by Brad Holda
I’m going to break it down for you real quick – these two players cannot be objectively measured against one other. These two, being independently and fundamentally dissimilar with completely different skills, thereby bring different assets to their respective teams that cannot be compared without bias.
Ngata is more of a “sacrificial lamb” (his words) by stuffing holes and pushing people around to stop the run. Suh, however, was more of a line disrupter with pass rushing ability while at the same time being more athletic than Ngata. Not to be discounted, it’s noteworthy to mention that Ngata has 5 pro bowl appearances which, in and of itself, is extremely impressive.
The General Manager of the Detroit Lions, Martin Mayhew, has been quoted saying, “When you have a guy as talented as Suh, to have the ability to replace him with a guy like Haloti Ngata really alleviates a lot of concern about the defensive tackle position, so we’re very, very thrilled to have him”. Ngata is more focused on plugging the holes and stopping the run. I’ve already mentioned Suh is (high probability) one of the best and most athletic defensive lineman in the NFL. However, Suh is arriving, and most likely peaking, during the middle of his NFL career, whereas Ngata is at the exit point of his illustrious career.
There are quite a bit of stamina issues between these two DT’s. Ngata took only 65.6 percent of the snaps last year before his suspension. In the meantime, Suh played a ludicrous amount of snaps, 81.6 percent of the snaps stretching the expanse of the whole season and 1 post-season game. However Suh is the more qualified player, based on pure athleticism, and he excels on the interior area, whereas Ngata has an edge on Suh with the pass rush fails. In a mere 12 games in 2014, Ngata had 7 pass deflections compared to Suh’s 6 deflections. Going back to the prior years (3) Ngata has netted 5 pass deflections per year according to Suh’s 3 pass deflections in those same seasons.
Ngata stated, “I’m just trying to be me and not like Suh, because we’re totally different players.” Especially if you break down the tape of these two players and see the differences and similarities. Ngata also stated “Definitely my strength is having the power and strength to play the run.” Haloti also has the versatility that could even allow the Lions to switch defenses if they needed to. He is a proven winner, with a super bowl ring to augment the previous statement. We won’t even go into the particulars of this shoring up the Lion’s salary cap. However, the Lions aspirations remain sky high and they expect to compete for the title of the NFC NORTH.
Reporters are purportedly writing articles that Ngata stacks up against Suh more ways that one. All I know is that the future for Jim Caldwell’s defense is looking good. I will soon be able to, without any hesitation, give you an objective list of defenses to draft. That said, with the Lions’ secondary and the linebacker core, there is no doubt in my mind they will form an ensemble front 4, even if it takes quite a bit of shifting and rotating guys. Jim Caldwell will figure it out. Don’t forget: Detroit still has the amazing Teryl Austin as defensive coordinator, who is super creative and is known for working with what he has, (in terms of players) and always having rotating nickel packages. If the Lions beef up their defensive line, there is no doubt in my mind they will crack the top 8, perhaps the top 5.
Guys, remember this is pure speculation, I can’t get proper evaluations and projections until they start fall camp and actually use their pads. So just wait, read my articles and subscribe to the site, and come back in August when I can lay down some empirical offensive articles and strategies for you.