Not everyone, but a lot of people were not happy about Rashan Gary’s selection in 2019. However, whatever your preconceived notions were about the Gary pick, he has shown that the Green Bay Packers made the right call.
Gary finished with 9.5 sacks at the University of Michigan. Those numbers are not glamorous in comparison to other pass rushers who were borderline top 10 picks.
There was a lot of speculation thrown around as to why Gary didn’t have the college career to match his potential. His work ethic came into question, and it was unclear how committed he was to football in general. A large portion of the fanbase consumed this information and had a negative perception of Gary before he took the field.
After two encouraging seasons, it is safe to say that perception has changed.
Gary has yet to put up huge sack numbers as a pro. He has 7.0 career sacks, and five of those came in 2020. We are still waiting for Gary’s breakout season, but rest assured, it is coming.
At the moment, Gary is not one of Green Bay’s starting edge rushers. His numbers would undoubtedly be higher if he saw a portion of Preston Smith’s snaps. As a rookie, Gary played only 24 percent of the snaps of defense. Last year, that percentage increased to 44. Meanwhile, Smith was on the field for nearly 80 percent of the defensive snaps.
More playing time does not necessarily lead to an inflow in productivity, but in Gary’s case, it very well could. According to PFF, Gary had a higher pressure percentage than any other player after week 10 of last season. 3X Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald was second. Gary may not be on the level of dominance as Donald, however, it is a valid thought process that more opportunity could lead to potentially, great production.
In a short time, Gary has gone from a possible bust to one of the Packers’ most recognized young players. And it didn’t arise from a lazy mindset.
Check out Gary’s Twitter page, and you will see him post workout videos during the offseason. These videos have shown us Gary’s incredible work ethic and his journey towards becoming a better player.
On Wednesday, Gary posted another workout video to his Twitter. Entering his third NFL season, he appears to be in tremendous shape and ready to take the next step in his development. Gary has already shown he can be an effective player, but Green Bay has yet to give him a more substantial role on defense. Perhaps that is on tap for the former 12th overall pick.
Meanwhile, it is nice to know that the future of the Packers pass rush is in good hands. As it turns out, most of the original opinions on Gary were flat-out wrong or misinformed. The future is actually very bright for this young player.
Brandon Carwile is a Packers writer who also enjoys watching and breaking down film. Follow him on Twitter @PackerScribe.