Jaguars defensive ends make top 11 pass rushers list
By David Levin
In his latest story for USA Today, Doug Farrar lists both Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue of the Jaguars as two of the best pass rushers in the NFL.
USA Today’s Doug Farrar has listed both Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue of the Jacksonville Jaguars among the 11 best edge rushers in the NFL, per a story that was posted over the weekend.
Campbell, who led the team with 10.5 sacks last season, has 26 sacks in the two years he has played in a Jaguars uniform. The 32-year-old defensive end has also made two straight Pro Bowl appearances since bringing his dominant pass rushing skills to North Florida in 2017.
Ngakoue, who was a third-round draft pick in the 2016 – the same class as both Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack, has been as dominant an edge rusher as anyone in the NFL in that time frame. His 29.5 sacks in three seasons have been one of the reasons the Jaguars have had one of the best defenses in the NFL.
"“Of all the positional lists I’ve done so far, this was by far the most difficult,” Farrar wrote. “It speaks to the ridiculous amount of talent among NFL edge-rushers that compiling a Top 11 list is almost more frustrating for who one leaves out than it is enlightening for who’s included.”"
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Ngakoue, who is in the final year of his rookie deal and is seeking a new contract with the Jaguars, came in at eighth on the list. Farrar said the rising star works well with Campbell as the two have formed one of the better pass rushing combinations in the NFL.
"“…Ngakoue didn’t generate a lot of buzz in his draft class, but he’s absolutely become one of the premier edge defenders in the NFL over the last three seasons,” he added. “He dealt with an ankle injury in 2018, but that didn’t stop his production—he totaled 64 pressures, with 10 sacks, 24 quarterback hits, and 30 quarterback hurries, along with 14 tackles, five assists, and 21 stops.”"
Ngakoue did not appear at the Jaguars mandatory minicamp last week, stating the contract he is seeking with the team had not been completed. The Jaguars cannot afford to have Ngakoue’s contract situation become a distraction for the franchise or his teammates as Jacksonville moves towards training camp in five weeks.
"“Ngakoue makes life very difficult for enemy blockers with a ridiculously fast first step, and at 6’2” and 246 pounds, he’s got more power to push with a bull rush than you might imagine,” Farrar wrote. “He’s also improved as a run defender in every year of his career— a dynamite inside counter might have something to do with that—and he should continue to become one of the league’s most dangerous guys on the outside.”"
Campbell may go down as the greatest free agent signing in Jaguars history. The veteran is a leader on the field and in the locker room and was one of the key signings in the 2017 offseason from Arizona with A.J. Bouye and Barry Church.
Farrar lists Campbell as the second-best edge rusher in the league, right behind Khalil Mack of the Chicago Bears.
"“At 6’8” and 300 pounds, Campbell’s ability to stay at the top of his profession is even more rare because he doesn’t have the typical edge-rusher’s frame,” he adds. “He’s fast enough to get around the edge to the quarterback, but it’s his pure strength, technique, and understanding of timing and tempo off the snap that make him special.”"
Campbell was not a double-digit sack artist until he came to Jacksonville. His best season in a Cardinals uniform was 2013 when he totaled nine sacks. Moving to a scheme run by Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash has allowed him to move more aggressively toward the quarterback.
"“Campbell is great off the edge, but he can also create pressure from the three-tech and nose tackle positions. He’s especially effective when aligned on the same side as fellow pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue in a package the Jaguars should use more often,” Farrar wrote."