Oh agents, why do you always insist on preventing your marquee rookies from getting into camp on time?
Here we are just a few days (hours, really) before NFL Training Camps open all over the country. The number one overall pick has not yet signed, so the market in many ways has not been set.
But that is something that agents care about a lot more than players. For example, Ndamukong Suh has made it clear that he is excited and ready to get started with his new team, the Detroit Lions. But, his agents – Roosevelt Barnes and Eugene Parker – are preventing Suh from acting on his excitement. In fact, these are the same two agents that insisted on getting Michael Crabtree top five money for a tenth overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers last season. Who knows what the future holds, and how quickly Suh can get into camp?
The good thing about Ndamukong Suh, however, is that it likely won’t matter if he holds out or the length a hold out may be. Suh’s primary assets – size and strength – will still be raring to go when he gets to camp. In fact, nothing – not even an ill-timed, obviously frustrating hold out – will prevent Suh from being the number one most impactful rookie of the 2010 NFL season.
Two primary elements go into making an impact during the rookie season.
The first requirement for good impact conditions is being on a lousy team. Suh has that covered in spades since he was drafted by the Detroit Lions. The Lions suck. We all know that, and it is okay to say it out loud. But Suh’s presence in the middle of the defensive line with be an immediate positive influence on the run defense. The Lions run defense gave up 126.6 yards on the ground last season. Suh will not fix all of the team’s run defense problems, but he will do an excellent job clogging up the middle and shedding blockers. A good defense in the NFL is built from the inside out, and Suh creates a lot of good will and reason for positivity for the future of the Lions defense.
The second requirement necessary for an impactful rookie season is crazy gobs of talent, something that Suh has a boatload of. For proof, check out his very impressive college stats. He improved on tackles every season he played college football, and he consistently improved in the sack department, netting an impressive 12 in his senior season. He also has four career interceptions, which is basically unfair.
Now, my colleagues are going to argue in favor of Dallas rookie Dez Bryant (who, to his credit, is already in camp) and Oakland linebacker Rolando McClain. McClain, however, is only a story in the stat line after a game if guys like Suh do their thankless jobs very well. McClain will be a good player, but he won’t radically alter the trajectory of a defensive unit like Suh will.
Bryant I have already questioned in past arguments on this Web site. His strange behavior and rustiness coming off of a season where he earned an NCAA suspension make me suspicious of how impactful he’ll be immediately. He is already ruffling feathers by refusing to do what most rookies do and carry the pads of veteran players… like Roy Williams who he is engaged in an informal position battle against.
Only one player from the 2010 NFL rookie class is qualified to immediately start and make an immediate difference on the first game of the season. That player is Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.