McCoy vs. Suh is great debate

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

The only thing likely stopping Oklahoma products from going 1-2 in Thursday's NFL Draft is a rather large fellow named Ndamukong Suh.

Though hard to pronounce (it's en-DOM-uh-ken), very soon, Suh's will be a household name.

Suh is regarded as one of the best defensive prospects the NFL has seen in a decade.

He's so impressive, the St. Louis Rams have thought long and hard about passing on star Sooners quarterback Sam Bradford to select him.

More likely, the especially awful Detroit Lions will get a stud to build around, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, picking third, will finally replace Warren Sapp with Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy.

There won't be much complaining from any of the three teams leading off the 75th edition of the draft. This is one of the most top-heavy drafts in years.

Suh might be a great prospect, but McCoy, also 6-foot-4, 300-ish pounds is just inches behind.

McCoy's numbers are far inferior to Suh's (84 tackles and 12 sacks to 34 and 6), but he's also a year younger and the stats compare much more favourably if you put the junior season of each player side-by-side.

Both are ridiculous athletes, considering their size.

The Lions appear to favour Suh slightly because he does the things they are looking for better than McCoy.

McCoy is quicker, but Suh, at least at this point, has a sizable edge strength-wise and fought off more double-teams than McCoy in college.

While McCoy is considered marginally better as a pass-rusher and is solid defending the run, some scouts predict Suh will be a top-five run-stuffer from the moment he steps onto an NFL field.

Texas Tech guard Brandon Carter, who has faced both, summed them up to the Detroit Free Press as follows: "Suh was the most dominant player in college football," Carter said.

"McCoy has great ball get-off. He's really great with his hands.

"Suh, he's more of a strength guy. He can move an offensive lineman however he wants.

"If you really need a run defender, definitely go with Suh. But if you're a really heavy pass-rush team, McCoy is great at that, too."

While McCoy was only average in pre-draft bench-pressing drills, Suh dominated and jumped 35 inches, the most by a defensive tackle since 2000.

Suh was a Heisman finalist and won the Outland, Bednarik, Nagurski and Associated Press Player of the Year awards. Suh is the first defensive player ever to win the AP award.

Noted ESPN draft pundit Mel Kiper Jr. called Suh: "Maybe the most dominating defensive tackle I've seen in 32 years" and said the Rams should select him first overall.

All that said, make no mistake, McCoy is no slouch. He'd be a fine top pick in many drafts and might even project to be better than Suh in a 4-3 system.

As well, due to the injury histories of both Bradford (shoulder) and Suh (redshirt freshman due to knee troubles) McCoy has the cleanest bill of health of the three.

'WORK ETHIC'

"I have a strong work ethic," McCoy told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"I try to outwork the opponent that I'm going against. The thing with me is I hate giving the person I'm going against an opportunity to say, 'I won.' "

Character flaws won't prove the difference either.

Both Suh and McCoy passed all of the personality tests with flying colours. Suh recently pledged $2.6 million US to his alma mater, Nebraska -- before even signing a contract. Nobody can remember that happening before.

"I didn't feel like I had to, but I definitely wanted to give back to the university that gave me so much," Suh said at the time.

McCoy was president of Oklahoma's Christian Leadership Council.

Suh's parents required the Portland, Oregon native to post a 3.0 grade point average before allowing him to play football and he responded by graduating with a degree in construction management from Nebraska's College of Engineering.

Now Suh, like McCoy, will try to engineer the turnaround of a floundering NFL franchise.


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