Despite having a rough rookie season, Rashan Gary could make Green Bay’s pass rush elite in 2020.
Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Rashan Gary had a rough rookie season in 2019, posting just two sacks in limited snaps. However, with a larger role expected in 2020 and a stacked pass-rushing group around him, Gary could be a prime breakout candidate in his second season.
Za’Darius and Preston Smith both posted double-digit sacks in 2019, and the recently-extended Kenny Clark is a dominant presence on the interior. Green Bay’s coaches and beat writers have raved about Gary’s athleticism and drive, and his position coach seems confident that he’ll burst onto the scene this season.
Gary’s emergence could put Green Bay’s pass rush among the NFL’s elite groups, and he has all of the physical tools to excel as a pro. If he hones in his technique by learning from the Smiths, he could post impressive sack numbers in 2020.
If Gary becomes a legitimate contributor, the Packers could field a pass-rushing group on par with the Steelers or 49ers. Za’Darius Smith is still underrated despite leading the NFL in pressures in 2019, and Preston Smith played at a Pro Bowl level as well.
Clark remains underrated, but plays the same role as Chris Jones in Kansas City. If the Packers use him and Za’Darius Smith on the interior with Gary and Preston Smith on the outside offensive lines could struggle to contain such an explosive and athletic group.
While Green Bay also fields a talented secondary, the pass rush is the engine that drives the Packers’ resurgent defense. However, the unit was not quite elite in 2019, but Gary could easily change that.
General manager Brian Gutekunst clearly saw something in the former Michigan Wolverine when he selected him at No. 12 overall, and it would be foolish to give up on such a promising talent after one down year. Although a breakout is not a sure thing, Gary should be expected to contribute in a much bigger way in 2020.