With star edge rusher Rashan Gary likely to miss time at the beginning of the 2023 season, the Green Bay Packers could look to make some additions to their group of outside linebackers. Kingsley Enagbare stood out as a rookie, but there is little quality depth behind him and Preston Smith.
There are several EDGE rusher options that could be available on the free agent market. One such player could be Samson Ebukam, a six-year veteran who has played for the Rams and 49ers. Ebukam put together a solid year in 2022, racking up 36 tackles, 5 sacks, 7 TFLs, 13 QB hits, and a forced fumble. Given his modest production, Ebukam may end up falling within Green Bay’s price range – though PFF estimated that he would receive a contract paying around $10 million APY. If the price is right, he could be a valuable addition to the Green Bay OLB corps.
Ebukam is not a superstar run defender, but he plays with violence and power. He occasionally struggled against lengthy blockers, but generally showed an ability to set a vertical edge and shed blocks.
Ebukam plays with a white-hot motor, and there were several instances where he chased down runs from behind. Here, he overlaps across the line of scrimmage to help stop QB Power.
Ebukam doesn’t have an overwhelmingly flashy pass-rush game – he primarily wins by playing like a ravening wolf, firing off the ball with long strides that eat up space and constantly condensing the pocket. He builds his game off of speed-rushes, especially snatch-rip moves, and bull rushes.
Here, he uses the aforementioned snatch-rip to force the QB out of the pocket and draw a holding call.
In this clip, he uses a bull-rush to drive the tackle back and crush the pocket.
He also has a useful toolbox of inside counters, such as this club-swim move.
Ebukam is extremely useful on stunts and DL games. He plays with good timing, tight paths, and an emphasis on violence. Here, he beats the tackle’s hands, loops inside, and bulls through contact to help secure the sack.
While he will probably not put up a ten-sack season with GB, Ebukam can be a valuable boost for an edge-rushing group missing its primary impact player. Ebukam’s power and relentless play style can help the Green Bay defense against both run and pass. Ebukam isn’t the pure pass rusher that Rashan Gary is, but his aptitude for disruption on stunts and twists could help make up some of the pressure void left by Gary’s absence. Once Gary returns and Green Bay is back at full strength on the edge, Ebukam can be a high-end rotational pass-rusher.
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