There is an edge-rusher in Green Bay, Wisconsin that has continued to get better and better every season he has been in the league. He has increased his numbers and has made fantastic strides in each of his three career seasons. This former first-round pick has transformed himself into one of the premiere defenders in the sport. His name is Rashan Gary, and he has a very real opportunity to win Defensive Player of the Year this season. His numbers and his overall play speak for themselves. After being selected with the 12th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft out of Michigan, Gary would be the No. 3 edge-rusher behind former Packers All-Pro Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith for 2019 and 2020 before really emerging as a threat on the outside in 2021.
He has really grown in his short career. He recorded two sacks as a rookie, five in his second season, and a team-leading 9.5 in 2021. The New Jersey native went from making 21 tackles as a rookie to 47 in his third season. He also went from recording five QB pressures as a rookie to a whopping 47 in 2021. Last season, the former Michigan Wolverine set career-highs in sacks (9.5), tackles (47), tackles for loss (8), QB hits (28), pressures (47), and hurries (20). The great part too is that he is just 24 years of age still. He is entering his prime at a very young age.
The Packers will be in great shape on the edge this season because of Gary and veteran Preston Smith. They form a very formidable duo. If Gary continues on his current season-by-season pattern, he should have well over 10 sacks and earn his first Pro Bowl appearance at minimum. That should put him in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year. He appears to be a cornerstone piece of the Packers for the present and future. He is one of the key figures on Packers Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry’s defense, and he is especially a big reason why this Packers defense is elite on paper. 2022 will be the year that Rashan Gary takes the league by storm.