The Green Bay Packers will be hoping for a big season from Za’Darius Smith in 2019.
The big question entering the offseason was whether the Green Bay Packers would be willing to spend the money needed to sign a top edge rusher. Well, GM Brian Gutekunst answered by adding not just one, but two of the most talented pass rushers available.
The first was Za’Darius Smith, a player whose production has been improving throughout his career with the Baltimore Ravens.
Now the Packers will be hoping he can become a star in Mike Pettine’s defense.
With the Ravens, Smith started eight of the 16 games he played, finishing with a career-best 8.5 sacks.
Odds of making roster: 100 percent
If it was possible to go higher than 100 percent, I would. The Packers need Za’Darius Smith to make an impact right away on defense after signing him to a four-year contract worth $66 million.
What to expect in 2019?
Due to the Ravens’ depth at edge rusher, Smith never started more than eight games in a season. That’s about to change. Barring an injury, Smith will almost certainly be a starter for all 16 games for the Packers. Along with Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith is going to be one of the most important players on defense for Green Bay.
While some fans might be concerned about the fact Smith has never had more than 8.5 sacks in a season, consider this: according to Pro Football Reference, Smith finished with 25 QB hits last year, which was tied with J.J. Watt for 10th in the NFL.
Now consider that each of the players who finished in the top-10 started at least 10 games, and all but two of them started all 16 regular season games. Smith only started eight for Baltimore.
So even he finished with less than double-digit sacks last year, he was still making an impact for the NFL’s No. 5 pass defense.
Za’Darius Smith is the player this defense desperately needed, and he will give the Green Bay Packers’ pass rush a huge upgrade this season.