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How will Jacksonville Jaguars' pass rusher improve on an impressive rookie season?

How will Jacksonville Jaguars' pass rusher improve on an impressive rookie season?

When the Jacksonville Jaguars announced they had chosen Yannick Ngakoue with their third round pick in last year’s NFL Draft, many of the fans here in town didn’t know what to make of the pick. There were other more popular choices. The Maryland product had a successful career at the University of Maryland, competing in the Big Ten, but would it translate to onfield success at the next level.

Ngakoue set a school record his junior year with 13.5 sacks.

Now, the Jacksonville Jaguars have to be pleased with their decision. After a rookie year that saw him lead the team with eight sacks, what does 2017 hold for him and the team. The second-year player is using OTAs to improve every day.

“We have weapons: not even including myself, Calais (Campbell), you’ve got Dante (Fowler Jr.), you have a lot of other guys that are good, a lot of weapons,” said Ngakoue in a story that appears on news4jax.com. “Speed and strength. I feel like there’s going to be a lot of mismatches going forward.”

Due to the collective bargaining agreement, players aren’t allowed to wear shoulder pads or make contact during organized team activities. Ngakoue actually looks at time of year as a blessing in disguise.

While many rookies hit a “wall” in their first season or deal with a “slump” in their second chapter, none of that bothers Ngakoue, who is using the offseason to prepare himself for a better year in 2017.

“Just more excited because I’m familiar with the pace of the game, things of that nature,” said Ngakoue. I’m not coming into my second year not knowing what I’m doing. It’s like I’m feeling more comfortable. I already got my feet wet last year. It’s just rehearsal.”

If Ngakoue, Campbell and Fowler all produce in the rotation, then the Jaguars will solve one of the team’s biggest weaknesses last season. If the addition of third round draft pick Dawaune Smoot from Illinois is just as productive as Ngakoue was last season, this pass rusher unit could be one of the best in the NFL this coming season.


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