The Green Bay Packers selected Rashan Gary with the 12th pick in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. At the time of the selection, fans lost their minds. And not in a good way. Social media was flooded with criticism of the Packers’ front office and Rashan Gary himself. Now, three years later, it is time for those Packers fans who doubted Gary to apologize.
The Criticism of Rashan Gary on Draft Night and During His Rookie Season
To say that both fans and experts were not thrilled with the Packers’ selection of Rashan Gary would be an extreme understatement. In three seasons at Michigan, Gary totaled 119 tackles and 9.5 sacks. In his last season, his junior year, he played in just nine games, had 38 tackles, and recorded 3.5 sacks.
When the Packers called his name at pick number 12, Rashan Gary had an all-time reaction:
I was lucky enough to be invited to Rashan Gary's Draft Party…Best experience ever…. You will see me at the 6 second mark standing next to and kicking it with Josh Uche. Beautiful night 〽️🏈 pic.twitter.com/U4TgmRTMpZ
— Nate Lewis (@NateLewis77) April 30, 2022
The criticism that followed that night and during the season was… well, I’ll just let it speak for itself.
Packers 1st round draft pick Rashan Gary played into the 3rd quarter of Preseason game 2. Had zero tackles. You can tell me "it's the preseason, it doesn't matter" or "it's one bad game" and I'll respond: "this is how he played at Michigan."
— Jason Fielder (@JasonFielderTV) August 16, 2019
BUST! Nick Bosa had more sacks than Rashan Gary this season, and Bosa played three games 😂 https://t.co/8GsX7Vbcxm
— Barstool OSU (@BarstoolOSU) April 26, 2019
Mel Kiper thinks Rashan Gary could be an NFL Draft bust.https://t.co/N81x2XmzsU
— 247Sports (@247Sports) April 22, 2019
Mark my words, Rashan Gary will be the biggest bust of this years draft.
— Ryan Day Da 🐐 (@buckeyenut82) April 26, 2019
Rashan Gary is gonna be such a bust and it seems not many are catching onto that.
— EverythingNYG 💙 (@EverythingNYG) April 6, 2019
Rashan Gary. #Bust
— Pat Heffling (@wurstbrewerfan) August 23, 2019
As one can imagine, there were so many to choose from.
Rashan Gary’s Career with the Packers
Rashan Gary spent his rookie season learning from Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith. Due to their dominance, Gary only played 24% of the defensive snaps in 2019. However, it is noteworthy that he played in all 16 games despite many claims that he would never stay healthy.
The next season, 2020, Gary saw his usage in the defense increase to 48% of the snaps. As a result, his sack number increased from 2.0 in 2019 to 5.5 in 2020. He also increased his quarterback hurries from two to eight and his quarterback pressures from five to 19. While these numbers do not jump off the page, per say, it should be noted that Gary attracted many double-teams from opposing offensive lines.
Last season, 2021, Rashan Gary took over for the injured Za’Darius Smith and played 68% of the defensive snaps. He also set career highs in:
- Tackles (47)
- Sacks (9.5)
- Quarterback hits (28)
- Tackles for loss (eight)
- Quarterback hurries (20)
- Quarterback pressures (47)
- Forced fumbles (two)
There are now rumors floating around that Rashan Gary could garner a $100 million contract when his rookie deal expires. The Packers have exercised their fifth year option on him, so they have two more years to work out a deal like that. However, it has been quite the journey for Rashan Gary (and those who called him a bust).
Rashan Gary Wants to Set the Standard
The Green Bay Packers are currently gathering for voluntary OTA’s. On Tuesday, the majority of the players present at practice were rookies and fringe roster players. There was on exception, though: Rashan Gary.
— Wes Hodkiewicz (@WesHod) June 14, 2022
When asked why he was there even though he did not have to be, Gary had an inspiring response:
Rashan Gary said that he was present at OTAs today to set "the standard" for the Packers' rookies. "Everything we do as a Green Bay Packer — you've got to realize, we wear this helmet for the players before us. It's a historical organization and I want the players to know that."
— zach jacobson (@itszacharyj) June 15, 2022
Now I don’t know about you, but that is the kind of player I love having on the Green Bay Packers as a fan. I’m glad the Packers “wasted” that 12th pick on him.
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