Green Bay Packers first-round pick Rashan Gary has made a strong start to training camp.
When Rashan Gary’s name was called in the opening round of April’s draft, it was met with mixed reviews. An elite athlete, yes, but Gary’s production at college was a concern. The question was whether he’d be able to translate his potential into production at the NFL level.
That question is still a long way from being answered, but Gary has continued to impress, from the offseason program and now into training camp. The Green Bay Packers‘ first-round pick, so far, is making selecting him 12th overall look like a great decision.
Any questions over his effort or commitment can be dismissed.
“The one thing about him you love is his effort,” defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said on Monday. “Sometimes we have to slow him down in the walkthrough.”
And there was even more evidence about Gary’s commitment to improve during Saturday’s practice. According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Gary spent “several minutes” talking to All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari after practice.
Learning from one of the best pass protectors in football will only help Gary as a pass rusher.
And it’s not just Gary’s effort, but also his play on the field that impressed the coaches and analysts. Demovsky noted that Gary has a 4-1 record during one-on-one drills.
Ryan Wood, Jim Owczarski and Tom Silverstein of Packers News wrote an excellent in-depth article with notes from practice. In the article, they noted how Gary used to study tape of Julius Peppers. And this paragraph stood out:
"“One play Sunday was particularly reminiscent of the type of athleticism Peppers showed in his career, the rare combination of size and speed. Gary rushed unblocked up the A gap for what would have been a crushing sack if not for the quarterback’s red, no-touch jersey.”"
It’s been a decade since Green Bay last had a pick as high as 12th overall, and it’s in this part of the draft you expect to find difference makers on offense or defense. Gary has the potential to be just that for the Packers, and he can be a star in this defense.
Of course, we can’t expect that to happen right away. Gary is young, he has a lot to learn, and he will make mistakes. It’s his rookie season.
But the fact he’s made a fast start to training camp is a very good sign. And it also helps that he won’t have the pressure of being forced to start every game, as veterans Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith are ahead of him on the depth chart.
Gary could be a long-term starter in Green Bay’s defense, and he has superstar potential.
After a great start to training camp, he’s already proved a lot of people wrong, and is showing just how dominant he could be for the Packers.