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When asked if Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata deserved to be in the conversation among the best at his position, longtime NFL Films veteran and producer of ESPN’s “NFL Matchup” Greg Cosell offered a simple answer.
“Without question,” he succinctly put it.
In a recent conversation with BaltimoreRavens.com, Cosell, who is known among league circles as an expert in analyzing game film, seemed astounded at what the 6-foot-4, 345-pound Ngata can do for the Ravens’ defense.
“He’s pretty much everything,” Cosell elaborated. “He’s a remarkable athlete for a man that big. There are times when they line him up as a standing linebacker and pass rusher.
“He’s powerful, he’s incredibly quick for a man that big. He’s just a great player.”
The Ravens have used Ngata’s tremendous skill set extensively. In the past, Ngata has dropped in coverage and rushed off the edge.
Of course, Ngata is also quite adept at plugging gaps in the middle, as well.
Last year was Ngata’s best as a professional. The 2006 first-round draft pick earned his second-consecutive Pro Bowl berth after leading the defensive line with 65 tackles, adding career highs in sacks (5 ½) and passes defensed (5).
It’s just another reason why the Ravens have said that re-signing Ngata to a long-term contract is an organizational priority. The team assigned the franchise tag to Ngata before the lockout with the intention of getting a deal done that will make him a Raven for life.
Cosell said Ngata will be key to the Ravens’ pass rush in 2011, as Baltimore is hoping someone steps up opposite sack leader Terrell Suggs (11).
“This is a defense that moves people around quite a bit,” Cosell said. “They scheme people and create matchup problems.
“Ngata is the biggest matchup nightmare. He’s arguably a top-15 player in the league, but if you’re just looking for a pure pass rusher, I don’t know if they have that on the roster.”