Raiders Rumors: Las Vegas Looking To Bring Back Yannick Ngakoue?
Yannick Ngakoue, Raiders
Oct 24, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) celebrates with cornerback Nate Hobbs (39) against the Philadelphia Eagles in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest needs for the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason is to improve the pass rush. The Raiders ranked 30th in the NFL in sacks, and nobody aside from Maxx Crosby totaled more than 4.5 sacks last year, but so far this offseason the front office has done little to help the situation.

The Raiders could be looking towards the draft to bring in someone who can help get to the quarterback, but there are also some intriguing options remaining in free agency as well. One of those is a familiar face in Yannick Ngakoue who
spent last year with the Indianapolis Colts.

The Raiders traded Ngakoue to Indianapolis last season after the team signed Chandler Jones. But Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report believes the franchise could look to bring Ngakoue back this offseason:

Instead, Ngakoue could find his way back to the Las Vegas Raiders. He was traded by the current regime last offseason in exchange for cornerback Rock-Ya Sin. That move came just after Las Vegas signed pass-rusher Chandler Jones to a massive three-year, $51 million deal.

While Jones did begin to produce late last season, he didn’t have the overall desired impact on the Raiders’ pass rush. He finished with only 4.5 sacks, while Las Vegas had 27 as a team. In 2021, Ngakoue had 10 sacks and 36 quarterback pressures while playing opposite Maxx Crosby.

Ngakoue has been one of the most consistent pass rushers since coming into the NFL, never finishing a season with less than eight sacks. Last year in Indianapolis he totaled 9.5 sacks and 16 quarterback hits, both of which would’ve ranked second on the Raiders trailing only Crosby.

As Knox noted, Ngakoue has already proven that he can operate on the opposite side of Crosby, though that wasn’t within the same defensive scheme the Raiders currently run. The belief that Jones is a better fit in Patrick Graham’s defense was a big reason why the team brought him in and dealt away Ngakoue, but perhaps a reunion is in order.

Depth along the defensive line is extremely important in today’s NFL, especially with all of the high-powered offenses around the league. The Raiders have to deal with Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert twice a year for the foreseeable future and must figure out a way to get to the quarterback on a regular basis.

Among the options available, Ngakoue represents one of the best and could be a difference-maker for a rebuilt Raiders defense.