The Jaguars selected pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue with their 3rd round pick in 2016. Seen as a situational pass rusher coming out of Maryland, many questioned his ability to get on the field and be effective as a run defender. Needless to say Ngakoue proved the critics wrong in his rookie season, despite what Pro Football Focus might have you believe. All he did was set a Jaguars rookie record for sacks with 8 and contribute to a defense that finished 6th in yards allowed.
HE'S GOING TO BE EVEN BETTER IN 2017
Yes, we believe Yannick Ngakoue will be much better in 2017 than he was in 2016.
Here's 3 reasons why:
He's surrounded by more talent - The Jaguars may have the most talented defensive line in football. With a base front that includes Calais Campbell, Malik Jackson, Abry Jones and Yannick Ngakoue offensive lines will not be able to focus in on one player, else the others will take advantage. In sub packages the Jaguars will be able to deploy Ngakoue and Dante Fowler on the edge with Campbell and Malik Jackson on the inside. That should have AFC South offensive lines shaking in their cleats. The more talent surrounding the second year pass rusher the better. He should easily push for double digit sacks in 2017.
He was top 10 in QB hurries in 2016 - Yeah, Yannick was a top 10 guy in terms of hurrying the QB last season. He hurried opposing QBs 28 times in 2016. That's more than Khalil Mack, Jason Pierre-Paul, Whitney Mercilus and Defensive Rookie of the Year Joey Bosa. He's been putting in work this offseason improving as a run defender and pass rusher and will likely be a much more effective and consistent player in 2017. If he is able to get home on just a couple more of those hurries then he could easily be a top 10 - top 15 type pass rusher next season.
He's self motivated - Yannick Ngakoue has always had his doubters, and because of that he's become a self motivated work out warrior with a HUGE chip on his shoulders. He has higher expectations for himself than anyone does and he works very hard to achieve what he sets his mind to. He shone far brighter than the Jaguars other young pass rusher Dante Fowler in 2016 and his star will likely continue to shine bright. He may not have the ideal length, and size of a 4-3 edge rusher but he easily makes up for it with athleticism and want to.
So, yeah I expect a big season from Yannick Ngakoue - and why wouldn't I? Every year since Ngakoue started playing football he's been doubted - and every year he's proven his detractors wrong. I wouldn't bet against him.
Agree with me? Think I'm an idiot?
Let me know in the comments section below!
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