Reggie Gilbert, LB
Gilbert was signed as an undrafted free agent during the 2016 offseason. He eventually made the team as a member of the practice squad, and stayed there until Week 15 of the 2017 season. He was called up to the active roster for the final two weeks of 2017 after numerous injuries on defense.
He took advantage of those final weeks and shined on the football field. The games did not matter, as the Green Bay Packers did not qualify for the playoffs. Gilbert knew this was the one opportunity he had to make an impact.
Gilbert recorded a sack and a pair of tackles in the two games, but his effort on the field was exciting to see. As an EDGE rusher, he really has a knack for getting to the quarterback. Against the Vikings, Gilbert was able to make Case Keenum uncomfortable by hitting him three times and forcing four pressures.
Coaches and management alike had a lot of kind words to say:
“He played well when he came up. He was prepared and was competing,” head coach Mike McCarthy told the media.
“His progression, you wish every rookie could see what he did, how to change his body and become a pro,” general manager Brian Gutekunst said. “That was impressive to see.”
With the focus on the secondary and wide receivers in the draft, a shot to make the roster this year seems evident for Gilbert. The thought was an EDGE rusher would have been taken by the Packers early, but the organization must trust Gilbert with a bigger role in 2018.
More playing time is exactly what Gilbert needs. His work in 2017 was just a small sample size of what we can expect for him in the green and gold. That makes him a clear-cut candidate for a breakout season in 2018.