Buccaneers: Defensive leader emerging as realistic Hall of Fame candidate

Ndamukong Suh, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Ndamukong Suh, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Ndamukong Suh is building some serious steam in the Hall of Fame race with his time on the Buccaneers.

Looking at the past few seasons, the Buccaneers are known for the incredible talent they have acquired. If you told someone five years ago that Tampa would have all of these superstars at the same time, they likely would’ve laughed in your face.

Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, and Leonard Fournette are a great place to start with the audacity of these moves, and Ndamukong Suh is one of these players who slips through the cracks sometimes when fans wonder how Tampa was able to compile so much talent.

Suh arrived in Tampa with a bit of a polarizing image. The talent was certainly there, but bouncing around the league and a few poorly-received penalties on the field made it hard for a singular fanbase to galvanize around one of the best defensive linemen in the league during the 2010s.

To make matters worse, whether you loved or hated Gerald McCoy, wearing number 93 in Tampa brought some expectations, and it is tough to play under constant comparison to another player.

Regardless of the tough initial circumstances, Suh has completely reshaped his image and is emerging as a fan favorite in Tampa, a leader, and a future Hall of Famer.

Just look at how the defense changed when he arrived. This wasn’t entirely due to one player arriving, but Suh brings an aura of leadership the bleeds off into the rest of the team, which certainly didn’t hurt.

To add to his impressive resume, Suh hasn’t slowed down in Tampa, despite being 34. Being able to play at a high level over 12 years (with a few more clearly left in the tank), Suh will hit the numbers side of the HOF argument easily, especially when considering Tampa’s overall dominance against the run during Suh’s tenure, which doesn’t show up in his stats.

When you also add in several Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections and a Super Bowl ring, the resume is nearly perfect for garnering some votes for the Hall of Fame when the time comes. This will also only become even more likely if Tampa can repeat in the big game this year or next.

While the individual accolades are not the main focus for the Buccaneers right now, it is still nice to have players that will get their recognition down the road as it only furthers the legacy of the franchise.

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