OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Yannick Ngakoue’s Maryland football journey has officially come full circle. He grew up in Bowie, starred in college with the University of Maryland, now he’s back home as pro.
"It feels great coming back home," he said during a video press conference on Friday. "One of the perks for me is being able to be right by my mom."
The Ravens acquired Ngakoue from the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday in exchange for a reported 2021 third-round draft pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round pick. The 25-year-old is an elite defensive end that joins one of the most stout defensive units in the NFL.
"Definitely a top defense. I’ve been part of a top defense before, in 2017, and I know what it takes to uphold that standard."
In 69 career games with the Vikings and Jaguars the former Pro-Bowler has 134 tackles and 42.5 sacks. He should fit right in with his new team and its take-away mentality. Ngakoue has 16 forced fumbles to his credit, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
"I’m just a guy that wants to make an huge impact," he said. "When you see the ball come out you know this is going to be a great game. So, I always try to pride myself on trying to force a turnover, for sure."
Ngakoue said he actually grew up rooting for the Steelers. That's the same team he’ll face on November 1 when he makes his Ravens debut.
"I’ve had a lot of success, personally, versus that team. I’m definitely, definitely super excited to be able to play my first game, my first Ravens and Steelers game."
Ngakoue is scheduled to be a free agent after the season. As for a potential long-term deal with the Ravens and if that is what he is aiming for he said: "Things like that I leave up to God. If it's meant for me to be here for a long time then that's what it is and I'll be more than excited to be back home. This is where it all started for me with my dream."