As the 2022 offseason continues, many Jacksonville Jaguars fans are wondering how this year’s rookie class will perform. While the regular season is still more than a couple of months away, we can take some time to look at some of the organization’s bright spots during the 2010s.
All things considered, the Jags are still a relatively young franchise. However, many of their players have gone on to have productive rookie campaigns. Today, we’ll look at the best five from the last decade.
No. 5 Jaguars best rookie season of the 2010s: Yannick Ngakou, 2016
Yannick Ngakoue was part of an exceptional 2016 draft haul that featured three starters with the Jaguars’ first three picks. Having been drafted in the third round, Yannick Ngakoue did not have as grand expectations as cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive end Miles Jack but he did seem to fit what head coach Gus Bradley and defensive coordinator Todd Wash were looking for in a pass rusher.
Ngakoue actually took the starting job from former first-round pick Dante Fowler, who had been drafted the year before. The Maryland product benefited from playing alongside and learning from Calais Campbell on the defensive line. The situation in Jacksonville turned out to be a good match for Ngakoue in his first few years in the league, as he flourished in Todd Wash’s defense and enjoyed playing in one of the league’s best units.
While the defensive end did not have one big game that put him on the map, he played consistently throughout the year. He was able to produce multiple sacks in three separate games but perhaps the most impressive part of his game was his knack for getting to the quarterback.
Ngakoue over-delivered on the year gaining eight sacks, 14 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles, six tackles for a loss, one interception, two passes defensed, 23 total tackles, and 20 solo. He also earned a Pro Football Focus pass-rushing grade of 68.0.