DEFENSIVE End Yannick Ngakoue is trying to convince the Jacksonville Jaguars to trade him. Along with his many requests to be elsewhere, are a number of dropped hints as to where he’d like to go. If his hint list did not include the Eagles, I would totally ignore this story. But it does. So I can’t.
Lots of Eagles fans want the Front Office to trade for Ngakoue. He represents something that the Eagles have lacked for a long time now. He’s a pass rusher that opponents will feel they have to game plan for. Not to devalue DE Brandon Graham, but tell me about the year where Graham recorded 10 sacks or more. Don’t waste time looking. For Graham there is no such year.
In fact, the last time an Eagles DE recorded 10 sacks or more in a season was 2011. DE Jason Babin had 18, and DE Trent Cole had 11. No Eagles defensive lineman would notch 10 sacks again, until DT Fletcher Cox posted 10 in 2018.
So yeah. Many Eagles fans are excited by the elements that Ngakoue can add to our Defense. They have visions of double digit sack years dancing in their heads. To which I can only respond:
Excuse me. I just want to ask a question:
Can Ngakoue thrive as a DE in the NFC East?
Three quarters of the NFC East plays in cities that get inclement weather. None of those teams plays in a dome. Three quarters of the NFC East plays in stadiums near large bodies of water. That means humidity in the air and on the ball, early in the season. It means frost on the turf, and a dry, slick ball, late in the season.
Because the weather can impact the passing game significantly, our division is married to the run in ways that other divisions don’t have to be. Defending the run requires bulk to keep players from wearing down later in the year. It’s why there are no 246 pound starting DE’s in this division. Now guess how much Ngakoue weighs.
Understand, Ngakoue is from Washington D.C., and he played college ball at Maryland. He knows what weather in the region looks like. He grew up with it, and he can undoubtedly add some weight. If he does though, will we be getting the player that we saw with the Jags, or will we be getting Jevon Kearse 2.0?
Funny story, true story. At 11:37 this morning I went looking for a picture of Ngakoue to place in this article. While doing so, I noticed that while there are dozens of pictures of him sacking QB’s, aside from this picture,
it’s really hard to find any pictures of him tackling a RB. (Not that this is a tackle either.) You just can’t live that way in the NFC East. In this division, DE’s also have to play the run.
Also, watching him try to force his way out of Jacksonville makes me very uncomfortable. I’m fine with him wanting to leave. He’s entitled to wanting a different work environment. What I’m not fine with, is the way he’s making a show of it.
He says he wants to go to a team with a winning culture. One of the reasons Jacksonville doesn’t have a winning culture, is because they have players who make individual choices like the path he’s chosen. True strength of character would be to create a winning culture. Instead, he wants to immigrate to a place where the work has already been done. That’s suspect behavior.
You probably expected me to rant about why he’s not worth what Jacksonville is asking in return for him. Fact is, to me it never even needs to get that far. To heck with trading for him. I wouldn’t sign him, if he were an Unrestricted Free Agent. Keep reading.
Other fans see his sacks, and look past all the red flags. He’s talented yes, but he’s a showboat who doesn’t bring more to the table than stats. That’s the antithesis of the Eagles locker room culture. He’s all wrong for the mental make-up of my team. For that reason, he’s better suited to the Browns, Steelers or Cowboys. Or of course, the Jaguars.