The Las Vegas Raiders had one of the worst defenses in the NFL last offseason. Thus, it wasn’t surprising to see them revamp the unit this offseason. While the Gus Bradley hire was important, there was a personnel addition that may have a bigger impact in 2021.
Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report recently wrote about the biggest offseason acquisition every NFL team made and Ngakoue got the nod for the Raiders. He notes Las Vegas registered just 21 sacks as a team in 2020 and were in need of pass rush help, which the defensive end can provide.
Davenport says that even though the 2016 third-round selection has played for several teams, he’s been effective everywhere he’s been to. Keep in mind his value goes beyond sacks, as Ngakoue has registered 18 forced fumbles in his five-year career. Moreover, he has missed just two games in that span.
Yannick Ngakoue will give the Raiders’ pass rush a boost
Ngakoue has racked up more than ten sacks just once in his career. However, he has never posted less than eight and his presence should help his teammates. Last year, opposing offenses could double team defensive end Maxx Crosby because the Raiders didn’t have another pass rusher. Ngakoue’s presence should change that in 2021. Also, Las Vegas will have a better defensive end rotation with Clelin Ferrell stepping back and playing a complementary role instead of a featured one.
You could argue Bradley will have a bigger impact for the Raiders than Ngakoue. After all, he will be coaching the unit. Nevertheless, there’s only so much he can do, and will need good players to be able to fully deploy his scheme. The Maryland standout has been good everywhere he’s played, so he would likely succeed even without Bradley.
Giving Ngakoue a two-year $26 million contract looks like a bargain in retrospect. The Raiders needed an upgraded at defensive end and they got it without having to break the bank. Putting aside his impact on the football field, the fact Las Vegas got Ngakoue at a rather affordable price makes him their best offseason acquisition.
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