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There isn't much more of an American movie style than a Western. The main character is a cowboy who rides into town, unknown amongst the people who have been in the town for many years. Not many people know his past stops, and not many people care to ask. He goes into the local saloon looking to do a job or to help however he can while he's here. In a small dusty cowpoke town, there's always something afoot, or so it seems in every Western ever. The cowboy sees or hears about the local bad boy or group who seems to always cause trouble while they're around and goes to the sheriff to see who they are and what their story may be. While watching these movies, you learn the backstory of the protagonist. Maybe they just needed to move from their previous town or maybe they were shunned! Regardless, these movies inevitably end with the Cowboy getting justice for the town and then riding off to do it once more for the next town. While it may seem like hyperbole, Yannick Ngakoue exemplifies that mercenary lifestyle, coming into town with the goal of sacking the opposing team's quarterback.
Who is Yannick Ngakoue?
Ngakoue is a former third-round pick for the Jacksonville Jaguars out of Maryland. He started his career with mid-round expectations but made an immediate impact in pass rushing, compiling 29 sacks in his first three years with the team and being selected to the Pro Bowl in his second season, a season in which he led the NFL in forced fumbles. Ngakoue has been a bit of a journeyman since the Jaguars days, playing for four separate teams since 2020, but this is not at all indicative of his play. The Vikings moved him just 2 months after acquiring him due to a poor start. Ngakoue, in his short stint with the Vikings, had five sacks in the six games he played. When he was acquired by the Ravens, they moved him to an outside linebacker spot as opposed to his traditional defensive end position due to a scheme difference, and the change resulted in limited production. The Raiders then signed him in the following season, where he was inevitably moved to Indianapolis after the team acquired pass-rushing specialist Chandler Jones. His tenure in Indianapolis was short-lived, but effective, where he compiled 9.5 sacks in just 15 total games. So, what do we know about Ngakoue? He produces no matter where he goes, so long as he is in the correct scheme.
A Fresh Start
This season, Ngakoue is taking his talents to Chicago. He will be playing his natural position of defensive end and is currently listed as a starter. The 28-year-old pass rusher is already making headlines this camp with his mentorship to some of the younger players and his seemingly smooth transition to the style of defense the team wants to employ. This is a monstrous plus for an IDP player who has likely fallen off most radars, considering his journeyman reputation. The Bears are an up-and-coming franchise who are looking for a cornerstone defensive star after the recent trade of elite linebacker Roquan Smith. Whether it is an offensive league or not, there is still defense in the DNA of the Bears organization. Ngakoue is going to be tasked with bringing this unit back to its former glory. With a defense that isn't exactly loaded with IDP or NFL stars, Ngakoue has an opportunity to truly become a building block for this franchise. Prior to signing, he was quoted as saying, "I'm ready to have a stable home and just to be able to be on a multiyear deal." (Bleacher Report) Now, his deal with Chicago is only for a year, but the motivation to sign somewhere long-term should have IDP fans taking notice of how intense we will see him play this season.
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