Packers add Rashan Gary with No. 12 overall pick


The Green Bay Packers used the first of their two first-round picks to bolster the defense with a pass-rusher with big upside.

The club took linebacker Rashan Gary with the No. 12 overall pick Thursday night.

The Packers weren't done there, however, as they traded up to the No. 21 pick to select Maryland safety Darnell Savage. In the trade the Seattle Seahawks received Green Bay's second first-round picks (No. 30) and two fourth-round picks (No. 114 and No. 118).

Gary is an athletic freak and destroyed the NFL Scouting Combine in February, running a 4.58 second 40-yard-dash. He owns an extremely unique blend of size, speed, explosiveness and power.

The knock on Gary is that his production at Michigan didn't match with his freaky athleticism. After being the No. 1 recruit out of high school, Gary compiled just 10.5 total sacks in three seasons. Gary is also dealing with a labral tear from college, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, and might need surgery at some point -- possibly after the 2019 season.

There is no question that Gary can fit seamlessly into Mike Pettine's defense as a wrecking ball rusher with a relentless motor. Gary's superb athletic skills also translate well in coverage when he's asked to drop back as a linebacker in the Packers scheme.

Green Bay's new GM Brian Gutekunst set out this offseason to upgrade a weak pass rush. The additions of Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith, followed by Gary in the first round brings immediate pop to the group in 2019.

Savage, the former Maryland product, is an explosive, versatile defensive back that can play deep or underneath, and can cover the slot when needed. Savage is a sudden athlete and aggressive ballhawk who always seemed to be around the pigskin as a three-year starter in college.

The first-round additions of Savage and Gary will infuse needed speed in Pettine's defense in 2019.