Packers edge rusher Rashan Gary is set for a bigger role this year.
While the 2020 draft class is important, it’s the players selected early in the 2019 draft that could make a significant impact for the Green Bay Packers this season.
One of those players is edge rusher Rashan Gary, selected 12th overall in last year’s draft.
Can Gary make a second-year jump?
Gary finished his first season with two sacks, three quarterback hits, and 21 tackles. He played in all 16 games in the regular season.
Gary didn’t make the impact many hoped in his rookie season, but that wasn’t all on him. Part of that was the dominance of Za’Darius and Preston Smith ahead of him on the depth chart. While they were consistently pressuring quarterbacks and piling up the sacks, Mike Pettine kept them on the field.
Gary had moments where he showed why he was the 12th overall pick, in particular against the Chicago Bears late in the year when he made a sack and a QB hit.
Many draft analysts said a year ago that Gary would need some time to develop, and he was given that in his rookie season. He was able to learn from the Smith Bros. which should only help his game in the coming years.
The concern was that he couldn’t jump ahead of Kyler Fackrell on the depth chart, with Fackrell playing more snaps. Some of that could’ve been due to Gary’s limitations in coverage. According to Pro Football Reference, he gave up 55 yards and a touchdown in his coverage on just three targets.
Gary also only played five percent of the defensive snaps in the NFC Championship Game. The fact the Packers didn’t bring him into the game despite their struggles defensively was a concern.
But Gary had some great moments in his rookie season and will need more time to develop.
Odds of making roster: 100 percent
Gary should see an increased role in year two, especially now Fackrell is no longer on the roster.
What to expect in 2020?
Pettine has said he expects Gary to take on a bigger role this season, which is to be expected. Now with a year of NFL experience, Gary will be expected to make a jump in his second season and make more of an impact.
Many star players take a year or two to begin consistently playing at a high level and that’s the hope for Gary. He’s clearly a talented player and the Packers have confidence in him. He’ll be a player to watch when training camp begins.