Why not me? Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue feeling snubbed by Pro Bowl
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Yannick Ngakoue plans to release his frustration on the football field.
Given how he reacted to Pro Bowl results, it could be a good thing for the playoff-bound Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4).
Ngakoue said Wednesday he felt overlooked by players, coaches and fans in voting for the league’s all-star game. Ngakoue was a third alternate in the AFC despite ranking fourth in the conference with 11 sacks and having a league-leading six forced fumbles.
“It’s just amusing a little bit to me,” said Ngakoue, a third-round draft pick in 2016. “It’s just funny. You see guys go in front of you that don’t even have the numbers you have, so you really want to know where the decision’s coming from. At the end of the day, I’m happy for my teammates that made it to the Pro Bowl. Ecstatic. I feel like I should have been in there as well. …
“At the end of the day — y’all know it — I was snubbed. Everybody knows it. If you know football, I was snubbed.”
Jacksonville’s highly touted defense landed four players on the AFC team. Defensive end Calais Campbell, defensive tackle Malik Jackson and cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye set a franchise record for the most defensive players selected in one season. It also was the team’s most Pro Bowlers since having seven in 1999.
The 31-year-old Campbell was chosen for the third time in the last four years. Jackson, Ramsey and Bouye earned their first selections.
“I was just overwhelmed,” Jackson said. “It’s something you work so hard for. I knew I worked hard and had a great chance of getting in, but when they told me, it was just really surreal. It still really hasn’t hit me even though I’m seeing my name and getting attention.”
In total, the Jaguars had 11 players garner votes.
Rookie running back Leonard Fournette was a first alternate. Linebacker Telvin Smith, linebacker Paul Posluszny and fullback Tommy Bohanon were second alternates. Jaydon Mickens was a third alternate as a returner. And safety Tashaun Gipson was a fifth alternate.
Fournette questioned how the league’s top rushing attack could have no offensive linemen garner enough consideration in the voting process.
But there was a stronger sense of disbelief in the locker room regarding Ngakoue’s omission.
“It’s name recognition. I get that,” Jackson said, adding that it still stinks, though.
Gipson added that Ngakoue’s angst could be beneficial Sunday at San Francisco (4-10), where quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will make his fourth consecutive start . Jacksonville would clinch the AFC South and a home playoff game with a victory.
“He’ll get three sacks Sunday, we’ll forget about it and he’ll be laughing and smiling,” Gipson said. “But right now, stay away from (No.) 91. And good luck to (Garoppolo) when we see him Sunday because he’s out to prove something for sure.”
Campbell, Los Angeles Chargers’ Joey Bosa and Oakland’s Khalil Mack were voted ahead of Ngakoue. Campbell has an AFC-leading 14 sacks. Bosa has 11 sacks and four forced fumbles. Mack has 10 sacks and one forced fumble.
“To me, I know what I can do at the end of the day,” Ngakoue said. “I don’t need no other man or grown man to tell me what I can do. I know I’m a baller. I’m a physical player. I can get to the quarterback. I strip quarterbacks, and that’s what I do. Being a team player and doing what I do best is going to help this team win and get us further. That’s all that matters.”