The Ravens didn’t necessarily need defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. But the NFL’s top scoring defense was certainly happy to get him.
The Ravens traded for the former Maryland standout last week, sending the Minnesota Vikings a pair of draft picks for one of the NFL’s most productive pass rushers. When Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta announced the move to the team’s coaches, defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale said the “whole defensive staff” gave him a standing ovation.
“I think my favorite person in the world’s Eric DeCosta," Martindale said in a video conference call Thursday. “I told him that personally.”
Martindale said Ngakoue’s acquisition reminded him of the Ravens' surprise signing of Pro Bowl pass rusher Elvis Dumervil in 2013. After a paperwork snafu with the Denver Broncos led him to Baltimore, Dumervil had 26½ sacks over the next two seasons.
The trade should upgrade a talented defense preparing for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday that adding Ngakoue, who had five sacks and two forced fumbles in six games with Minnesota, is a “big positive for us.” Outside linebacker Pernell McPhee said Wednesday that he was “all smiles” after learning of the trade, and called Ngakoue “a guy who can cause havoc.”
“Everybody — all of his teammates, the guys on defense — we’re all fired up and happy that we got him,” Martindale said.