10 QUESTIONS WITH TWENTYMAN: What is going on with Ndamukong Suh?

Posted May 1, 2014

Senior writer Tim Twentyman answers questions from his Twitter (@ttwentyman) account on DT Ndamukong Suh, the NFL Draft and QB Matthew Stafford.

From time to time this offseason I plan to answer 10 good questions I receive through my Twitter account @ttwentyman in a feature we call "10 Questions with Twentyman."

What is going on with Suh? Will he be signing or is he leaving? Kayle Johnson (@KayleJohnson5)

20man: I still believe a deal with the Lions will eventually get done. I keep reminding everyone that the team and quarterback Matthew Stafford were in the same situation last year and Stafford eventually signed his $53 million extension in July before training camp. I could see a similar situation with Suh.

The Lions are likely to make him the richest defensive tackle in the history of football and those kinds of deals take time.

Stafford wanted to be here, we all knew a deal would get done to lower his cap number, but it still took until July to hash out the details.

The only thing that affects that timeline is if Suh’s demands are too great, he or his agent Jimmy Sexton won’t budge and negotiations become one-sided. Look, we’re not talking about a quarterback here. Suh is a dominant defensive player that affects the game in a huge way, but lets not forget he’s a defensive tackle.

If the Lions don’t think they’ll be able to sign him to an extension they’d be wise to at least consider a trade – even with their win-now mentality – so as to not let him walk after the season for nothing in return.

How about moving Suh to DE? Then his salary makes more sense and he has the build and style of a Reggie White type player too! Detroit Koolaid (@detroit_koolaid)

20man: Unfortunately, Suh’s game is predicated more on power than it is on speed. Reggie White was 6-foot-5, 300 pounds (285 as rookie) and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds, according to the Packers website. He had a rare blend of speed and power, which is why he has a statue in Canton, Ohio.

Suh doesn’t possess the speed to be a consistent edge rusher. He ran the 40-yard dash in 5.09 at the Combine. He’s a push and power player on the inside. He’s a player best used to collapse the pocket, not rush from the edge. The Lions let him do it in certain situations, which is a nice curveball to throw at offenses, but he wouldn’t excel there full-time.

What is the Lions most likely 1st round draft spot: Before pick #10, pick #10, or after pick #10? Ryan Patterson (@RW_Patterson)

20man: It’s a week before the Lions select in the first round and I continue to get the feeling Lions fans won’t be hearing a name called by the Lions at No. 10.

If the price is right, I can see general manager Martin Mayhew trying to move up for an elite player – who I list as Jadeveon Clowney, Sammy Watkins or Khalil Mack.

If the price to move up for one of those players is too steep, however, Mayhew isn’t going to overpay, even in a win-now situation. If it costs too much to go up, I could see the Lions trying to move back a few spots and acquire an extra pick.

After the seven or so “elite” players at the top, there are about seven or eight players I expect will have pretty similar grades when it’s all said and done.

Cornerback Justin Gilbert, receiver Odell Beckham Jr., safety Ha Ha Clinton Dix, defensive tackle Aaron Donald and tight end Eric Ebron are all players likely to have similar grades on teams’ draft boards. If the Lions move back a few spots they can still get one of those players and get an extra pick.

If receiver Mike Evans is still on board at No. 10 they could make the pick, but I suspect it’s either forward or back.

The best scenario for the Lions to move back is the quarterbacks or tackles fall and a team behind them wants in.

With Suh and Fairley's futures uncertain, do you see any of the early round draft picks being used on a DT? Dylan Stenger (@stenger360)

20man: Suh, Fairley and C.J. Mosley are all potentially in the last year of their respective deals.

Like I mentioned above, Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald could be an interesting pick anywhere from No. 10-15. He has the speed and quickness to be a versatile player both inside and outside.

After Donald, players like Minnesota’s Ra’Shede Hageman, Florida State’s Tim Jernigan and Louis Nix III from Notre Dame could be potential second-round picks.

I’d expect the Lions to select a defensive tackle at some point in this draft.

I'm convinced DET has all of its starters but still need another x-factor. What position do we need it the most? Any favorites? Blake Dowsett (@BlakeDowsett42)

20man: The Lions do have most of their starters in place, but no position is set in stone if a more talented player is added. That’s just life in the NFL.

That being said, I think the one position the Lions are really on the lookout for is a versatile linebacker/defensive end-type player. A player defensive coordinator Teryl Austin can move around and do different things with. A player who can drop in coverage, play the run and rush the quarterback.

Khalil Mack is that prototypical player in this draft, but a guy like BYU’s Kyle Van Noy and others could fit the role later on in the draft. That’s the one piece missing from the defense, in my opinion.

Mock drafts have us taking Ebron? Does this make sense at all? I don't understand with all the TEs we have, why would we draft 1? Kyle Strunk (@KyleStrunk)

Eric EbronTE Eric Ebron (Photo: AP Images)

20man: Like I mentioned in the previous answer, Kyle, no job is ever safe in this league if the team thinks another player offers a significant upgrade.

Ebron is a special talent, no doubt, a terrific blend of size and speed. I guess I’d look at it this way, Ebron is versatile enough to stand up and play in the slot. How is drafting him any different than drafting a slot receiver? He also gives a team some in-line options.

I think Ebron is a little bit of a stretch at No. 10, but like I talked about earlier, if the Lions move back a little bit, his value increases substantially. Pettigrew is a terrific all-around tight end and the Lions think they have something special in Fauria, but he still has to prove that.

Ebron would be another versatile weapon for offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.

If we go defense with our first pick would you rather see us take an olb or cb? Scott Sandles (@scottsandles)

20man: I’ve made my opinions about drafting a cornerback early in the draft very clear in the past. I just think there are so many question marks with cornerbacks a lot of times. The adjustment from the college game to the NFL for that position is probably the second hardest behind the quarterback position. The speed of the game is so different.

Unless there’s a can’t-miss talent like Arizona’s Patrick Peterson was a few years ago, it’s risky to take a cornerback in the top 10.

Cornerbacks usually need a little time to develop and that doesn’t line up with the win-now mentality for Detroit, unless they view it as a significant upgrade in talent. The Lions have drafted four cornerbacks the last two years. They now have some experience under their belts and are entering a new defense. Let’s see what they got.

To answer your question, I’d much rather the Lions take a linebacker over a cornerback in the top portion of the draft.

Tim, what are your feelings on drafting back a few spots and grabbing a guy like (Marqise) Lee out of USC? C.J. Eckman (@eckman44)

20man: Well, C.J., if I’m trading back a few spots and Odell Beckham Jr. is still on the board. I’d prefer him to Lee.

I talked to Lee when he came in for a pre-draft visit, and I think he’s a great young man and a fine player, but I like the route running, speed and versatility Beckham provides a little better.

Is Stafford mature enough to take criticism, improve his game, and be a better QB? He hasn't so far. Joel (@joeljarvi)

20man: Stafford knows he didn’t play good enough down the stretch. He’ll be the first one to admit it. He has, in fact.

He’s also a guy, if you’ve ever talked to him, who constantly talks about wanting to get better, and then shows it with his work ethic. He takes a lot of criticism for not working with a “quarterback guru.” Personally, I think all of that’s overblown.

All indications here in Allen Park are that Stafford is working very closely with Jim Caldwell, Lombardi, quarterbacks coach Jim Bob Cooter and backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky to learn the offense and improve his game.

Stafford is well aware the Lions can’t win without him playing well. He knows the pressure is on and I expect him to respond with a good season.

Is Reiff the left tackle of the future, or are Lions looking for an upgrade? How safe is Waddle at right tackle? John Ray Miller (@Ionianative1)

20man: The Lions are very happy with the way Reiff played left tackle in his first full season as a starter. Look no further than the fact the Lions gave up the second fewest sacks (23) allowed in the NFL last year. That’s facing the likes of Jared Allen, Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers twice a year, too.

If they choose to select a tackle next week, however, they do have the option to move Reiff to the right side and that’s probably an upgrade. It’s certainly not a necessity, rather a luxury.

I liked how Waddle played before the elbow injury, which limited him some. I also like Corey Hilliard. Nothing wrong with having a backup with starting experience who’ll fight Waddle tooth and nail for that job in training camp. Competition breeds success.