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Chicago signed Willie Young to a 3-year, $9 million contract back in 2014, and the Bears sure got their money’s worth last season.  The former NC State defensive end only started in 8 of the 15 games that he played in, but that didn’t stop him from recording 10 sacks.  Young was on a trajectory to be a major part of the Bears defense in 2015-16, but then he tore his achilles in week 16 of last year.  Things seemingly continued to work against Young while he was recovering.  Eight days after his injury, the Bears fired General Manager Phil Emery, who signed Young to his contract.  Then head coach John Fox hired Vic Fangio to be the defensive coordinator, and reprogram the Bears defense with a 3-4 scheme, which bumped Young to a role at outside linebacker.

It looks like Young could be on the roster bubble when teams are cut to 53 players in 2 weeks.  He’s coming off of an injury and is entering his 6th NFL season at a new position where he currently sits 5th on the depth chart.

Willie is handling the situation in typical “Willie” form.  He has always been one of my favorite players with a camera or microphone in his face.

“Man, I don’t give a (bleep) about no depth chart,” he said Tuesday on a bench outside Halas Hall. “I’m a seventh-round draft pick. I ain’t supposed to be here right now. Let’s not forget about that. So depth charts have always been irrelevant to me.” (Chicago Tribune)

Not many people can pull off referring to themselves in third person.  Young is a pro at it.

“I see a Willie Young who’s getting back to his form,” Young said. “Absolutely. I never lost my confidence. It’s just a matter of me being able now to run off, push off (my leg), fight pressure off it, sustain blocks and move fluidly. That’s the catch. That’s all I’m waiting on.  The biggest thing I can control is me coming out, balling out and doing what Willie Young been doing. Going fishing. Sacking quarterbacks. Making plays. And whatever happens after that happens after that.” (Chicago Tribune)

Young made a name for himself sacking quarterbacks and making plays at NC State.  He ranks 7th all-time in school history in sacks (20.5) and 2nd in tackles for loss (45.5).  Young also earned 2nd Team All-ACC honors in 2009 for the Wolfpack.

 

Whether Willie Young plays for the Bears, or another NFL team in Week 1, he will continue to be “Willie,” and continue sacking quarterbacks and making plays.

Matthew is Co-Owner of Pack Insider. He writes for all sports, with a focus on football and recruiting, and is in charge of business strategy. He is an NC State alum who majored in business. Matthew is also the lead pastor of The Point Church in Cary, NC.

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Pack in the Pros

2 NC State Players Were Invited to the 2024 NFL Combine

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Yesterday, the NFL released the names of the 321 prospects invited to the 2024 NFL Combine, and Linebacker Payton Wilson and Center Dylan McMahon made the cut.

Wilson was a Unanimous All-American, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, 1st Team All-ACC and won the Butkus and Nagurski Awards. McMahon earned All-ACC Honorable Mention this year.

Also, Long Snapper Joe Shimko’s has been invited to a Specialists Showcase at the end of the Combine.

Shimko was named the best Long Snapper in College Football this season.

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Pack in the Pros

Where is NC State’s Payton Wilson Landing in Mock Drafts?

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Former NC State Linebacker Payton Wilson won the Butkus and Nagurski Awards this season, and is primed to be one of the top Linebacker’s taken in the 2024 NFL Draft. With the Draft Order set after the end of the Super Bowl, where is the former Wolfpack Linebacker projecting to land in the 2024 NFL Draft.

ProFootballFocus – 2nd Round – #41 – Green Bay Packers
PlayerProfiler – 2nd Round – #53 – Miami Dolphins
33rd Team – 3rd Round – #67 – Washington Commanders
NFL.com – 3rd Round – #78 – Philadelphia Eagles
Tankathon – 3rd Round – #82 – Indianapolis Colts
DraftWire – 3rd Round – #84 – Pittsburgh Steelers
FanSided – 3rd Round – #87 – Dallas Cowboys
The Athletic – 3rd Round – #97 – Philadelphia Eagles

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Pack in the Pros

2 Former NC State Football Players Take Home Super Bowl Rings

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Two former NC State Football players took home Super Bowl rings last night: Offensive Guard Joe Thuney and Wide Receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

Unfortunately, Thuney was unable to play last night due to a pectoral injury, but Valdes-Scantling did catch a touchdown.

Valdes-Scantling finished with 3 receptions for 20 yards and a touchdown.

Thuney has now broken his tie with Center Jim Ritcher, becoming the NC State football player with the most Super Bowl appearances, and Valdes-Scantling is tied for 3rd. Thuney has been to 5 Super Bowls in 8 seasons.

Joe Thuney – 5
Jim Ritcher – 4
Marquez Valdes-Scantling – 2
Mike Cofer – 2
Perry Williams – 2
Mike Jones – 2
Torry Holt – 2
Russell Wilson – 2
J.R. Sweezy – 2
Steven Hauschka – 2
(Bill Cowher – 2 – as a head coach)

Thuney now has 4 Super Bowl rings, which is tied for the 3rd most by a player in NFL history. Valdes-Scantling has 2.

NC State Players with the Most Super Bowl Rings

Offensive Guard Joe Thuney – 4
Wide Receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling – 2
Place Kicker Mike Cofer  – 2
Cornerback Perry Williams – 2

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Pack in the Pros

Joe Thuney’s 5 Super Bowl Appearances is the Most by an NC State Player

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Former All-American Offensive Lineman Joe Thuney is heading to his 5th Super Bowl in 8 NFL Seasons. Unfortunately, Thuney isn’t expected to play tomorrow due to a pectoral injury.

Thuney has now broken his tie with Center Jim Ritcher, becoming the NC State football player with the most Super Bowl appearances.

Joe Thuney – 5
Jim Ritcher – 4
Mike Cofer – 2
Perry Williams – 2
Mike Jones – 2
Torry Holt – 2
Russell Wilson – 2
J.R. Sweezy – 2
Steven Hauschka – 2
(Bill Cowher – 2 – as a head coach)

Thuney also holds the record for the most Super Bowl rings by a former NC State football player with 3, and has a chance to pick up his 4th tomorrow. Place Kicker Mike Cofer and Cornerback Perry Williams are the only other former Wolfpack football players to win 2 Super Bowls.

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