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    Is Ndamukong Suh a Hall of Famer?

    Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will be gunning for his second Super Bowl trophy on Sunday. Has he done enough to earn a Hall of Fame bust?

    In need of run support at midseason, the Philadelphia Eagles signed Ndamukong Suh on a Thursday and inserted him into their lineup the following Sunday. Now, he’s set to compete for his second Lombardi trophy in three chances when the Eagles face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 57. As he wraps up his 13th NFL season, has Suh done enough to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he retires?

    Ndamukong Suh’s Hall of Fame Chances

    During his time at the University of Nebraska, Suh was one of the most highly-recognized players in college football history. He won nearly every honor given to the nation’s best defensive players, and he remains the only defensive player to even secure the Associated Press College Football Player of the Year Award.

    Selected second overall in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions, Suh was dominant from the get-go. He posted 10 sacks — still his career high — in his rookie campaign, won Defensive Rookie of the Year, and earned a first-team All-Pro berth.

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    Suh eventually claimed three more All-Pro nods with the Lions (two first-team) before joining the Miami Dolphins in 2015, with whom he made another All-Pro team in 2016.

    Since then, Suh has become something of a journeyman. He spent one season with the Los Angeles Rams, appearing in his first Super Bowl after the 2018 season. Suh then signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019 and won a ring with Tom Brady in 2020.

    How Suh Stacks Up Against HOF Defensive Tackles

    Suh has been a dominant force during his era, but it’s important to look at how he measures up against the crop of defensive tackles already in the Hall of Fame.

    Interior defensive linemen can be tough to evaluate, especially historically, because their goal isn’t always to post staggering statistical performances. Sure, some DTs are known for shooting gaps and generating pressure and sacks, but others may have had different roles and assignments depending on their team and scheme.

    One way to assess potential HOF candidacy is to use Pro Football Reference’s Hall of Fame Monitor. Similar to Jay Jaffe’s JAWS system for the Baseball Hall of Fame, the PFR monitor uses statistics, metrics, and rankings to compare players to others at their position and determine whether they’re worthy of Canton.

    The foundation of PFR’s monitor is Approximate Value, a metric developed by Doug Drinen that serves as a catch-all for quantifying player value. The entire methodology can be found here — it assigns credit for both team-level and individual statistical performances while also giving credit for year-end awards. From there, the monitor adds additional bonuses based on positional criteria and creates a final Hall of Fame “score.”

    The average Hall of Fame defensive tackle has a rating of 110 in PFR’s system. Eight DTs have topped that mark in league history, with Bob Lilly leading the way at 159.35. Seven of the eight are already in the Hall of Fame, and Aaron Donald (currently second on the list) will get there eventually.

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    Suh isn’t quite in that range, as his Hall of Fame score sits at 85.8. With only 71.5 sacks under his belt, Suh isn’t at the same level as Alan Page, John Randle, Randy White, and Donald, all of whom have topped 100 QB takedowns. He also hasn’t earned as many All-Pros or Pro Bowls as the top-line defensive tackles.

    However, Suh has played in a ton of games. He’s made 191 starts in the NFL, 10th all-time among DTs. On top of that, Suh was consistently on the field more than most other defensive tackles.

    He managed a snap rate above 84% in each of his first seven seasons and remained above 70% through his age-33 campaign. That’s an astounding number of plays for an athlete listed at 313 pounds.

    Suh was also a member of the NFL’s 2010s All-Decade Team. Players who earn an All-Decade honor are typically on the shortlist for the Hall of Fame, and Suh earned another boost in the PFR monitor by making that team, too. Winning a second Super Bowl on Sunday could also help his chances of grabbing a gold jacket.

    Suh is currently sandwiched in the PFR monitor rankings by Cortez Kennedy, Henry Jordan, and Alex Karras, all of whom are already in the Hall of Fame. Former Minnesota Viking Kevin Williams is the only eligible defensive tackle who ranks above Suh and isn’t yet in Canton.

    Why Suh Might Have to Wait to Get into the Hall of Fame

    Suh has the production and the hardware to get into the Hall of Fame, but there are a few reasons why he might not make it on the first ballot.

    First, the Hall of Fame could have a logjam. Each year, the HOF only allows a maximum of eight new members into Canton, leaving plenty of worthy résumés on the outside looking in.

    That problem could become even more magnified in a few years. If Suh retires after the Super Bowl, he’ll be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2028 — the same year as Tom Brady, J.J. Watt, and A.J. Green, all of whom just hung up their cleats.

    There’s an outside chance that surefire HOFers like Aaron Rodgers and Donald could join them and clog even more spots.

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    Second, the Hall of Fame doesn’t elect all that many defensive tackles. Only three DTs — Kennedy, Randle, and Warren Sapp — who played after 2000 have been inducted into the HOF. Sapp was the only one who registered a snap after 2005.

    Suh has a better chance at the Hall of Fame than other eligible tackles such as La’Roi Glover, Clyde Simmons, Casey Hampton, and Vince Wilfork, but he’ll have to compete with Williams, who arguably has a stronger track record.

    Finally, Suh, at one point, had a reputation as a dirty player. He infamously stomped on Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith’s head in 2011, received a $100,000 fine in 2013 for a low block on Vikings center John Sullivan, and has been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct on numerous occasions.

    We haven’t seen that type of behavior from Suh in recent seasons, but it’s difficult to erase the memories. Hall of Fame voters could punish Suh for his early-career transgressions by forcing him to wait for a gold jacket.

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