Detroit Lions: 30 greatest players in franchise history

Detroit Lions. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions
DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 07:  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Defensive Tackle. (2010-2014). Ndamukong Suh. 21. player. 50.

Ndamukong Suh hasn’t exactly inspired any sentimentality from Lions fans since his free agency departure from the franchise before the start of the 2015 season. Even as he continues to move further and further away from his time spent as a Lion, I still find myself hesitant to recognize him for his exploits in Detroit.

Despite playing in 78 games over five dominant seasons, Suh just never really struck me as a player that fans could truly embrace as a face of the team. Still though, regardless of my reluctance, you cannot deny that Suh was a major factor as a member of Detroit’s defensive front.

After being drafted No. 2 overall from the University of Nebraska, Suh wasted little time, as he hit the ground running during his rookie year of 2010. He started in 16 games that season, accumulating 65 total tackles, 17 quarterback hits, 10 sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one touchdown. His double-digit sack total as a rookie lead his entire position group in that category and Suh was a runaway favorite as he won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

During his time in Detroit, Suh made the Pro Bowl in each year except for one. 2011 was his single non-Pro Bowl year. He was a three-time All-Pro with the Lions in five seasons. For all the success that he had on the field, Ndamukong could also be just as detrimental during games with ill-timed penalties, boneheaded personal fouls and several league fines.

Doug English and Jerry Ball were two other Pro Bowl defensive tackles for the Lions who left the franchise prior to turning 30. For the betterment of all involved, it is probably for the best that Suh left town when he did, despite his talents as a defender.