Packers 2020 roster preview: Preston Smith key to defensive success

Green Bay Packers, Preston Smith (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Preston Smith (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Preston Smith is key to the Packers defense.

Preston Smith wasted little time showing the type of impact he could make for the Green Bay Packers.

In his first game for the Packers, he made 1.5 sacks, including the game-winner as he sacked Mitch Trubisky on fourth-and-8 in the final minute of regulation.

These huge plays happened throughout the season, Smith proving to be an excellent signing by GM Brian Gutekunst last spring.

2019 stats

Smith started all 16 games for the Packers, finishing the regular season with 12 sacks, 23 quarterback hits, 56 tackles, one forced fumble, and one interception.

2019 review

Smith finished second on the team in sacks and quarterback hits behind only Za’Darius Smith. Together, the Smith Bros. formed one of the most dominant pass-rushing tandems in the NFL, combining for more sacks than any other duo in the league.

According to ESPN, Preston Smith’s pass rush win rate was 23 percent, which tied with Za’Darius Smith for the eighth-best among edge defenders.

In the postseason, Smith added another two sacks. According to Pro Football Focus, the two Smiths combined for 18 pressures in the win over the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round.

Smith made an impact all season long, showing why the Packers signed him to a four-year deal in the offseason.

Odds of making roster: 100 percent

No doubt about this. Not only will Smith make the Packers’ roster, but he could also soon be joining the NFC’s Pro Bowl roster.

What to expect in 2020?

If he stays healthy, Smith will again be an every-week starter in the Packers defense. The snap counts between the two Smiths and second-year Rashan Gary will be interesting. Gary is expected to take on a bigger role this season, but will that mean either Preston or Za’Darius Smith is rotated out of the game more often?

Another possibility is that Preston Smith and one of Za’Darius Smith or Gary plays on the outside, with the other rushing from the inside. Getting all three on the field at the same time could be a lot of fun.

After a breakout season, Preston Smith should be set for another big year for the Packers.