3. Edge – Rashan Gary – Age 23
GM Brian Gutekunst has a type in Round 1, and it’s freak athletes at premium positions. Rashan Gary is exactly that. Gary registered a RAS (Relative Athletic Score) of 9.95 (ELITE). More projection than finished product when the Packers drafted him, it’s easy to see why they were willing to swing for the fences. Edge rusher is one of the most important positions on any defense, and having a freak athlete with the work ethic Gary appears to have, is definitely a risk most are willing to take.
As a rookie, Rashan Gary showed a few flashes here and there but was largely regulated to a reserve role behind the Smith brothers. In year two, Gary seemingly put the work in during the off-season and took a noticeable jump. Gary got after the quarterback more often, registering a 15.1 percent disruption rate, per NFL Next Gen Stats, which ranked in the top 10 in all of the NFL. This led to Gary supplanting Preston Smith as a starter by the end of the year, and for the future.
Year three will be critical for his development under new defensive coordinator Joe Barry, but it’s not inconceivable to see Gary become a double-digit sack artist for years to come. It’s entirely possible that Gary could become one of this defense’s best/most important players now and in the future.
A premium pass-rusher is a position most teams would be happy to build their defenses around. If Gary is able to reach even 85 percent of his ceiling in the NFL, that is a player every team in the league would be happy to have.