The Ndamukong Suh Draft Dilemma


Husker DT Ndamukong Suh’s decision to either return for his senior season or leave for the NFL is not going to be an easy one. His decision will likely not be based much at all – if any – on how much he enjoys the college game but rather on dollars and cents. Recently, Suh was projected as high as 25th overall by NFLDraftDog.com and 31st overall by ESPN’s Scouts Inc. and Todd McShay.

The dilemma Suh faces is if he can improve his draft status by returning to school for one more year. Currently, Alabama’s Terrence Cody (junior), Boston College’s B.J. Raji (senior), Ole Miss’ Peria Jerry (senior), and Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy (RS sophomore) are the defensive tackles that are listed around or ahead of Suh in most projections for the 2009 draft. Gerald McCoy has yet to declare but he is currently listed as the top defensive tackle and near the Top 10 overall. Terrence Cody never filed his NFL paperwork.

If McCoy leaves, that would tentatively leave Cody and Suh as the top two returning defensive tackles in college next year. Assuming both would have equal if not more successful seasons than they did in 2008, their draft status will certainly shoot up the board. And if Terrence Cody does decide to leave along with Gerald McCoy, then Suh would have a great opportunity to be the first defensive tackle taken in the 2010 draft.

How much of a difference does it make if you are drafted early first-round or late first-round you ask? Let’s do some math.

2008 NFL Draft – Defensive Tackles

Glenn Dorsey (DT) – 5th overall pick by the Kansas City Chiefs. He signed a five-year, $51 million contract with $23 million guaranteed.

Sedrick Ellis (DT) – 7th overall pick by the New Orleans Saints. He signed a five-year, $33.5 million contract with $19.5 million guaranteed. Another $15.5 million is available through incentives.

Kentwan Balmer (DT) – 29th overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers. He signed a five-year, $11.5 million contract with $6 million guaranteed.

Jason Jones (DT) – 54th overall pick by the Tennessee Titans. He signed a four-year, $3.21 million contract with a $1.505 million signing bonus.

Pat Sims (DT) – 77th overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals. He signed a four-year, $2.473 million contract which included a $768,200 signing bonus.

Glenn Dorsey and Kentwan Balmer were both first round draft picks. In fact, they were only separated by 24 picks. Big discrepancy.

  • 24 picks = a $39.5 million dollar contract difference.
  • 24 picks = a $17 million dollar difference in guaranteed money.

If Suh does decide to forgo his senior season, he will more than likely be looking at a contract in the ballpark of $12+ million dollars with around $6+ million of that guaranteed. If Suh does decide to return for his senior season and can produce equal to or better than his 2008 season without getting injured, he will more than likely be looking at a contract in the ballpark of $45+ million dollars with around $20+ million of that guaranteed – at least.

Although that’s a very rough estimate and although many things can change, Suh has quite the decision to make. Either way, it’s good to be Ndamukong Suh right about now.

To invest or not to invest? THAT is the question.

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