Last night the NFL Draft kicked off with just the first round, where the Packers had two picks. Let’s look at what the Packers did to fill some holes on this roster.
#12 Overall Pick: Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
First, before I give my opinion on the pick, here’s some videos on Gary and the reaction to him being drafted. The first two are videos from PFF which talk about Gary and his draft stock.
Now, here’s some reaction from CBS Sports and Cheesehead TV.
So there were a few knocks on Gary to begin with: his nagging shoulder injury, and the lack of production for a guy who was the #1 overall recruit coming into college.
Every single video on reaction for Gary is going to talk about production, production, production. He didn’t have the sack numbers you’d like, only 9.5 in three years. However for Packer fans for getting their boxers stuck in their ass, many would agree that he played out of position for his whole career at Michigan, and he was consistently doubled and tripled team at Michigan which led to much more production for another draft prospect from Michigan, like Chase Winovich.
The second thing I would like to address is that he is a project for Pettine to mold into whatever player he wants. It’s already being reported that Gary will be playing a mix between OLB and inside for the Packers. Nobody pre-draft really talked about Gary playing as an OLB.
So what does this mean? My guess is that Gary won’t be expected to start in his first year. Za’Darius and Preston Smith will start at OLB in the Packers 3-4 scheme, while Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark will be two of the three starting DL. That third spot will be open to competition, between Lowry, Lancaster, Adams, and whoever else the Packers draft. Gary will be used a Swiss army knife in this defense. He’ll come in to give breaks to the Smith bros, and he’ll see a lot of inside rush on passing downs in a nickel package. Gary played pretty much all of his career in a three point stance at Michigan, so he’ll have to adjust to standing up but he’s so fucking talented, he’ll be able to adapt quickly. Right now, I feel like a 50/50 between standing up and hand in the ground is a good guess for Gary on the Packers.
Another knock on Gary was his Wonderlic test which was a 9 out of 50. Pretty bad. However, Gary has dyslexia and has been outspoken about it. I’ve never had dyslexia or know anybody who has it, so I have no idea what he’s going through. But, I did find this information which should push all those worries away for Packer fans.
The final knock on Gary was his shoulder issue. According to him, he doesn’t have one. According to reports, he’ll need surgery either before this year or play through it. I am not sure what to think or who to believe here. If the Packers thought the shoulder injury would linger into his career, I don’t think they draft him. I have faith the Packers medical team said he was all good but only time will tell on this one. Again, calm your tits.
Finally, apparently the Packers loved Gary for a long time and viewed him differently than most teams – as an OLB. As fans we need to trust what the front office is doing, mainly because Gutekunst has given us now reason to doubt him so far. His draft last year was solid, his two free agency periods have been solid, there is no reason to bash the guy and say he sucks. So far, so good. This isn’t Ted Thompson anymore so get that out of your mind. This is a new Packers front office.
Bottom Line: I like the pick. I will like very pick that fills a need for the right value. If the Packers pick a QB in round 2? I won’t like it, because we have bigger needs. Round 5 QB? Eh, why not take a flier on a guy, Kizer hasn’t shown he can be counted on as a backup. DL/EDGE was a need for the Packers. It may not have been the biggest but it was a need and Gary fills that need. He is an athletic freak that works hard and showed that on tape. Let the Packers defensive staff mold him into the player they like before you start saying the “Packers a morons” or “are we GONNA HELP AARON?” or ” why didn’t get draft this guy” before you go in the corner and cry because you know more than our GM. The Packers have their list. They have their rankings. They loved Gary. Accept the pick, accept Gary and wait until he actually PLAYS IN THE NFL before you start telling him to fuck off.
#21 Overall Pick: Darnell Savage Jr.
The Packers traded their #30 overall pick and both their 2019 4th round picks to the Seahawks for this pick. Why? Apparently the Colts and Ravens were also very high on Savage. Ravens were at #22 and Colts were sitting at #26. Here’s some videos and reaction on Savage.
Mock draft after mock draft had the Packers taking WRs, TEs, OL, or even QBs in the first round. Yes maybe those are all needs, but I wrote multiple times that Safety was a position of need for the Packers. Yes, they signed Adrian Amos from the Bears but he is more of a Strong Safety. That left the Free Safety position open. Were they going to keep Tramon there? Many speculated, including myself, they might move Josh Jackson there. Instead the Packers traded up and got Savage. Obviously they love him. Also, according to Gutekunst the Safety class this year was very weak and they saw Safety as a big need. If you don’t see Safety as a big need, then you don’t trade up and wait to see if he’ll fall to you or if you’ll have to go with a guy like Taylor Rapp from Washington.
Savage is a safety who has played A LOT of football and played all over the field for Maryland. Here’s what his snaps looked like last year. I think Pettine will use him more on the back-end as a true Free Safety and move Amos into the box more. Although he covered the slot a lot in college, the Packers will obviously use guys like Tramon Williams or Josh Jackson more often than Savage. The guy is absolute athletic freak and will have the freedom to move around and make plays. I expect him to start day one for the Packers.
Bottom Line: More people like this pick than Gary at #12. Savage was a “sleeper” pick and a recent riser on a lot of draft boards. Even though all the talk about Savage is good, do the same thing here with Gary. Wait until he is on an NFL field before you judge him. Wait until he understand the defense before you love him or hate him. He’s never played in the NFL, let him. Again, this pick fills a need for the Packers. Gute has signed and picked his guys for Mike Pettine to make a top 10 defense out of. Let the coaches coach before we just anointing or bashing any picks in this draft.
Look Ahead: Packers have one pick in each the second and third round today. Expect offense for both picks. There a lot of OL who have dropped into the second round that were expected first round picks the Packers could get, but they’ll have to wait 12 picks. I expect most of those guys (Jawaan Taylor, Cody Ford, Dalton Risner) to be gone – but you never know. With Cole Madison back and Gute signing Billy Turner I can see them going elsewhere until Round 3. So where else would they go? I think they go WR or TE at 44.
There will also be a run at WR early on the second I think. D.K. Metcalf, AJ Brown, and Hakeem Butler are still available. At TE the biggest name is Irv Smith Jr. If all these guys are taken, don’t be surprised if the Packers go defense, again. And if they do, don’t freak out like an old grandma who can’t find the remote to turn on Wheel of Fortune.
We have no idea how much the Packers like their TE or WR group. Maybe the love the WRs in the room and will wait until round 3 or later. They could see Robert Tonyan as the future at TE. WE DON’T KNOW. Let the front office do their thing and accept whomever they pick, judge once they play. Have some fucking patience.
Other the names above, here’s some others to keep track of for the second round pick:
- Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
- Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State
- Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M
- Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
- Tony Cajuste, OT, West Virginia
- Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
- Zach Allen, DT/Edge, Boston College
- Mack Wilson, LB Alabama
- Jaylon Ferguson, DE, LA Tech
- Chase Winovich, EDGE, Michigan
And now, the Packers won’t draft one single guy I just named.