GREEN BAY, Wis. – Why are draft grades as useless as a truckload of sand to a desert?
Because the NFL Draft punditry thought Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst blew the 12th overall selection on Rashan Gary.
“He's very athletic, he's a specimen, but it doesn't translate on the field. Where's the production?” Prisco wrote. “He could end up being a great pick or could be a bust. There's no in-between. He's either feast or famine. There is a shoulder concern. He might have to have shoulder surgery.”
Walter Cherepensky of Walter Football gave the Packers a D. “I can't really get behind this pick. Rashan Gary is insanely athletic and physically talented, but he was a huge disappointment as a player in Michigan. He also has some off-the-field concerns. There was speculation that Gary would fall to the 20s, which would've been a reasonable spot to select him. Not here, though. This is a major reach. If Gary couldn't produce in college, why would that suddenly happen when he has an NFL contract?”
Steven Ruiz of USA Today’s For the Win also gave the Packers a D. “The Packer just spent A LOT of money on edge rushers in free agency, so Rashan Gary won’t have to play right away and that’s a good thing because he’s raw. And by raw, I mean not all that good at football or productive in college. But Gary is a good athlete who could develop into an impact pass rusher with some good coaching. You usually see those players go later in the first round.”
Mike Tanier of Bleacher Report gave the pick a B, though he thought Gary would play on the defensive line. Pro Football Focus also suggested Gary move inside rather than play on the edge. Yahoo gave the pick a C, which seems kind considering the selection “has bust written all over it.”
Obviously, Gary hasn’t been a bust. And he wasn’t moved to the defensive line.
Gary is coming off a sensational season in which he finished second among edge rushers in pressures and pass-rush win rate, according to PFF. He was hailed by NFL.com’s Adam Rank and former Packers receiver James Jones as a breakout star for the upcoming season.
In a redraft of the 2019 draft, PFF’s Trevor Sikkema had the Detroit Lions taking Gary instead of tight end T.J. Hockenson with the eighth overall selection.
With Gary no longer an option, Sikkema went with Brian Burns at No. 12.
“With Gary already off the board in this re-draft, they’ll settle (that word is used very sarcastically since Burns is so good) for Burns,” Sikkema wrote. “He has recorded 7.5, nine and nine sacks, respectively, over the past three seasons. His 26.5 sacks are second-most of any player in this class.”
Gary wasn’t the only star the Packers lost in this make-believe scenario. Elgton Jenkins, the team’s second-round pick, went No. 11 to Cincinnati instead of offensive tackle Jonah Williams.
In the real draft, Gutekunst’s maneuvering netted him safety Darnell Savage with the 21st pick. In the redraft, the Packers stayed at No. 30 and wound up with Savage.