Buccaneers sign Ndamukong Suh

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Buccaneers sign Ndamukong Suh

Wed May 22, 2019 8:16 am

The 2010 NFL Draft comes full circle for the Buccaneers with the Ndamukong Suh signing
Many things have changed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the last nine years. They’re on a fifth head coach since then, and their entire 2010 draft class is gone now after the decision to release Gerald McCoy.

McCoy, 31, made six Pro Bowls in his time with the team and lived up to his status as the No. 3 overall pick in his draft class. But he was eager to join a playoff contender and avoid living through another rebuild of the Buccaneers defense. So the defensive tackle and the Buccaneers “mutually agreed” that it was time for the team to part ways with McCoy and his $13 million cap hit.

The Bucs’ replacement is the player who was taken one pick ahead of McCoy in the 2010 NFL Draft: Ndamukong Suh.

Once upon a time, Suh and McCoy were the clear-cut top defensive prospects in the NFL Draft. The St. Louis Rams were locked in on using the No. 1 pick to take Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Sam Bradford, leaving the Detroit Lions the option to take Suh or McCoy at No. 2 — one pick ahead of the Buccaneers.

“You could flip a coin on these two based on how they played and how they transitioned character-wise,” ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. said of the two defensive tackles in an April 2010 conference call. “Everyone raves about Suh and McCoy ... the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will just sit there and take which one is left.”

The Lions picked Suh, the player most considered the better of the two. That left McCoy for the Buccaneers, who swore they were hoping the dominoes would fall the way they did.

“This is exactly who we wanted,” then-Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris said of McCoy. “This is exactly who we went out to get and we got him. He’s a perfect fit for what we do.”

Only those in the Buccaneers’ war room nine years ago know if that was the truth. But nearly a decade later, Tampa Bay is filling McCoy’s shoes with the player they almost certainly would’ve picked if the Lions made a different choice. A player who has had a remarkably similar career — at least, statistically — as McCoy.
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