Packers: Grading 2019 draft class after two seasons

Green Bay Packers, Elgton Jenkins (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Elgton Jenkins (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Two years on, the Green Bay Packers‘ 2019 draft class is shaping up to be a good one.

The Packers entered the draft with two first-round picks, one of which they moved up nine spots with, selecting Darnell Savage.

It was Brian Gutekunst’s second draft class as Packers general manager. It’s too soon to tell, but if we had to review his three drafts so far, this one is looking like the best.

With two seasons in the books, let’s grade each pick in the 2019 draft by Green Bay.

Round 1: Rashan Gary, EDGE

The signs of improvement were there for Rashan Gary in 2020, particularly in the second half of the season. It’s rare the Packers have a pick as high as 12th overall, and you expect to land a difference-maker in that part of the draft.

It’s fair to say Gary hasn’t yet been that player consistently for the Packers, but he looks well on his way.

Gary’s snap counts almost doubled from his rookie season and late in the year, he started to show why the Packers drafted him so high.

Take the Week 16 win over the Tennessee Titans as an example. According to Pro Football Focus, Gary had six pressures and four stops. He was even better in the divisional round win over the Los Angeles Rams, pressuring Jared Goff all afternoon and finishing with 1.5 sacks and three QB hits.

If Gary can take another jump in year three, look out.

Grade: B

Round 1: Darnell Savage, S

Like Gary, Darnell Savage took his game to a whole new level in the second half of the 2020 season. Savage had shown potential prior to that, being named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team last year, but had been inconsistent.

In the first half of the season, Savage had two pass defenses and no interceptions. In the final eight games, he made 10 pass defenses and four interceptions.

Paired with Adrian Amos, you’d struggle to find a better safety combination in the second half of the season.

Savage is a rising star. Expect a third-year jump like the one we saw from Jaire Alexander.

Grade: A

Round 2: Elgton Jenkins, G

Ladies and gentlemen, the pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. No, not the Packers’ draft, but the entire class.

Elgton Jenkins has been nothing short of phenomenal in his first two seasons. Selected to the PFWA All-Rookie Team in 2019 and the Pro Bowl in 2020, Jenkins has been a superstar no matter where he’s lined up along the offensive line.

While his favored position is guard, Jenkins has been asked to play both tackle spots and center this season and he still maintained a high level of play at each spot.

How’s this for a stat? According to Pro Football Focus, Jenkins has played 1,304 pass-blocking snaps over the past two seasons. He’s allowed one sack.

Oh, and he shut down Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald in the divisional round. It’s only a matter of time before Jenkins is an every-year All-Pro.

Grade: A+

Round 3: Jace Sternberger, TE

Unfortunately, the Packers haven’t hit on every pick. It’s far too early to judge Jace Sternberger, who has battled injuries in his first two seasons. That said, the early returns haven’t been too promising with 12 catches for 114 yards and a touchdown since 2019.

It’s still early days and Sternberger, who has the potential to turn things around. He will enter an important third season.

Grade: D

Round 5: Kingsley Keke, DT

Kingsley Keke took a big step in year two, playing over four times as many defensive snaps as his rookie season. Keke had four sacks, eight quarterback hits, and 12 pressures in 2020 while starting nine games. For a fifth-round pick, the Packers have to be delighted with the way Keke has played.

Grade: B

Round 6: Ka’dar Hollman, CB

Ka’dar Hollman’s role has been mostly on special teams with limited snaps on defense. According to Pro Football Reference, he allowed just a 41.2 completion percentage with a 51.8 passer rating on balls thrown his way in 2020. It’s a small sample size but I’m interested to see more from Hollman next year.

Grade: B

Round 6: Dexter Williams, RB

Dexter Williams hasn’t been on the field for long either on offense or special teams. With just seven attempts for 19 yards at 2.7 yards per carry, Williams has struggled in the limited game time he’s seen.

Grade: D

Round 7: Ty Summers, ILB

Ty Summers might not be an All-Pro selection any time soon, but in the seventh round the Packers found a special teams regular and someone who can fill in on defense. Summers finished the 2020 season with 39 tackles and played almost half of the defensive snaps in the NFC Championship Game.

Grade: B

Next. Packers three-round 2021 mock draft. dark