The Jacksonville Jaguars just finished an enormously disappointing season, but they had two standout rookie performers in Jalen Ramsey and Yannick Ngakoue.
You’d be hard pressed to find someone who thought the Jacksonville Jaguars had a successful 2016 campaign. The team had playoff aspirations and the city of Jacksonville was filled with hope that they would finally have a competent team to cheer for.
Instead, the Jaguars finished with a 3-13 record and yet another top 5 draft pick.
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Change is coming and already beginning in Jacksonville from the top down, but there are few things that should stay the same. Two of those are a starting defensive end and a cornerback. First round pick Jalen Ramsey and third round pick Yannick Ngakoue both had outstanding seasons and were just named to the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) All-Rookie team:
Everyone had a high grade on Jalen Ramsey and most expected him to play well as a rookie, but Ramsey far outpaced his peers at his position. Most rookie cornerbacks struggle to adjust to the speed and physicality of the NFL coming out of college – Ramsey had no problems of the sort. The FSU standout came in and was immediately tasked with shadowing the opposing team’s best receiver (including the likes of Alshon Jeffery, DeAndre Hopkins, Amari Cooper, and T.Y. Hilton) and Ramsey shut them down for the most part. Ramsey asserted himself as a top corner in the league by the end of the 2016 regular season.
Yannick Ngakoue had significantly lower expectations as a third round pick, but he established himself as the team’s best edge rusher in a short amount of time. Far outproducing his other “rookie” counterpart in Dante Fowler Jr., Ngakoue set a Jacksonville rookie record with 8 sacks, and he also tacked on 4 four forced fumbles, and an interception.
Both guys are building blocks on the defense moving forward.