A key member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense since 2019, Suh hasn’t missed a regular-season game since 2011. Despite his age, Suh’s play has remained pretty consistent and is still a disruptive force. However, the Bucs went in a different direction this offseason, and now Suh finds himself looking for a suitor. He made it known today that he still wants to play, but as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, it won’t be in Tampa Bay.
Would the Raiders be the next stop in Suh’s career? He mentioned on NFL Live that he’s been in contact with a couple of Raiders players, particularly Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones. When pressed on the issue, Suh made it clear that the Raiders are definitely the fit, which no doubt has sent Raider Nation into a frenzy knowing he thinks highly of their team.
Is Ndamukong Suh a fit with the Las Vegas Raiders?
The Raiders lack a pass rush inside
As it stands, the Raiders don’t have a player inside who’s a proven pass rusher. Johnathan Hankins is one of the NFL’s most consistent run stoppers, and his services have been retained this offseason. However, there isn’t much depth behind him that’s a proven commodity. Between Hankins and Vernon Butler, the two managed zero sacks last season. Yes, the team has rookies Neil Farrell and Matthew Butler being groomed, but their inexperience should be a concern at the moment.
By comparison, Suh played 717 snaps on defense last season. He accumulated 12 tackles for a loss and landed 13 QB hits. As far as sacks go, Suh recorded six. If you look at his entire run with the Bucs, there wasn’t much of a drop-off in quality of play. The only exception is in 2019 when he only amassed two and a half sacks. He made good on that total, however, in the next two seasons (2020 and 2021), by posting 12 sacks. The days of being an All-Pro are behind him, but Suh is certainly a short-term upgrade over what the Raiders have.
Ndamukong Suh is a fit in Patrick Graham’s defense
Not only does Suh have the production to become an instant starter, but he fits with what Patrick Graham wants to do. The Raiders’ defensive coordinator’s scheme is multi-layered and versatile. In other words, he needs players who can play multiple positions, and Suh can do that. He can play inside, taking one of the tackle spots, or play as a defensive end, depending on the alignment.
The Bucs debuted this look from their front seven and used it three times vs. Dallas on TNF. The results were a false start, an incompletion (sent 5 guys), and one completed pass (sent all 7 guys) with Dak getting absolutely rocked by Ndamukong Suh. #Bucsfilm2021wk1 pic.twitter.com/GySLwyYucV
— Commissioner Cheah (@StevenCheah) September 13, 2021
Last year, as the New York Giants’ defensive coordinator, Graham had Austin Johnson playing inside. He compares to Suh physically; they’re both six-foot-four and about 310-plus pounds. Johnson recorded three and a half sacks with the Giants and was a disruptive force inside. Raiders fans should envision a similar impact from Suh. Line him up inside and let him maul offensive lines.
Austin Johnson gets his 3rd sack of the season for the Giants pic.twitter.com/cehQGCLYvi
— Bobby Skinner (@BobbySkinner_) October 10, 2021
Both can physically overpower linemen and have enough lateral movement to disrupt the pocket. Rumors are likely to heat up, and we may see a deal for Suh in July once NFL training camps begin, whether it’s with the Raiders or not is up to Dave Ziegler.
*Top Photo: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images