Yannick Ngakoue hasn’t been a Chicago Bear for 24 hours, yet he comes to the team with some background knowledge of guys who came before him. During Ngakoue’s introductory press conference, he noted that he loved to watch Julius Peppers’ Bears tape when he was learning the position.
“A guy that was a great power rusher,” Ngakoue said. “A guy that had great speed off the edge.”
Ngakoue has just one degree of separation from Peppers via longtime NFL coach Rod Marinelli. Ngakoue played under Marinelli when Marinelli was the Raiders defensive line coach in 2021. Peppers played under Marinelli when Marinelli was the Bears assistant head coach and defensive coordinator from 2010-2012.
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Peppers’ stop in Chicago was short but he made a big impact in his time here. He made the Pro Bowl in three of his four seasons with the team, and was an All-Pro twice. Peppers notched 37.5 of his 159.5 career sacks with the Bears, and added 10 forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries. He’s a surefire Hall of Famer, and apparently Marinelli sees a lot of Peppers in Ngakoue.
“He used to tell me we have a lot of the same attributes and I just have to tap into that skillset and just show the world.”
Ngakoue has a ways to go to match Peppers’ output, but there’s no denying he’s highly talented and remarkably consistent. If he can tap into that Peppers skillset even more, he’ll go a long way towards improving the entire Bears defense, single handedly.