9. Yannick Ngakoue
The Chicago Bears defense was expected to be sub-par in 2023. The unit was a bunch of young players who could be good, but still had plenty to figure out. And while it started that way early in the season, it turned around quickly. The Bears ended the season being a top-10 efficient defensive unit in the league.
Jaylon Johnson, Kyler Gordon, and Tyrique Stevenson had the secondary on lockdown, but the defensive line struggled to push pressure on the opposing quarterback. That changed after a mid-season trade to acquire Montez Sweat from the Washington Commanders. In nine games, he led the team for the season with 6 sacks.
Yannick Ngakoue was on the defensive line and started 13 games for the Bears. After an injury in December, the Bears placed him on IR and didn't allow him to play for the remainder of the season. He recorded 4 sacks and 22 tackles.
The Bears are fortunate to have signed him to a one-year deal. His production was lackluster and most of the team's success came when he was off the field. The Bears can move on from Ngakoue without any penalty and he can try to convince another team he is still good enough to contribute.