Yannick Ngakoue trade rumors have been stirring for a while now. We know Jacksonville is looking to trade the disgruntled edge defender, and based off Yannick’s Instagram feed he’s eager to find a new home.
ESPN’s Jordan Ranaan reported Thursday morning that the understanding around the league is that the Jaguars are seeking “a first round pick and more” as a starting point in a trade for Ngakoue.
I understand the need to upgrade the Eagles pass rush, but trading anything more than a first round pick for Ngakoue is completely unreasonable.
I’m concerned we’re starting to overrate Ngakoue a bit. Sure, he’s a young and established edge rusher—sounds good enough—but you’d be wrong to describe him as “elite” at pressuring the quarterback.
His only near-elite level season as a pass rusher came in 2017 where he posted 14 sacks and 82 total pressures, good for a grade of 88.2 according to PFF. However, his numbers took a slight dip in the pressure department over both of the past two seasons, as he graded out at 76.8 and 77.5 (above-average) in ‘18 and ‘19 and failed to record double-digit sacks in either season.
I understand that skillset is in there for someone like Schwartz to unlock, but it’s important for Eagles fans to understand that we wouldn’t be trading for a game-changing player—not even close.
The important caveat to note here is the contract extension that Ngakoue would be expecting—he’s asking for top-5 edge rusher money when he’s not even top-10. If you pay Ngakoue what he wants and he pressures the QB like in ‘17 then fine, that’s awesome. But if he doesn’t it’d be a pretty brutal contract considering how one-dimensional he is as a player.
You don’t need to be an elite pass rusher to warrant big money at defensive end—Brandon Graham is proof of that—but Ngakoue is a terrible run defender. He projected as such coming out of college, and has yet to grade out above 60 against the run in a single season according to PFF.
And perhaps what’s most disappointing is that if you listen to what‘s been written about him in Jacksonville, he doesn’t give the same effort on running plays as he does when he rushes the quarterback. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer my defensive ends to have a motor on every down, not just when they feel like it.
When you talk about trading just the 21st overall pick for Ngakoue it’s a little more interesting—most people would take an Ngakoue in a heartbeat if he was available in the Draft, but we also need to realize that we wouldn’t be getting him on a rookie contract. The argument that he’s a first round level talent, while debatable, actually misses the point.
This is all without mentioning that Jadeveon Clowney, who is undoubtedly the better overall football player, can be signed for a similarly high price, without having to give up high draft picks.
Obviously it’s not a surprise that the Jaguars want to start bidding for Ngakoue at this price, but it almost certainly won’t end up being what they receive. I realize they asked for two first-rounders for Jalen Ramsey and received exactly that, but Ramsey is a bona fide All-Pro player, and a generational talent—I’m not sure who needs to hear this, but Ngakoue isn’t even remotely close to that.