48. Ndamukong Suh, DT, 2010 –
Too early? Nah. While Suh is still young and has only been with the Lions for four seasons, he’s made the Pro-Bowl three of those years.
Suh hasn’t only been a force in the middle of the Lions defense, he has helped change the image and mindset of the team. Some might suggest it has been a change for the worse, but going from a league laughingstock to feared and despised is a move in the right direction.
Suh played his college ball at the University of Nebraska. During his senior year he became one of the most decorated players in college football history. He won numerous awards including the Associated Press College Football Player of the Year Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Trophy, Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy, and was recognized as a unanimous All-American.
Coming into the 2010 NFL Draft, Suh was widely considered to be one of the best prospects available in the draft.ESPN.com‘s draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. described Suh as “maybe the most dominating defensive tackle I’ve seen in 32 years” and projected him to go #1 overall. Suh was seen as an ideal fit at either defensive tackle in a 4–3 defense or as a defensive end in a 3–4 NFL defense.
Suh was selected second overall by the Lions. He was the first defensive lineman the franchise selected in the first round since Luther Elliss in 1995. Suh was the highest selected Cornhusker defender since Neil Smith in 1988.
Suh has been criticized in the media and by other players for his aggressive style of play and has been fined a total of $216,875 by the league for four violations in the first four years in his career. In a poll of fellow players conducted by the Sporting News, Suh was named “the dirtiest player” in the NFL.As of December 2011, he had been flagged for nine personal fouls in his first two years, the most of any player in the league in that time frame. He was named the NFL’s “Least-Liked Player” in a Forbes-publicized Nielsen report in October 2012.
No matter what you think about Suh’s style of play, at his current rate, he will be third in sacks for the Lions all time in another six years. That is of course if he can get another deal done in Detroit. 2014 is a contract year for Suh.