Packers: Rashan Gary on the verge of becoming a household name

Green Bay Packers, Rashan Gary (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Rashan Gary (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers chose the perfect time to select a developmental EDGE rusher back in 2019, even if we didn’t know it yet. Of course, fans are always wanting that immediate “impact player” to help put the team over the top, but developing that player can take time.

Brian Gutekunst, as we all know, has a type in round one (high ceiling prospects at premium positions). Which is exactly what Rashan Gary was when he was available at pick 12.

Gutekunst had enough foresight and patience to see what could become of the former Michigan standout if he was given the time and resources to reach his immense ceiling. Hoping that someday, he would be able to deliver that “impact player” fans were clamoring for, even if it was a slow burn.

His selection at pick 12 was a surprise to many given the resources that had just been allocated in free agency to EDGE rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith. This of course wasn’t by mistake, because the front office knew it would take Gary time to acclimate from the 4-3 defensive end he played in college to a standup outside linebacker in Green Bay’s 3-4.

The presence of the “Smith Brothers” allowed Gary to play in limited snaps as a situational pass-rusher, while acclimating at the NFL level and providing mentorship to Gary along the way.

Rashan Gary’s ascension as a pass-rusher

  • In 2019, Rashan Gary finished his rookie season with just two sacks and three quarterback hits while playing 24% of the regular-season defensive snaps.
  • In 2020, Rashan Gary finished second on the team with 5.0 sacks, had 11 quarterback hits and five tackles for loss, while playing just 48% of the regular-season defensive snaps.

It was no secret that Rashan Gary began to break out in the second half of last season. Now, thrust info a full-time starting role it would appear he’s taken another step in his development. Going from rotational pass rusher to the team’s third outside linebacker to an impactful full-time player.

Games like this past Sunday’s against Washington help illustrate his arc of development, registering what I would argue was the best game of his young career.

Gary registered 10 pressures, four quarterback hits, and two sacks. Just an absolutely ridiculous stat line from the third-year EDGE rusher. His relentless pursuit of the quarterback finally led to some actual take-downs that were much deserved.

Rashan Gary’s pass rush stats among the league’s best

  • Total Pressures: 35 (5th best)
  • QB Hits: 9 (2nd best)
  • Pass-Rush Win%: 24.3% (3rd best)

In short, Rashan Gary is here, and he’s here to stay. Gary is explosive, fast, physical, relentless, loves the game, and works for everything he’s gotten. The third-year EDGE rusher is just scratching the surface of what’s to come, and if there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that those pressures will assuredly turn into more sacks.

Either way, he’s disruptive and making his presence known around the league. Rashan Gary is going to continue to be one of the Packers’ best players on the field now, and in the future.

Paying Aaron Jones was the right decision. dark. Next

The Packers’ coaching staff/front-office showed patience in handling Gary the right way so that they could maximize the talent of a premium athlete at a premium position. Now the Packers get to sit back and reap the rewards of their foresight and patience.