On the Official NN User Mock Draft Thread I made the comment the Lions and Bucs would both pick McCoy over Suh. I'd like to elaborate on that comment than speculate on how this twist could dramatically change the NFL draft.Why the Lions and Bucs would prefer McCoy over Suh?
The preference of McCoy over Suh really comes down to defensive theory. Both the Lions and Bucs run a 4-3 defense. The premium trait for a 4-3 defensive tackle (DT) is the ability to rush the passer. Gerald McCoy is perceived to be the better pass rusher, in fact when I read analysis he's graded out to be an elite pass rusher and often compared to Tommy Harris at his position.
Suh on other hand is perceived is as the run stopper but not in the class of McCoy when it comes to getting up the field and disrupting the pass. Although Suh is perceived to soon be a dominate football player, his stoutness against the run isn't as sexy for a 4-3 defense. A 4-3 defense is already suppose to be stout up front against run. After all that is point of having four defensive linemen on the field, that is the underlying theory of the defense . . . again the theory.
This nugget of defensive theory is why you see guys like Mike Mayock rate McCoy over Suh. With the advent of the Rams needing a Franchise QB over BPA (lets hope) I am seeing more mocks where McCoy is preferred the pick.
When Ndamukong Suh drops to #3
If Suh drops to #3 and McCoy is off the board the Bus are serious about shopping the pick while the draft clock is running down. The Bucs want McCoy, will be happy to settle for Suh but probably prefer trading for multiple top draft picks. I've been thinking about this scenario and I can imagine two teams giving the Bucs a phone call: Patriots and 49ers.
Ndamukong Suh might not be the sexier pick for a 4-3 defense but could go on to dominate the next decade in a 3-4 defense. He is almost the ideal DT in the 3-4 defense. In college he dominated at the point of attack not giving an inch of space, even when double teamed. In the 3-4 defense a DT's pass rush ability is the secondary skill set. Watching Suh, he might not be the 1st to the QB but if the 1st defender missed the sack Suh was always the 2nd defender on the spot to clean up the play. If the OLB can force the QB to pause or step up in the pocket, he is going to be eaten by Suh.
I don't know if the expression has been coined before, but there is such a thing as a franchise defensive linemen. Sometimes that defensive linemen is a defensive end, sometimes a defensive tackle. Like a franchise QB, that defensive linemen is a perennial Pro Bowl player and gives his team a huge opening advantage. Why do you think these guys are drafted so high year after year? Every team is hoping for the next Reggie White, Michael Strahan, Warren Sapp, Joe Green, Merlin Olsen, etc. to anchor their defense. The 49ers have even had a few of these players: Bryant Young, Charles Haley and Fred Dean.
Why the Patriots: First and foremost the Patriots have plenty of picks to package. They have a collection of 2nd round picks, a not so late 1st round pick, not to mention two 1st round picks next season thanks the Raiders. They could offer multiple packages to the Bucs.
Why would Belichick want Suh? With Richard Seymour gone a dominant player is a real need. That defense has lots of young starters but no great player for Belichick to carry into the next decade. The Patriots have needs but probably have more picks than they need. They could trade up to get Suh and still have enough picks left over.
Why the 49ers: This franchise has seeming had a draft day fetish with defensive tackles. In 2007 Adam Carriker was their 2nd choice, in 2008 they drafted Kentwan Balmer, in 2009 they made enough stink and groans inside the War Room about the Chiefs drafting Tyson Jackson you'd have to believe he was their targeted pick before the draft shook out in an unexpected way.
I do sorta understand the 49ers desire. Justin Smith is a 9 year veteran and it's never to earlier to think of an heir apparent at this position. After all, most of the time a franchise needs a Top 5 draft pick to get a shot a defensive tackle of that caliber and the 49ers trajectory indicates they won't have a Top 5 pick for a couple of years. At that point the 49ers have rely on free agency or hope a handful of teams miss on picking a DT and the good one drops into their lap.
Examining the old draft chart, picks #13 and #17 just about equate to the #3 pick so the 49ers could definitly make the Bucs an enticing offer. Haralson, Lawson and Brooks would certainly be more effective off the edge with Smith and Suh grappling with the offense. Personally I will take one Suh over any combination of Spiller (small-part time RB), Haden (slow CB), Williams (RT, maybe), Mays (combine performer) or Iupati (a guard). I know a lot of fans are hoping these picks can address the remainder of team needs but if the 49ers choose this direction I wouldn't toss a shoe through my TV.
BTW, I double spaced after periods . . . grow up and deal with it.