Why the Giants should sign this dynamic pass-rusher ahead of the 2023 season

yannick Ngakoue, new york giants
Sep 25, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) celebrates sacking Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (not pictured) during the second quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have a pair of exciting edge rushers on their defense in Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari. Thibodeaux and Ojulari are both young, productive pass-rushers that are expected to take big steps forward in 2023.

A number of veteran pass-rushers still remain on the free agency market as training camp approaches. Yannick Ngakoue stands out as a dynamic free agent that could perfectly fit into the Giants’ defense and have a significant impact on the upcoming season.

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Pro Football Focus suggests the Giants sign Ngakoue ahead of training camp

Pro Football Focus recently suggested signing Ngakoue is a move New York should make before training camp kicks off.

Ngakoue’s underlying metrics in 2022 were concerning, with his 9.5 sacks this past season well above the expectation of a player with his pass-rush win rate and pressure rate. That being said, he’s registered at least eight sacks in every season of his seven-year career and was a more menacing pass rusher on a per-snap basis from 2017 to 2021.

Ngakoue also makes perfect sense in a defensive line unit under defensive coordinator Wink Martindale that is all about rotating linemen in a platoon approach, so he can be a designated pass rusher alongside the young duo of Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari.

Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus

Ngakoue’s potential impact on the Giants’ defense

Signing Ngakoue would give defensive coordinator Wink Martindale a reliable third option on the edge. Behind Thibodeaux and Ojulari is a steep dropoff in talent.

If one of the Giants’ top two rushers were to go down with an injury, Big Blue would be left scrambling with a severe lack of talent on the edge. Signing Ngakoue not only mitigates that risk, but he could also impact the defense as a rotational rusher alongside Thibodeaux and Ojulari.

As Giants fans should know, an elite NFL defense can never have enough pass rushers. Ngakoue has bounced around from team to team over the past several years but has continued to play at a high level every season.

Ngakoue has the fifth-most forced fumbles (21) and ranks sixth in sacks (65) since entering the league in 2016, per Jordan Schultz. In 2022, he posted 9.5 sacks in 15 games for the Indianapolis Colts. Undoubtedly, Ngakoue would enhance New York’s defense in a major way, giving them one of the top pass-rushing trios in the NFL.

Signing Ngakoue may prove to be a difficult task, however. The 28-year-old is reportedly seeking a contract valued at around $8-10 million per year. This may push him outside of the Giants’ price range. However, if the Giants can make some roster moves to clear some cap space, it would be wise to invest the extra capital into Ngakoue.

Ngakoue and Martindale’s previous connection

It is also worth noting that defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has coached Ngakoue in the past. Ngakoue was traded to Baltimore in 2020 while Martindale was still the Ravens’ defensive coordinator. Ngakoue had three sacks and two forced fumbles in nine games under Martindale’s tutelage.

Martindale could seamlessly plug Ngakoue back into his system; this time combining the productive pass-rusher with a bounty of talent on the Giants’ defense.

Ngakoue would bring reliable productivity to the Giants’ pass-rushing department, taking pressure off the shoulders of Thibodeaux and Ojulari and creating a three-headed monster in Martindale’s defense.