boller said. "I'm glad that he's on this side and I'll never have to have him tackle me again."
NOTES: Baltimore's draft class was universally praised by analysts, drawing an A+ grade from ESPN's Mel Kiper. … The Ravens are expected to host free agent wideout Marcus Robinson within the next few days. The former Bear has already visited the Cardinals. … Preliminary television ratings indicate a 5.5 share in the Baltimore market for the draft on Saturday, up 150 percent from a 2.2 in the same slot last year. Despite heavy rainfall, a draft day party at Ravens Stadium was attended by a record 20,081.

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