A Scout’s Take on the Two Round 1 Picks by the Green Bay Packers in the 2019 NFL Draft

Rashan Gary

One thing is sure, general manager Brian Gutekunst of the Green Bay Packers has shown that is he no Ted Thompson in terms of both drafting and using free agency. Gutekunst has a flare for gambling and he proved that again last night when he selected DE/OLB Rashan Gary of Michigan with pick No. 12 in Round 1 and then traded up from No. 30 to No. 21 later in the round to select safety Darnell Savage Jr. of Maryland on the first night of the 2019 NFL draft.

You know defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is happy. Especially after Gutekunst signed edge rusher Preston Smith (formerly of the Washington Redskins), edge rusher Za’Darius Smith (formerly of the Baltimore Ravens) and safety Adrian Amos (formerly of the Chicago Bears) all on the same day in free agency. Talk about being 180 degrees different from Thompson, who rarely dipped his toes into the free agency water.

This is what veteran NFL scout Chris Landry wrote about the the selections of Gary and Savage.

Packers selected Michigan DL Rashan Gary with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Gary (6’4/277) turned pro after making 21 starts for the Wolverines, underwhelming as 2016’s No. 1 overall high school recruit with 10.5 career sacks and 24 tackles for loss but still earning first-team All-Big Ten from the conference’s coaches as a sophomore and junior. A known athletic freak, Gary predictably destroyed the Combine with 4.58 speed and 96th-percentile SPARQ results but bombed the Wonderlic Test (9). A boom-bust prospect whose production never matched his measurables, Gary must expand his pass-rush repertoire beyond bull rushes to avoid maxing out as another Solomon Thomas.

Packers traded up to select Maryland S/CB Darnell Savage with the No. 21 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Seattle received two fourth-round picks and No. 30 overall in this deal. Savage (5’11/198) made 37 starts in the Terrapins’ secondary, logging nine career tackles for loss with 30 pass breakups and eight interceptions and earning second-team All-Big Ten as a senior. Savage helped himself with 86th-percentile SPARQ results at the Combine, including 4.36 speed and a 39 ½-inch vertical. A late riser as coaches became more involved in the process, Savage was commonly discussed as a cornerback or slot defender conversion before the draft. He will play free safety in Green Bay, bookending Adrian Amos.

Landry also commented about both Gary and Savage.

First, his thoughts on Gary:

“Rashan Gary at 12. Listen, Rashan was No. 11 on my board. So he is right where he ought to be. Let me say this. If they can get him turned in the right direction, you are talking about one of the top three or four players in this draft. The problem has been consistency. The motor. And that’s why he slipped a little.”

And now Savage:

“The Packers get Darnell Savage. Listen, he’s one of these fast-rising guys. I’m not as high on him as other people are. They like him. So did the Colts by the way. They moved up to get him. Could they have gotten him where they were (No. 30)? I had some safeties rated higher than him. But that’s the direction they went.”

Day 1 (Round 1) in draft was definitely slanted for the defense of the Packers.

Day 2 (Rounds 2 & 3) in the draft will almost assuredly help the Green Bay offense. That will certainly make new head coach Matt LaFleur and quarterback Aaron Rodgers happy.

One thought on “A Scout’s Take on the Two Round 1 Picks by the Green Bay Packers in the 2019 NFL Draft

  1. Hi Bob: Well, another draft, another disappointment. GM Gutekunst made a mistake by not following your final mock, or mine for that matter. He did select 2 of my choices, though. Darnell Savage and Ka’dar Hollman. I would not have made the trade with Seattle, though, to move-up in round 1 to select Savage. If you recall, I had us selecting him in the 2nd round There were 3 others, whom many believe are better safeties, whom we could have selected in the 2nd round: Juan Thornhill, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Nasir Adderley. Trading up to get Savage was simply not worth it. Do you attribute this questionable move simply to ego, a belief that “my judgment on a player is right, no matter what.” Nor would I have selected Rashan Gary. His “motor” runs hot and cold and he has a labral shoulder tear. If anything, he’d should have been a 2nd round selection.

    That said, here are my own personal selections,,made in real time while the Packers would have been, if not for the trade, “on the clock.” That includes pick #30 in the 1st round, but not pick #21, and the 2 4th round picks. I’m prejudiced, of course, but I believe this would have been a better draft. Your thoughts?

    1 (12) Christian Wilkins, DT/DE, Clemson
    1 (30) Dalton Risner, OT/OG, Kan. St..
    2 (44) Nasir Adderley, FS/CB, Del.
    3 (75) Dawson Knox, TE, Mis.
    4 (114) Riley Ridley, WR, Ga..
    4 (118) Mack Wilson, ILB, Ala.
    5 (150) Ross Piersbacher, OC/OG, Ala.
    6 (185) Jordan Brown, CB, So.Dak.St
    6 (194) Alex Barnes, RB, Kan. St.
    7 (226) Derrick Roberson, DE/OLB/edge, Sam Houston St

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