The Ravens have had quite a few special defensive linemen over the years, but none were quite as great as this guy, and almost certainly, none of them loved Royal Farms Chicken as much as he did.
For nine years, Haloti Ngata terrorized quarterbacks as a member of some great Baltimore defenses. He also terrorized boxes of delicious, affordable, and conveinent Royal Farms Chicken, and tormented an innocent couple as the sun.
However, in all seriousness, while Haloti is a great actor, he's a better football player. Haloti played a key role in many of the successful Ravens defenses of the past decade. His versatility and ability to play anywhere on the line made him very useful and valuable. His speed was also a very valuable trait, as he could explode off the line like no other for a guy his size. He also possessed immense strength, as he had a 495 lb bench press max, which ranks second all-time among Oregon Ducks football players. Haloti proved to be a mainstay for the defense, consistently delivering great numbers, while avoiding the spotlight. He managed to deliver these great stats over the course of his career in Baltimore.
He was also a five-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler. Ngata has been a very coveted player his whole career, as he was the No. 2 overall prospect in the nation out of high school. The Ravens front office liked him so much that they traded up one pick in the 2006 Draft to grab him from the Browns, who they feared may take him. Eric DeCosta, the then director of college scouting, and now Assistant GM, said this about Ngata.
"This is a big block of granite, a guy that's tough to move," said Eric DeCosta, the Ravens' director of college scouting. "I think he's going to pose nightmares for teams in our division trying to get him off the ball and trying to run the football."- Eric DeCosta
DeCosta nailed his assessment of Ngata, as he did exactly all of that and more. His aggressive rush defense and pass rush terrorized AFC North rivals for years. I guarantee you Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall remembers this hit well, or maybe he doesn't remember at all.
Sadly, Ngata's career in Baltimore didn't have the most ideal ending, as he was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances, and was then traded to the Detroit Lions to save cap space. However, Ravens fans all over are very appreciative of all the great plays Haloti had made over the years. He made our D-Line dynamic, and his play amplified the abilities of others too. I like to think that having Haloti on the field made guys like Jarret Johnson, Terrell Suggs, and Ray Lewis even better, and vice versa. The Ravens defenses always seem to be a unit, a working machine of many cogs, and when all the parts work together correctly, the result is a spectacular sight. So much thanks to Haloti, for playing like a Raven all these years. Best of luck in the Motor City.