Yannick Ngakoue

Getty A 69-sack pass-rusher has been named a fit for the Washington Commanders.

Reloading the pass rush has been a focus for the Washington Commanders this offseason, but there’s still room for a free agent like Yannick Ngakoue. The Pro Bowl Edge has 69 sacks to his credit and would be a productive member of a deeper defensive end rotation in Washington.

That’s the suggestion from Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox. He believes the Commanders still need depth at D-end, even after adding some of head coach Dan Quinn’s former players in free agency.

The new additions include Dante Fowler Jr. and Dorance Armstrong Jr., both of whom played for Quinn with the Dallas Cowboys. They are joined by Clelin Ferrell, but Knox pointed out how the Commanders “did not use an early draft selection on a replacement” for either Montez Sweat or Chase Young, who were traded last season.

While “Washington did take a seventh-round flier on Notre Dame’s Javontae Jean-Baptiste,” Knox thinks the Commanders “could afford more experienced depth behind Armstrong, Fowler and Clelin Ferrell. Free agent Yannick Ngakoue, who has 69 career sacks, could provide it.”

What Knox has actually proposed is an ideal match of player and scheme.


Yannick Ngakoue an Ideal Fit for Commanders

Quinn’s defenses rely on a rotating platoon of versatile edge-rushers. Ngakoue fits such a scheme because of his speed off the edge, as well as the flexibility to line up with his hand on the ground or as a standup rusher.

The 29-year-old proved he’s lost none of his talent for getting to the quarterback by logging four sacks and generating 11 pressures for the Chicago Bears last season. Those takedowns included this sack of Bryce Young against the Carolina Panthers.

Yannick Ngakoue gets his team off the field on 3rd down 😤

#CARvsCHI on Prime Video
Also available on #NFLPlus

Getting to Young showed Ngakoue hasn’t lost a step. He also remains a roving pressure specialist teams can line up anywhere to disrupt blocking schemes.

Ngakoue rushed from the other side, before slanting inside, to get to Jordan Love against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1, for a sack highlighted by ImBearingDown.

Yannick Ngakoue’s first sack for the #Bears

This is the kind of play Quinn’s system is built upon. Relentless pass-rushers collapsing the pocket from multiple angles.

Signing Ngakoue would add a proven commodity to a group with more upside than standout production.


Commanders Need Proven Help at Defensive End

Quinn is gambling on the potential of a player like Armstrong, who notched 22 sacks in three seasons in a situational role for the Cowboys. Fowler has more of a track record, with 45 career sacks, but Ferrell is a former first-round draft pick who has never recorded more than 4.5 sacks in a single season.

The numbers show there is room for a more prolific QB hunter like Ngakoue. He’d join a crowded rotation that also features Efe Obada and second-year pro KJ Henry.

What’s missing is a pass-rusher who can take over games from the edge. The Commanders need one to take full advantage of their talent along the interior.

Incumbent defensive tackles Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, along with 2024 NFL draft second-round pick Jer’Zhan ‘Johnny’ Newton, form a formidable trio. They’ll occupy multiple blockers and generate enough of a push inside to help outside pass-rushers feast.

Ngakoue is capable of returning to double-digit sacks in a season with this kind of help.

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