Raiders Urged to Reunite With Former Sack Leader

yannick ngakoue

Getty Former Las Vegas Raiders DE Yannick Ngakoue.

The Las Vegas Raiders‘ defensive line should be a major strength for the team in 2024 if 2023 first-round pick Tyree Wilson can take a leap. Maxx Crosby is an All-Pro and Malcolm Koonce had a breakout season but the depth behind them is relatively thin at defensive end if Wilson doesn’t improve.

If the Raiders feel like they need more depth, there’s one player in free agency who could make sense. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue played with the team in 2021 and led the team with 10.0 sacks. He’s currently unsigned and shouldn’t cost too much money. Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report believes the Raiders should sign Ngakoue.

“Bringing back Yannick Ngakoue, who was on the roster in 2021, would make plenty of sense,” Knox wrote in a May 6 column. “The 29-year-old only had four sacks with the Chicago Bears in 2023 but has been consistently productive in just about every other stop. He had 10 sacks during his lone season in Las Vegas and had 9.5 with the Indianapolis Colts in 2022.

“Ngakoue can be inconsistent as a run defenders, but as a situational sack artist, he’s one of the top options still available. He’s already familiar with some of the Raiders’ personnel, and he’d provide another veteran presence on the edge.”

Is Yannick Ngakoue Still a Fit With Las Vegas Raiders?

Ngakoue has never been an elite run defender. He’s a bit undersized at 6-foot-2, 246 pounds, but he’s proven to be a consistent pass rusher. Last season with the Chicago Bears was the first time in his career that he didn’t get at least 8.0 sacks in a season.

Ngakoue is only 29 so there should be some juice left in the tank. He makes a lot of sense as a situational pass rusher for the Raiders. Having Crosby, Koonce, Wilson and Ngakoue to throw at quarterbacks would be a very good pass rushing attack.

Now, Ngakoue could be holding out for more money. The Raiders shouldn’t spend too much on him considering they have needs elsewhere. But if they can get Ngakoue on a cheap deal, the team’s pass rush might be as good as any team in the NFL.

Las Vegas Raiders Still High on Tyree Wilson

Wilson’s rookie season left a lot to be desired. He finished the year with just 3.5 sacks despite playing all 17 games. Despite the rough first year, the Raiders still think he can be an impact player.

Linebacker Robert Spillane explained why he thinks Wilson could make a big leap in his second season.

“Yeah, around this league – I’ve heard it from many coaches – the biggest jump in a player’s career is often from year one to year two,” Spillane said during his April 15 media availability. “It’s because they get to see a full offseason; they get to see what the NFL is all about. They get to see how to take care of their bodies, how to prepare. So, we’re expecting to see a huge upswing from Tyree. I know he expects to see it in his game as well. And when you get a guy who’s very talented and eager and hungry to get out there and work, the only thing to do is go up from there.”

Read More