Alright, let’s everybody take a deep breath….and now exhale.
Detroit Lions all-world defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is poised to bolt to the Miami Dolphins. With his exit, Suh will achieve his goal of being the highest-paid defensive player in the league.
Funny thing about that achievement is it will only last a year or two.
Anyone who is even a fair-weather fan of the Detroit Lions will see this as a colossal mistake in letting him go. And anyone that remains a fan will point to Detroit Lions management and yell “you screwed us again!” and be right.
However, looking at this from a different perspective, it may work out better for the Lions financially. But then again, the Lions aren’t the brightest bulb in the box when it comes to finances.
We all know when Barry Sanders was here they needed to spend money on building a team around him. While they came close, they never really go over the hump that would have at least given the greatest running back whoever played the game a Super Bowl appearance.
As for Suh, yep, it’s gonna suck that the Lions have a huge hole to fill now. But at least it sets them up to draft appropriately…wait, this is the Lions, right?
Suh is gone and I don’t have a lot of faith in Nick Fairley. Say what you want about Suh. But the one thing you have to admit, the man stayed healthy and came to play. Teams had to account for him and when they didn’t he made them pay.
But is he truly a freak of nature? Are there some defensive tackles in the college ranks that could fill that void? I believe there is and here are the ones that I think would help ease the pain:
Danny Shelton – University of Washington: This guy is an absolute monster. 6’1″ and weighing in at 343 lbs. he would be a great run-stuffer. He can bulldoze into the backfield and collapse the pocket quickly. Teams are going to have to always double-team him because I don’t think there is any interior lineman that can hold him one on one for long.
In 2014, he was one of the leaders in sacks for defensive tackles, registering nine. On top of that, Shelton had 87 tackles with an astounding 16.5 of them for losses.
If the Lions want to fill the hole, Shelton would be a great pick at 23. Shelton is considered a top 25 player.
Malcom Brown – Texas: Coming in at 6’2″ and 319 lbs, Brown is a very different player than Shelton is…but just as effective.
He is a dangerous pass rusher and showed that he can shed blocks. Quite often, Brown overwhelmed opposing linemen. He recorded 6.5 sacks in 2014 to go along with 71 tackles (13 for loss) and two forced fumbles. Kid has a great motor and is always a tough assignment.
Jordan Phillips – Oklahoma: 6’5′ and 329 lbs. Has a surprising burst for a big man and uses his size to overwhelm linemen. He can cause a lot of disruption at the point of attack and would be a great candidate for a 3-4 defense if the Lions go that way.
These are just 3 players in the ranks that I believe can play defensive tackle for the Lions. Will any of them make us forget Ndamukong Suh? Doubtful as Suh is a one of a kind player.
But I do think any of these three will create enough havoc in opposing backfields. And there wouldn’t be a big step backward in the defensive line philosophy the Lions currently employ.
Suh is gone and there is nothing we can do about it. And yelling at the Lions management won’t do much either. We need to trust (which I know is a hard thing to do) the management to fill the void and keep the Lions in contention.
I’m going to keep hoping the Lions will make smart and savvy draft day decisions and spend wisely in free agency.