It’s hard to miss Ndamukong Suh when he walks into a room.
The new Rams defensive tackle is an imposing figure, standing at 6-foot-4 and weighing just over 300 pounds.
That’s even when he’s out of his jersey and pads and in a suit and tie as he was for Friday’s introductory press conference.
“He is a sharply dressed fellow today,” head coach Sean McVay remarked as the presser began.
But clearly Los Angeles has gained more than just Suh’s size and stature. As McVay noted, Suh’s career has displayed the epitome of durability. He’s been eligible for 126 games and started each one.
And Suh’s performance has befitted someone who entered the league as a No. 2 overall pick, having amassed 51.5 sacks, five Pro Bowl seasons, and three first-team All-Pro honors.
Now, he’s come to Los Angeles with the goal of helping the Rams to their ultimate goal.
“Being able to add a player of [Suh’s] caliber is something we feel really good about,” McVay said. “We feel like from visiting with him, and then, obviously, you just look at the production as a player, getting to know the person, we feel like this is going to be a really good match.”
“Definitely excited about the opportunities here,” Suh said. “Really, really fortunate just looking at the overall scheme. I think everybody looks at everything on paper, and I would say we’re in pretty good shape on paper. But we have a lot of things to prove.”
The Rams clearly weren’t the only team vying for Suh’s services in 2018, but the defensive lineman said he chose Los Angeles in part because of the comfort level he felt on his visit. He said getting to know the coaching staff a bit was helpful in making what was not necessarily an easy decision.
“Being able to be fortunate enough to watch film with the coaches on my visit was important for me — each place I took a visit to — to watch film and talk to the coaches and see how they seem me fitting in,” Suh said.
“When he came in, [he was] very thorough,” McVay said. “He asked great questions. You could see that he’d done his homework on the people in the building, the system. He was familiar with some of the things that [defensive coordinator] Wade [Phillips] and our coaching staff on defense had done, wanted to see kind of what we envisioned for him as for what his role is.”
And even though Suh hasn’t known McVay for long, he picked up on a few things about him right away.
“Really just being able to meet with him and sit down with him face-to-face, have dinner and talk — he’s a genuine, transparent human being,” Suh said. “And that’s what I love — no matter who you are, but especially as a football coach.”
Check out photos of Ndamukong Suh being introduced as the newest member of the Los Angeles Rams.
Much has been made of the Suh pairing with 2017 AP Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald to form a dominant defensive front. Suh said that playing with Donald — and fellow lineman Michael Brockers — wasn’t necessarily a determining factor, but it was a plus. Now, Suh has to get to know all of them and figure out each other’s on-field tendencies.
“First and foremost it’s going to start in OTAs and practices — understanding how [Donald] likes to rush, how I like to rush, how we play the run together,” Suh said. “And that’s when it’ll all unfold from there, to see how we’ll mesh together. And I think it’ll be an exciting time and process to get through that.”
McVay has said — and reiterated on Friday — that Suh will likely begin as Los Angeles’ nose tackle in the team’s base defense. But, as with any new player, things could change as the coaching staff gets more familiar with Suh and his performance.
“We feel like there’s a starting point, but when you have good players, like we’ve mentioned, who have some position flex — if there’s one thing that coach Wade and [defensive line coach Bill] Johnson and our defensive staff do an excellent job of, it’s finding a way to put our players in good spots and get those matchups that we want across the board,” McVay said. “And specific to the pass rush, now being able to add a player of his caliber, in addition to some of the other guys we already have on board, it’s an exciting challenge for us as coaches.”
And going into his ninth season as a pro, Suh feels he can line up anywhere on the defensive line and be effective.
“I started out playing defensive end in high school,” Suh said. “Moving into college, I played a lot of three-technique, two-technique, played some shade as well. And over the last five years or so between Miami and Detroit, to get me out of double teams and kind of being in the trash, I’ve played every single position — every single technique that’s really possible. And sometimes, we even created our own.”
Suh signed a one-year contract with the Rams, which he sees as a chance to prove himself.
“I think the overall goal is to focus on this particular year, which is the most important thing in front of us,” Suh said. “And they had a very successful year last year in the regular season. And I believe I can be of help to get them over some of the humps. But at the end of the day, it’s all of us as a unit that have to get that done — from offense, defense, special teams, and really going from there.”
Playing alongside Donald and Brockers with Phillips as defensive coordinator, Suh should receive plenty of chances to make an impact in L.A.