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Yannick Ngakoue: “Strong feeling” about Jaguars

Posted Apr 29, 2016

Maryland DE Yannick Ngakoue on being the No. 69 overall selection by the Jaguars in 2016 NFL Draft: “I’m just thankful for the organization to believe in me and pick me”



JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars addressed the edge late Friday.

They did because they needed to, but more than that, they did it because the right player was available at the right time.

Yannick Ngakoue, a defensive end from the University of Maryland, was selected by the Jaguars with the No. 6 selection of the third round of 2016 NFL Draft Friday night. The selection was No. 69 overall.

Ngakoue (6-feet-2, 255 pounds) worked out for Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash on Monday.

“I had a strong feeling they were going to pick me, but I just kind of left it all on the field at the workout,” Ngakoue said shortly after the selection. “I’m just thankful for the organization to believe in and pick me. I knew it was all up in the air.

“No one has a crystal ball to the draft. Whatever pick I was going to get picked I was going to embrace it and be thankful.”

Wash said he flew out Sunday to work Ngakoue out Monday morning.

“I recorded it on my phone and sent it all back,” Wash said. “He had a great workout. I’m very excited about him as an edge rusher. He has to continue to work against the run. We see him as a situational pass rusher.

“He not only is a speed guy, but he has enough man in him to be a power rusher also.”

The Jaguars entered the draft needing to address depth at the Leo pass-rushing edge position, and had been unable to do while drafting Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey at No. 5 overall and UCLA linebacker Myles Jack at No. 36 overall.

Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell called it case of value and need meeting.

“It was important for us to get that there,” Caldwell said.

Ngakoue’s selection gives the Jaguars multiple edge rushers, with 2015 No. 3 overall selection Dante Fowler Jr. likely to start at the position. Ryan Davis and Chris Smith are veterans with experience at the position.

“We’re counting on Yannick to come in and produce,” Caldwell said. “He needs to be on his feet quickly.”

Ngakoue, who played three years at Maryland, registered 21.5 sacks in his career there. He also registered 33 tackles for loss.

“Some people may consider him just a pass-rusher only, but he’s got the mindset where he can get better in his run defense,” Caldwell said. “He plays hard. He’s a high character kid. We like the kid and we like the player even more.”

Ngakoue registered 13.5 sacks as a junior last season, which was the second-highest total in the nation. He also had 15 tackles for loss. He had 14.5 tackles for loss as a sophomore with six sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss with two sacks as a freshman.

“I love to win and hate to lose,” Ngakoue said. “I just hope when I come down I can contribute to a winning team. That’s what we’re going to try to do and that’s what we’re going to do.

“I have 100 percent (faith) in Jacksonville we’re going to turn things around.”

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