There wasn’t much to be excited about concerning the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2016 season. One of the few bright spots on the team, however, was the play of a couple of their rookies on defense. Both corner Jalen Ramsey and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue had great rookie seasons, and their play hasn't gone unnoticed by the Pro Football Writers of America.
This shouldn't be too big of a shock, considering the seasons that both of those players had. However, it is nice to see them get the recognition, as players in Jacksonville can sometimes be overlooked. This is especially true for Ngakoue, as he was a third round pick, and Joey Bosa of the Chargers had an outstanding year in the same position.
Ramsey was obviously the Jaguars first round pick, and came in with a world of expectations, which he completely lived up to. Though his stats may not look incredible, his stellar play was evident to anyone who watched the Jaguars this year. he also brought an element of attitude and physicality to a defense that had been severely lacking it.
Ngakoue was the Jags third round pick, who was billed by many as just a designated pass rusher. Ngakoue proved to be much more than that, though, as he was the starting defensive end for most of the season. In addition to bringing a better-than-advertised run defense, Ngakoue had a great season rushing the passer as well. Unlike Ramsey, Ngakoue’s stat line is eye-catching: 8 sacks, 4 four forced fumbles, and an interception.
Even with all the changes currently surrounding the Jaguars, one thing seems to remain constant: Jalen Ramsey and Yannick Ngakoue are going to be major contributors to this defense moving forward.