Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue takes his job very seriously. He isn't a player who jokes around and smiles a lot on the practice field.
He works hard and wants to improve. His Twitter timeline features inspirational quotes and photos of his accomplishments instead of snarky jokes and observations about the latest fashion trends. He is professionally motivated and his work ethic has paid off on the football field.
While he has played in just 23 NFL games, Ngkaoue has produced 14.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles. He leads the Jaguars in both of those categories over the last two seasons combined.
A third-round pick with a notable chip on his shoulder, Ngakoue has proven to be a steal for the Jaguars. He isn't finished proving his bosses right either.
Ngakoue's intensity is seen by his teammates and coaches. He wants to continue to get better, so he doesn't take his work during the week for granted.
His approach has impressed second-year defensive coordinator Todd Wash.
"With [Ngakoue], I think he's been a pro almost since the day he walked in here," Wash said Thursday. "He understands how to study his offensive linemen. His work ethic - he comes to practice every day and busts his hump - so we know he is going to continue to get better. We're continuing to push him because I think the sky is the limit for him and hopefully he can continue to play like he is."
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Ngakoue's work ethic has already helped him improve throughout his short but impressive NFL career.
At 6-foot-2 and 246 pounds, the second-year defensive end will never be considered an ideal run-stopper off the edge. However, he has made progress with his technique, which has paid off in run support this season, according to Wash.
"Early on in the season, we were on him during training camp," Wash said. "We corrected some alignments and that kind of stuff and gave him a bit more width. We knew that he's not a big guy but he sits in there and battles, sets the edge for us when we need it set, so it's a credit to him [with] how he's improved [against the run]."
Ngakoue will look to add to his ever-growing list of accomplishments against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at EverBank Field. He needs just two sacks to surpass his total from his standout rookie season.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
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