August 10, 2022

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De’Vondre Campbell’s addition marked turning point…

2 min read
De’Vondre Campbell’s addition marked turning point...

Also competing for roles inside are fourth-year veteran Ty Summers, 2021 sixth-round pick Isaiah McDuffie, practice-squad holdover Ray Wilborn, and undrafted rookies Caliph Brice and Ellis Brooks.

Outside, Preston Smith and Rashan Gary are now the faces of the Packers’ edge rush.

Smith returns after a nine-sack campaign that earned him a contract extension in March. The 29-year-old pass rusher has missed just one NFL game in seven seasons, sitting out last year’s 24-10 win over Washington due to an oblique strain.

Gary came into his own during his first season as a full-fledged starter, leading Green Bay with 28 quarterback hits, 9½ sacks and two forced fumbles. He won’t turn 25 until December.

The two pass rushers combined for 1,380 defensive snaps last year, which lessened the sting of losing Za’Darius Smith to a back injury for most of the 2021 season.

While the starting tandem is set, Green Bay is in search of another outsider linebacker after Whitney Mercilus’ retirement and Za’Darius Smith’s release.

General Manager Brian Gutekunst addressed the position on the third day of this year’s draft, selecting South Carolina’s Kingsley Enagbare in the fifth round.

Enagbare was a steady pass-rushing presence for the Gamecocks, recording 121 tackles (24 for a loss) with 15 sacks over four collegiate seasons. He fell in the draft in part due to a 4.87 time in the 40 at the combine but has ideal size (6-4, 258) and explosivity (36½-inch vertical) for the position.

Enagbare will compete this summer with returning veterans Jonathan Garvin, Tipa Galeai and La’Darius Hamilton, who all saw action in Green Bay’s defense last year. Garvin, who’ll turn 23 on July 28, has 24 tackles and 1½ sacks in 24 career games.

The Packers also are slated to get back third-year linebacker Randy Ramsey, who was one of the team’s top special-teams performers in 2020 before suffering a season-ending ankle injury during training camp last summer.

Filling out the room are undrafted rookie Chauncey Manac and Kobe Jones, who was signed after a successful tryout at rookie minicamp in May.