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Who Will Sign Yannick Ngakoue? Landing Spots for the Edge Rusher



Yannick Ngakoue was on the path to being one of the top edge rushers in the NFL after some incredible performances with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he’s been up and down since then, having played for four teams in three years. Now, hitting free agency, he’s seeing his options dwindle as teams have already signed away the edge rushers they plan to roll with heading into the season.

Who Will Sign Yannick Ngakoue?

The upside for Ngakoue is pretty enormous, and teams needing an edge rusher would be wise to investigate the veteran despite some bumps in the road — after all, he ranks ninth in sacks since joining the NFL in 2016.

Given that the edge defender draft class has a number of question marks — albeit with a lot of talent — there’s a reason that Ngakoue should be able to drum up a market. On the other hand, a number of teams that need an edge rusher have already employed Ngakoue, and he’s had mixed feelings about his time with them.

He told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN that he enjoyed playing in Minnesota but felt he “wasn’t utilized the right way,” adding that “Pass rushers need rhythm. You have to have multiple plays to set up moves, and I felt like I didn’t have that there.”

The Chicago Bears Could Keep Spending To Immediately Return To Relevance

The Bears should secure a pass rusher in the draft, but they need more than one. Trevis Gipson and Dominique Robinson are not yet slated to take on a full-time role, and adding Ngakoue to a roster that has a first- or second-round pick pass rusher would be smart.

The Bears have invested an extraordinary number of resources into the team this year on both sides of the ball but still have a ways to go before they can be comfortable with their competitiveness and have nearly $40 million in remaining cap space regardless. Rounding out other elements of the roster will be a big part of their ability to continue competing in the NFC North.

MORE: Best EDGEs in the NFL 

When head coach Matt Eberflus was asked to describe his ideal edge rusher at the NFL Combine, he seemingly described Ngakoue to a tee. “I would just say the ability to turn the corner,” he said of his primary edge rusher traits. “When guys start to rush, and they get their approach, when they get to the move area, the ones that can’t get there, they start working away from the quarterback.”

“The ones that do,” Eberflus said, “they have everything pointed — their hips, their toes, their knees — everything toward the quarterback. And they have the ability to work their move around the edge. And then when they get past the quarterback, they have strength to be able to work back inside.”

Ngakoue Could Unlock Myles Garrett for the Cleveland Browns

The Browns have moved on from Jadeveon Clowney and need someone opposite Myles Garrett in order to set their pass rush up for success. After signing Dalvin Tomlinson in the interior, they’ve already committed to building up their defensive line but need to do more to make that unit completely effective.

With Jim Schwartz as their defensive coordinator, they should be able to effectively use the wide techniques that Ngakoue has become comfortable with.

Indianapolis Colts Could Re-Sign Ngakoue and Re-Establish Their Defense

Gus Bradley has employed Ngakoue in his defenses at multiple stops — Jacksonville, Las Vegas, and Indianapolis. Bringing Ngakoue back to Indy after a muted free agency makes a fair degree of sense. His 9.5 sacks last year for the Colts didn’t set the world on fire but was fairly helpful for a defense otherwise lacking pass rush.

The Colts still have reason to be excited about Kwity Paye, but having a strong stable of pass rushers — with or without a rookie addition — will be critical to get the defense back to relevance. Even as a rebuilding team, signing Ngakoue would make a lot of sense.

The Denver Broncos Have a Lot of Pass-Rush Ground To Make Up

The Broncos have the least amount of cap room on this list but still have about $8 million to address a position they made substantially weaker when they traded away Bradley Chubb to the Dolphins. Adding Zach Allen to help with the pass rush shouldn’t stop them from adding someone like Ngakoue because they play functionally different positions.

MORE: Highest-Paid EDGEs in the NFL  

Allen and Ngakoue could even line up on the same side of the ball and, if done properly, could combine like Aldon Smith and Justin Smith did for San Francisco a few years ago.

If the Los Angeles Rams Want To Win, Why Not Ngakoue?

The Rams’ EDGE room consists of Michael Hoecht, Keir Thomas, Zach VanValkenburg, and Daniel Hardy. It’s not a stacked room, and it could do with some bargains if the Rams are really committed to competing this year.

If not, they would be smart to pass on Ngakoue and move on, but they have indicated that they expect to win this year. He would be an instant upgrade and should be comfortable with what a defense like this would ask him to do.

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Who Are AB’s New Teammates With Albany Empire?




Most among us likely thought Antonio Brown’s pro football career was over the day he bared his midriff to the masses and dipped out on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers midgame.

For a time, anyway, it was. But, at long last, the mercurial wide receiver is set to return to the gridiron — and to make his debut for the Albany Empire, a National Arena League team of which he is a part owner.

Antonio Brown To Make Empire Debut on Saturday, June 17

That’s right, Brown confirmed, via TMZ Sports, that he’ll be suiting up for the Empire’s next home game, which will be on June 17 against the Jacksonville Sharks.

“We’re going to continue to be encouraging, continue to give the people of Albany what they wanna see,” Brown told WNYT’s Rodger Wyland on Thursday. “I will have the right, proper equipment this week. You’re not selling false information. We’re not telling the people that we’re going to do something that we’re not going to do.”

Of course, the false information Brown’s referring to would be the hiccup he encountered last week when a delayed physical prevented him from making his Empire debut. But the former Pittsburgh Steelers star seems confident he’ll be a full-go when the Sharks come to town.

MORE: Antonio Brown Recruiting Cam Newton for Arena League Game

That game is slated for a 7 p.m. ET kickoff and will be played at the MVP Arena in Albany.

Former Carolina Panthers MVP QB Cam Newton has yet to respond to Brown’s invitation to join him for the festivities. Instead, it seems like he issued a sort of tennis challenge, in his trademark hieroglyphic font, on Twitter.

So we can probably rule Newton out.

Who Will Be on the Field With Brown?

Brown’s quarterback will likely be Roland Rivers III. He is, after all, the only quarterback listed on the Empire roster.

Rivers played his college ball at Division II Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and was quite prolific. He racked up a boatload of accolades during his two-year stint as a starter, including the Harlon Hill Trophy, which is awarded annually to the Division II College Football Player of the Year.

Rivers piled up 7,181 passing yards, 80 passing touchdowns, 1,297 rushing yards, and 16 rushing scores during his two seasons under center for Slippery Rock.

Some other notable Empire players include Nickolas Brassell, who was briefly productive with Ole Miss before academic issues prematurely ended his career, and Isaiah Hardy, who started a handful of games on the offensive line for the West Virginia Mountaineers.

The Sharks, likewise, have a handful of notable players on their roster.

Defensive lineman David Gilbert accumulated nine sacks during a playing career split between Wisconsin and Miami. His Empire teammate, cornerback Jabari Gorman, notched over 100 tackles and three interceptions during his career with the Florida Gators.

MORE: Should Antonio Brown Make the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame?

Perhaps the biggest “what-could-have-been” between the two rosters is Sharks wide receiver/defensive back Tamorrion Terry. The NAL rookie once starred at Florida State, posting 1,188 receiving yards and nine touchdowns back in 2019.

Injuries limited Terry to five games in 2020, and after a quieter season, the Seminoles standout went undrafted. He’d have a cup of coffee with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent but was released before training camp even got underway.

Shortly after his signing with Seattle, Terry was one of 11 indicted on felony murder charges relating to a fatal, reportedly gang-related nightclub shooting that took place in Ashburn, Georgia, in June of 2018, per CBS Sports.

As a result, the Seahawks cut Terry before the ink had even dried on his contract. It appears that he was later exonerated — this tweet has a screenshot of an Instagram post he made celebrating his relief after a tumultuous year.

Were Terry already established in the NFL, that verdict might’ve salvaged his career. But as an end-of-the-roster guy, the damage was done.

Now, ironically, Terry, who plays both defensive back and wide receiver for the Sharks, will likely line up opposite Brown at some point soon.

Just not in the, ahem, arena, in which either of them likely thought they’d be playing ball five years ago.

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Ranking Jeremiah Trotter Jr., Tommy Eichenberg, and Others




What does the 2024 NFL Draft linebacker class look like off preliminary viewings? As has become a common theme with the 2024 group, there’s an abundance of depth to sift through. And the top prospects have a brand of dynamic upside that could lift them into the Round 1 range. Here’s a look at the full list.

Ranking the Top LBs in the 2024 NFL Draft

The 2023 NFL Draft ended up having a linebacker go in Round 1 in Detroit Lions selection Jack Campbell. But for most of the 2023 cycle, the LB group was notorious for having a lack of bona fide first-round prospects. Campbell’s testing and production helped him, but even he had some holes in his composite profile.

A linebacker hasn’t gone in the top 10 since 2020, and the linebacker drafted highest since then — Micah Parsons — has morphed into a full-time edge rusher at the NFL level. For years on end, it seems the LB position has been starved for blue-chip talent. Will the 2024 NFL Draft class change that? Let’s take a closer look and see for ourselves.

10) Tyreem Powell, Rutgers

At the very least, the 2024 NFL Draft LB class isn’t short on upside. That’s something you’ll see quickly with prospects like Rutgers’ Tyreem Powell. Powell put up 71 tackles, six TFLs, three sacks, and four PBUs in a standout 2022, and he’s expected to play the MIKE position more in 2023. Together, his traits and early production generate plenty of excitement.

It’s important to note that Powell is still largely a work in progress. His coverage instincts are very inconsistent, and he often drifts too far past gaps when tracking runs laterally. But at 6’5″ and 235 pounds, Powell has elite size, and he couples that size with impressive lateral twitch, burst, and fluidity. He’s already a physical form tackler who brings immense upside in all phases.

9) Curtis Jacobs, Penn State

Penn State won’t have another Micah Parsons on the NFL Draft circuit — at least not yet. But there is a linebacker prospect on the Nittany Lions’ roster to keep an eye on. Through 2021 and 2022, Curtis Jacobs produced 113 tackles, 14.5 TFLs, and seven sacks. His playstyle makes him a must-watch for evaluators, and there’s room for him to keep growing.

MORE: FREE NFL Mock Draft Simulator (With Trades)

Jacobs is a bit lean and undersized, and that lack of elite play strength can hinder him in certain situations. Nevertheless, the Nittany Lions defender has smooth mobility in coverage. And ultimately, his best plays come when he’s able to pin his ears back, attack downhill, and splice through gaps. He’s an absolute homing missile when seeking out ball carriers.

8) Eric Gentry, USC

The 2024 NFL Draft LB class presents a lot of variety up top, but there’s no prospect as unique as USC’s Eric Gentry. Gentry — who recorded 71 tackles, four TFLs, two sacks, three PBUs, and two forced fumbles in 2022 — has an extremely unorthodox frame at 6’6″, 205 pounds. There will be questions about how he translates, but the upside is clear.

Gentry underwent surgery for an ankle injury this offseason but should be good to go by the start of the season. He’s still in dire need of added weight. Nevertheless, Gentry’s nimble athleticism and overwhelming wingspan make him a constant threat to undercut passes at the second level, and that same length magnifies his tackling range in pursuit.

7) Luke Reimer, Nebraska

The Nebraska football program will hope for a renaissance under Matt Rhule, who was able to rebuild both the Temple and Baylor programs earlier in his coaching career. It helps that Nebraska has a strong core to carry over from 2022, especially on defense. Quinton Newsome is a standout at cornerback, and Luke Reimer is the leader of the unit.

Reimer has accumulated 194 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, an interception, and 11 pass deflections over the past two seasons. That production sheds light on his speed and range at the second level, but the 6’0″, 225-pound Reimer also has the football IQ, vision, and compact frame to hold his own in run defense.

6) Jestin Jacobs, Oregon

At Georgia, Dan Lanning fueled the rise of first-round LB prospect Quay Walker and Nakobe Dean, who’s now in line to start with the Philadelphia Eagles. Lanning knows how to put talented linebackers in position to succeed. He’ll have his opportunity to do it again with Iowa transfer Jestin Jacobs, who’s coming back from a soft tissue injury suffered in 2022.

Jacobs only played two games before missing the rest of 2022 with an injury, but he has one of the most exciting ceilings in the 2024 NFL Draft class. At 6’4″, 238 pounds, he has impressive size and length, and yet, he’s very natural managing space and changing directions in coverage. Jacobs’ size and athleticism allude to vast projected versatility.

Tommy Eichenberg (35) celebrates a tackle during the first half of the NCAA football game against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium.

5) Tommy Eichenberg, Ohio State

Tommy Eichenberg had fans as a potential early-round LB prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft cycle after experiencing a career resurgence under defensive coordinator Jim Knowles. He racked up 120 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, a pick, and three PBUs but ultimately chose to return to school for the 2023 campaign. Now, he’s a top LB in the 2024 class.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Big Board

At 6’2″, 239 pounds, Eichenberg brings contagious energy and play pace at the second level. He’s an extremely explosive athlete, but 2022 was the first year he truly reined in his traits and learned to play with more control. He can stack and shed, as well as invade gaps and wrangle up QBs as a blitzer, and his hot motor makes him a constant threat around the ball.

4) Danny Stutsman, Oklahoma

Danny Stutsman was one of the most productive defenders in the entire nation in 2022, putting up 125 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, two picks, and five pass deflections. He’s a proven playmaker in all phases, and he returns as one of the most established 2024 NFL Draft prospects at the LB position.

At 6’3″, 229 pounds, Stutsman has great size, and he plays with an unmatchable motor in pursuit. Not only does he play all the way to the final whistle, but he has the high-end speed and explosiveness to run down ball carriers with his range. His instant acceleration when triggering is awe-inspiring, and while he can refine his instincts further, all of the traits are there.

3) Omar Speights, LSU

LSU has a future star in Harold Perkins at linebacker, but it’ll be just as exciting to see Oregon State transfer Omar Speights play his first season under the SEC lights. In four years with the Beavers, Speights accumulated 304 total tackles, 25 TFLs, five sacks, three picks, and four deflections. With the Tigers, he aims to make himself known.

Speights’ ceiling might not be quite as high as other prospects on this list, but he’s a sound three-down linebacker at 6’1″, 237 pounds. He’s a sturdy tackler with good closing speed and reaction quickness, and while he doesn’t have much production in coverage, Speights does have the vision and route-recognition ability to process and respond to plays in zone.

2) Jeremiah Trotter Jr., Clemson

One year after Clemson boasted Trenton Simpson on the NFL Draft stage, the Tigers have two more potential early-round LB prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft. Jeremiah Trotter Jr. — son of an All-Pro NFL linebacker of the same name — comes in as our second-ranked LB on our preliminary rankings. Another season of production could lock Trotter in this range.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Prospect Watchlist

In 2022, Trotter put up 89 tackles, 13.5 TFLs, 6.5 sacks, two picks, and five deflections. At 6’0″, 230 pounds, he’s a dense, well-leveraged linebacker over the middle of the field who offers great instincts and awareness for his age. He has a natural feel for how to combat, evade, and bend around blocks, and he’s a very reliable tackler with sturdy form and closing burst.

Who Is the Best LB in the 2024 NFL Draft?

Clemson lays claim to both of the top LB prospects on our preliminary 2024 NFL Draft positional rankings. Trotter was actually more productive than his counterpart in 2022, but looking at his traits and versatility, it’s hard to keep the top spot from Barrett Carter in the summer months.

1) Barrett Carter, Clemson

Carter is Clemson’s “Agent 0.” A former five-star recruit who was timed in the 4.5 range coming out of high school, Carter amassed 73 tackles, 10.5 TFLs, 5.5 sacks, two interceptions, eight deflections, and two forced fumbles in 2022. At 6’1″, 225 pounds, his versatility and attacking mentality are both nearly impossible to replicate.

Trotter might have better discipline as a traditional LB, but in a modern NFL, where versatile linebackers create a mismatch, Carter projects extremely well. He has the fluidity to drop into coverage and play the slot, but his value is highest in the box, where he has the searing explosiveness, quick trigger, and pass-rushing chops to be a down-to-down nightmare.

Honorable Mentions

  • Mason Cobb, USC
  • Jackson Mitchell, UConn
  • Francisco Mauigoa, Miami (FL)
  • Justin Flowe, Arizona State
  • Khari Coleman, Ole Miss
  • Ty’Ron Hopper, Missouri
  • Tatum Bethune, Florida State
  • Deshawn Pace, Cincinnati
  • Travion Brown, Arizona State
  • Kam Arnold, Boston College

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Projected Depth Chart, Rosters, and Predictions




For the first time since Chris Ballard took over the personnel duties for the Indianapolis Colts in 2017, he has a fresh start with a rookie QB. There were wholesale changes made this offseason, and while we won’t know until September if the team can truly contend in the AFC South, they finally have something they’ve lacked for so long … hope for the future.

Everything You Need Ahead of the Indianapolis Colts’ 2023 NFL Season

Since Andrew Luck suddenly retired before the 2019 season, many veteran passers have come and gone from Indianapolis. Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, and Matt Ryan have all been recycled through the program, with varying degrees of success and failure.

MORE: Where Does Indianapolis’ Offense Rank in 2023?

What changes did the Colts make in 2023 to bring life to a franchise that has been clinging on to relevancy over the past half-decade?

Indianapolis Colts Roster Changes

  • Players Signed
    • EDGE Samson Ebukam
    • K Matt Gay
    • LB E.J. Speed
    • WR Ashton Dulin
    • DT Taven Bryan
    • QB Gardner Minshew
    • WR Isaiah McKenzie
    • TE Pharaoh Brown
    • EDGE Khalid Kareem
    • S Rodney McLeod
    • CB Tony Brown

McKenzie, Gay, and Ebukam are likely the most significant names on the list. It should come as no surprise that Ballard did very little needle-moving during free agency. He’s never been one to make big moves during that period.

On the surface, losing Gilmore really hurts the Colts’ defense in the short term. However, few teams have done a better job of evaluating and developing talent at the CB position than Indianapolis over the years, and the Colts drafted three of them.

  • Players Lost
    • K Chase McLaughlin (Buccaneers)
    • G Matt Pryor (49ers)
    • LB Bobby Okereke (Giants)
    • WR Parris Campbell (Giants)
    • CB Brandon Facyson (Raiders)

Okereke really exploded when forced into the main playmaking role with Shaquille Leonard out with an injury for most of the 2022 NFL season. Losing him means losing an integral piece of the middle of the defense, although getting Leonard back healthy in 2023 will help mitigate that loss.

Zaire Franklin and Speed should be more than enough from a depth standpoint.

  • Expired Contracts
    • EDGE Yannick Ngakoue
    • EDGE Ben Banogu
    • OT Dennis Kelly
    • S Armani Watts
  • Players Cut/Waived
    • RB Darrynton Evans
    • WR Kristian Wilkerson
    • QB Nick Foles
    • DL Chris Williams
    • DL Kameron Cline
    • TE Nikola Kalinic
    • TE Jalen Wydermyer
    • QB Matt Ryan (cut/retired)
  • Players Drafted
    • QB Anthony Richardson
    • CB Julius Brents
    • WR Josh Downs
    • OT Blake Freeland
    • DT Adetomiwa Adebawore
    • CB Darius Rush
    • S Daniel Scott
    • TE Will Mallory
    • RB Evan Hull
    • EDGE Titus Leo
    • CB Jaylon Jones
    • OT Jake Witt

Richardson may or may not start right away for the Colts with Minshew in the fold. However, he is the team’s future, and fans should be incredibly excited about his unbelievable physical tools.

Indianapolis Colts Coaching Staff in 2023

  • Head Coach: Shane Steichen
    • Assistant to the Head Coach: TJ Ingels
  • Offensive Coordinator: Jim Bob Cooter
    • Wide Receivers: Brian Bratton
    • Wide Receivers: Reggie Wayne
    • Tight Ends: Tom Manning
    • Offensive Line: Tony Sparano Jr.
    • Quarterbacks: Cam Turner
    • Assistant Offensive Line: Chris Watt
    • Running Backs: DeAndre Smith
  • Defensive Coordinator: Gus Bradley
    • Linebackers/Run Game Coordinator: Richard Smith
    • Defensive Quality Control: Brent Jackson
    • Assistant Linebackers: Cato June
    • Defensive Backs: Ron Milus
    • Assistant Defensive Backs: Mike Mitchell
    • Defensive Line: Nate Ollie
    • Assistant Defensive Line: Matt Raich
  • Special Teams Coordinator: Brian Mason
    • Assistant Special Teams: Joe Hastings
    • Head Strength and Conditioning: Richard Howell
    • Assistant Strength and Conditioning: Zane Fakes

Steichen is an outstanding offensive architect.

He found a way to absolutely maximize Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia, helping him achieve near-MVP levels of passing and rushing efficiency. However, the offensive line was outrageously talented, and the receiving corps was one of the best in the entire league.

MORE: Where Does Indianapolis’ Defense Rank in 2023?

Keeping continuity on the defensive side of the ball with Bradley was a good decision by the organization.

The Colts’ defense wasn’t one of the best in the league, but relative to the talent on the depth chart, it performed admirably.

Predicting the Indianapolis Colts Depth Chart

Indianapolis colts


  • QB: Anthony Richardson, Gardner Minshew, Sam Ehlinger
  • RB: Jonathan Taylor, Zack Moss, Evan Hull, Deon Jackson
  • WR: Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce, Josh Downs, Isaiah McKenzie, Ashton Dulin, Mike Strachan
  • TE: Jelani Woods, Mo Alie-Cox, Will Mallory
  • LT: Bernhard Raimann, Blake Freeland
  • LG: Quenton Nelson, Emil Ekiyor
  • C: Ryan Kelly
  • RG: Will Fries, Danny Pinter
  • RT: Braden Smith, Jake Witt


  • DE: Kwity Paye, Samson Ebukam, Dayo Odeyingbo, Tyquan Lewis, Khalid Kareem, Leo Titus
  • DT: DeForest Buckner, Grover Stewart, Taven Bryan, Adetomiwa Adebawore
  • LB: Shaquille Leonard, Zaire Franklin, E.J. Speed, Grant Stuard, JoJo Domann
  • CB: Isaiah Rodgers Sr., Kenny Moore II, Julius Brents, Darius Rush, Dallis Flowers, Jaylon Jones, Tony Brown
  • S: Julian Blackmon, Rodney McLeod, Nick Cross, Daniel Scott

2022 Results and Standings

The Colts’ offense struggled mightily in 2022. They scored 30 points just three times all season and lost two of those games, both late in the year. Their 4-12-1 record was bad enough to secure them the fourth pick in the NFL Draft, which then allowed them to secure the future of their franchise with the selection of Richardson.

However, the Texans had a worse record in the division, and both the Bears and Cardinals finished with worse records league-wide.

2023 Power Ranking and Season Outlook

The latest edition of the Pro Football Network Power Rankings by Dallas Robinson has the Colts coming in at 28th.

“It feels like the Colts have one of the widest ranges of potential outcomes of any team in the NFL,” Robinson wrote. “If Anthony Richardson can immediately capitalize on his legendary athletic profile and deliver an Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign, Indianapolis has enough playmakers to compete for the AFC South title.”

MORE: Indianapolis Colts 2023 Schedule

The Colts do have a massive range of outcomes, and it is because of the unknown at the quarterback position. Richardson could end up being everything we dreamed of, but that is likely to take quite a bit of time to round into form.

According to PFN’s model, the Colts have one of the easiest schedules in the NFL heading into 2023. If Richardson plays beyond his years under center, the team could surprise everyone and push for a playoff birth.

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