Defensive end · Age 26
Sometimes a player and coach can develop a connection that produces magic on the field. That is what happens whenever Gus Bradley has a chance to build a defense around Ngakoue’s explosive skills as a pass rusher. The veteran has posted at least eight sacks in each of his seasons with the Colts’ new defensive coordinator (eight as a rookie with the Jaguars in 2016; 10 with the Raiders in 2021), and those numbers could surge with Ngakoue positioned as the No. 1 edge rusher in Indy. As a high-motor player with exceptional first-step quickness and snap-count anticipation, Ngakoue is an ideal fit for a scheme that emphasizes playing “fast and free” on the edge.
What’s interesting is that the question was earlier asked this offseason of, ‘Who was going to play the LEO?’ for new Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley in 2021, a position that lines up weak-side, wide 9 with the goal of simply getting after the quarterback, utilizing speed and athleticism off the outside edge to rush the opposing passer.
And . . . it turns out it was someone, no one thought was actually initially available, Ngakoue, who happened to be Bradley’s ideal (and proven) prototype for the position in his defense—going all the way back to their time together with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016.
Ngakoue had 10.0 sacks and 62 total QB pressures last season for Bradley’s Las Vegas Raiders defense this past season, again showcasing his pass rushing prowess.
Ngakoue’s consistently been one of the league’s best pass rushing edges—and that should only continue under Bradley’s defensive tutelage in Indianapolis, given the obvious talent, scheme, and natural fit between the rekindled pairing:
Yeah, I'm still plenty excited for Yannick Ngakoue.— Luke Schultheis (@LuckAtLuke) March 18, 2022
There's a lot of terrorizing of opposing quarterbacks that should take place off the edge for the #Colts for hopefully years to come (via @NextGenStats). pic.twitter.com/pfhvaPsRvW