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Raiders minicamp: Yannick Ngakoue makes big claim

He’s a big fan of Maxx Crosby

Los Vegas Raiders v New York Jets
Maxx Crosby
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

He has been on the practice field for just two days with the Las Vegas Raiders, yet Yannick Ngakoue has made a big proclamation.

He thinks he and fellow Raiders’ defensive end will be the best pass-rush tandem in the NFL. Simply asked about Crosby, Ngakoue — who signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the Raiders in March — began a bold statement.

“I think that Maxx and myself are the best duo that’s going to come hit the scene,” Ngakoue told media members Wednesday. “I’m already putting that out there .. Maxx is a hard worker. He’s a guy that’s putting in the work. Literally, I’m lifting weights right now and Maxx is in there doing things to get better. It’s the dedication and commitment. I can play all day with a guy like that.”

Ngakoue worked out on his own prior to this week’s minicamp. Previously in the offseason, Crosby said he was talking to Ngakoue often and the two were building chemistry together. The Raiders had one of the worst pass-rushers in the NFL for years. If Ngakoue and Crosby can make a fast impact together, it would go along way transforming the Las Vegas defense.

Perhaps Ngakoue will be right about himself and Crosby’s impact on the NFL. Ngakoue has 45.5 sacks in five NFL seasons and Crosby has 17 sacks in two seasons.

Crosby may be on the field less with the presence of Ngakoue and that could help him and the team. He wore down after being among the league leaders in snaps. Thus, Ngakoue’s presence will keep Crosby fresher and perhaps more impactful.

New Las Vegas defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is excited about paring the two pass-rushers.

“I would say this, our philosophy is you can never have enough rushers. Probably a lot of teams believe that, but I think we want to make sure we keep guys fresh,” Bradley said. And Maxx is a very good player and he’s come in in great shape now. I like the way he looks, the way he’s practicing. He’s leaned up, he’s fast and I’ve been very impressed with him. So, we’ve got a number of guys like that. We’re hoping we can send two lines at people – not just one group – that we can stay fresh with the players. So, those edge guys are very important to us and the inside guys creating that push.”

Let’s see if Ngakoue’s prediction comes true.