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Packers Chose a Freak and a Monster in this Year’s Draft

While NFL scouts and pundits didn’t totally agree with the Packers’ draft selections at #12 and #21, no one denies that both players bring some incredible athleticism to Green Bay.

Rashan Gary, Draft Choice #12

Rashan Gary Michigan 2017

Sep 16, 2017; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive lineman Rashan Gary (3) rushes on Air Force Falcons quarterback Arion Worthman (2) during the second half at Michigan Stadium. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Hellman of 24/7 Sports, in a comment made before the 2018 season, says the “freak” label goes back to Gary’s high school days:

Ask any recruiting analyst in the New Jersey area during the high-school career of Rashan Gary and the latest accolade for Michigan’s standout defensive lineman is no surprise. Gary used a freakish athleticism to win multiple championships at the high-school level.

Heading into a junior, and potentially final, year at Michigan, Gary ranks as college football’s biggest freak athlete, according to Bruce Feldman’s annual list.

“The 6-foot-5 Gary is at the same weight he was at this time last year — 287 pounds — and his 40-yard dash time is the same at 4.57 seconds,” Feldman wrote. “His 3-cone drill at 6.79 was a touch behind last year’s 6.70, although his time this year still would beat every defensive lineman at this year’s NFL scouting combine. His 4.22 pro agility shuttle time also would top every D-lineman at the combine. Next best was 4.32. Another really impressive feat: his 10-4 broad jump, which was 8 inches better than what he did a year ago.”

Gary has always let his play do the talking dating back to his days as the nation’s No. 1 recruit. But in this case, mom could not help but weigh in.

“I don’t know if I like my son being called a freak,” she wrote. “But in this context, I can live with it. Proud momma.”

A pundit called TheOriginal629 had this to say:

“Rashan Gary came into Michigan with high expectations and did not disappoint for the most part. He has been recognized as one of the most freakish athletes in sports today.”

The guys over at Rotoworld had this to say:

“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. . .”

saturdayblitz.com put it this way:

“Rashan Gary is a freak athlete, there is no other way to really put that. He was a great edge rusher at Michigan, showing outstanding speed and quickness. He has an excellent combination of height, weight, length, speed and athleticism that is unmatched by many of the other guys in this year’s draft class. He has all the tools and the size to be an NFL defensive end including the closing speed and extremely active hands.”

Silverandblackpride.com, a fan site for the Raiders, thought Gary might be taken with the Raiders’ fourth overall pick:

“Last year, Jon Gruden traded down in the draft for freak athlete left tackle Kolton Miller. This year, freak athlete edge-rusher Rashan Gary is in the draft. Will Gruden bite?”

Darnell Savage, Draft Choice #21

Darnell Savage - Safety

Darnell Savage Jr. (4) breaks a tackle by Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Nico Collins (4) as he runs the ball after he makes an interception during the first half at Michigan Stadium. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com is all-in over the Packers’ pick:

“Darnell Savage is a monster. Not surprised he made his way into the 1st round after hearing coach after coach rave about him. Packers get a FS with great instincts, awareness and range. Plus, he’s a tough guy.”

ESPN analyst Matt Bowen (a former NFL safety) predicts that Packers rookie Darnell Savage will win the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year (DROY) in 2019. Bowen adds:

“Savage can close on the ball with immediate speed, and his playmaking versatility in the secondary gives defensive coordinator Mike Pettine some real options in the game plan. Play Savage in the post, roll him down in coverage over the slot, or allow him to blitz in sub-package schemes. I would love to coach this guy.”

TP’s Ed Rooney points to his versatility:

“At 5′ 11″ and 198 pounds, savage has an athletic, strong build and has good quickness and sub 4.4 speed to cover both quick and big receivers. He displays good cover skills knowledge and has great ability to close in on passes, as displayed by his interception totals at Maryland.”

Kevin Seifert – who formerly covered the NFC North for ESPN, agrees:

“Savage is a speedy playmaker who is known for anticipating throws and getting early jumps on the ball. (DROY) voters usually notice, and often reward, defensive players who pile up tangible statistics such as sacks, interceptions, passes defensed and forced or recovered fumbles. That should put Savage in the mix, given that there is likely an immediate starting job awaiting him.”

Sam Monson, Pro Football Focus, raves about his unique skills:

“Few safeties attack the play the way Savage does, and his burst to the football once he sets off is something no other safety in this class can match. . .Over the past two years, the passer rating Savage has allowed when covering the slot is the second-best mark in the draft class. Savage is a versatile, impact safety for 2019’s NFL and just so happens to fly to the football like a guided missile on many of his plays.”

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. MMSUCKS May 14, 2019

    “96th-percentile SPARQ results but bombed the Wonderlic Test (9)” . . . Wonderlic test score 9? Thank God for the Medulla Oblengata . . .

    1. Kato May 14, 2019

      The average is 19. Meh. I am not going to pretend like most of these guys are smart people. As long as they understand NFL playbooks and are assignment sound, I could care less if they can put together a coherent paragraph

    2. PF4L May 14, 2019

      Well, when we actually see that he understands the playbook, and he’s assignment sure…then, no worries.

      Jeff Janis apparently scored a 30 or 32, so….go figure. That’s why we have to see them play and do it on the field before we crown them. Regardless of their wonderlic score, or their combine metrics, etc. None of that matters, if they can’t cut it in the NFL.

    3. Mitch Anthony May 14, 2019

      A mental spanking of an astronaut on Jeopardy is not in the future for Mr. Gary. Safe to say.

  2. S.A.P. May 14, 2019

    I can feature McDonald’s introducing new burgers here in Wisconsin in the upcoming months. I anticipate they will wait for some help from me in naming them, so in the near future, we will have to find out what our new players like to eat up on the field.
    Wonder what a Bag of Quarterback Sack Snack Burgers would look like. A Savage Burger ? A Gary Ho Burger ? The Double Smith’s Burger ? Thee Famous Amos Deluxe ? I can hardly wait to eat my first one this fall, whilest sitting back watching The Green Bay Packers on the road to the SuperBowl 😋 Go Pack Go ! 🍔🧀🐀…
    Extra Cheese Anyone ?

  3. Apparition May 14, 2019

    I’d like to see Gary & Savage tie for DROY.

  4. Kato May 14, 2019

    Marshawn Lynch scored a 14 on his wonderlic. Would anyone here have cared about that in 2010 if we traded for him? I guessing no. I don’t give a shit, as long as he can play intelligent football, which is obviously different that functional intelligence in society

  5. PF4L May 14, 2019

    Rashan’s Gary’s Mommy (and President of RG Sports Agency) called into a sports talk show and tells the host “stop bashing my baby”.

    Yea….i like where this is going.

  6. Ferris May 14, 2019

    Jeff Janis scored 32. When is he coming back? Nick Perry scored 29, I guess he is a better player.
    Vince Young scored 6…wow… so Gary is half again as smart as Vince. Derrelle Revis scored 10 he played OK for a while. Man that was a lot of research, now I know what people in their basement go through.

    1. Kato May 14, 2019

      Lol. Revis actually seems like a fairly bright guy. I get the feeling that a lot of these guys could give a shit less about the wonderlic. Again, big difference between football smart and functional in society smart. Craig Krenzel was literally a fucking rocket scientist, nobody remembers him for being good at football, because he wasn’t.

    2. Deepsky May 15, 2019

      Frank Gore only had a 6. Bobby Wagner had an 8. But there’s not a whole lot of great players with low Wonderlic scores. Tom Brady had a 33. Aaron Rodgers had a 35.

  7. Howard May 14, 2019

    There have been many times over the years I have felt bad for players when being interviewed. You wonder how they could have graduated high school let alone stay enrolled in a college. Gary is not one of those players. James Jones wasn’t either. The other thing both Jones and Gary have in common is that score of 9.
    I’m with PF4L and Kato let’s see how Gary performs in pads on the field and then make some judgements based on football, not leaked confidential test results that may or may not be totally accurate.

  8. MMSUCKS May 15, 2019

    Regarding my reason for questioning the Wonderlic score is attitude. What kind of attention to detail and what kind of focus exists within the time spent on the Wonderlic test. What was Gary’s reason for the horrible result that he got? Was it; “I don’t give a fuck”? Or perhaps; “I didn’t pay attention in school” (because I did not have to)? Many possibilities. Which one does Gary fall under? Personally, all I give two shits about is his effort, which is WHY I mentioned it! I see a red flag, that is all. Regarding James Jones? I love that guy! That he scored a 9 on Wonderlic does surprise me, and could qualify that the Wonderlic is NOT a be all-end all for football acumen. What it does say to me however, is that there could be rough roads ahead for guy’s that zone out this bad on such a test.

    1. Howard May 15, 2019

      MMSUCKS, what I understand is Gary has dyslexia. That could be a very good reason to struggle with a timed test, or it could just be an excuse. I believe James Jones had indicated he kind of blew off the test. Jones said, in part, that he only finished a little over half the questions, and did not fully understand the importance of the test.
      It wasn’t that long ago that Jones took the test, but the test back then may not have been something some players agents stressed the players prepare for such as the combine on field drills. That brings up the question about Gary acting in some ways as his own agent. It is possible that Gary’s agent (Gary?) did not put any emphasis/practice on the Wonderlic test. That may have been a mistake a young agent may not make with future clients.

    2. MMSUCKS May 15, 2019

      Howard, those answers seem just as appropriate as any. I would prefer to go with those answers! Let us trust that whatever the reason(s) may be, that Gary outshines his Wonderlic and his questionable shoulder and has a great career.

  9. MMSUCKS May 15, 2019

    Furthermore, WTF is a guy with an alleged injured labrum working out with it for? Is he that foolish? (hence the wonderlic score question?) Will he burn out quickly because of it? Should he not be having some sort of medical procedure(s) (or is he right now under the radar?) being performed to correct it? Lots of red flags to me. Is he a gifted athlete? Hell yes he is! But WTF is up with him? The next 6 month’s will speak volumes to this . . .

    1. Kato May 15, 2019

      I tend to wonder how bad his shoulder is. If he is doing bench press, I wonder if it was even all that bad.

    2. Howard May 15, 2019

      I think Gary believes his shoulder had healed enough to work out. Gary did miss some games and parts of games last year. It appears to me that Gary and Michigan was trying to manage the injury. I have a short story about that.
      When I was a sophomore or junior ? we had an offensive tackle who had his shoulder dislocate in the final game of the season. Back then you avoided surgery. The next year the guy came back strong. A few of us worked out together all off season. The guy was always a weight room type and he upped his game from the previous year, even on the bench press. Practices back then had a lot of hitting, in many cases more than games. The guy wore a harness as precaution. Everything went well. First play of the season on a kickoff return guess who comes off the field with his shoulder out of place. You guessed correct. The shoulder was adjusted on the sideline and the guy went back into the game. The shoulder had to be adjusted at least 4 or 5 times during practices and games that season. I’m sure shoulder harnesses and medical attention is better now, but I anticipate Gary is going to have to go to the sidelines and have adjustments made until surgery is performed.

    3. PF4L May 15, 2019

      In a nutshell, i don’t take a lot of stock in excuses (some may be valid) but we’ll never know. The truth always seems to come out in time, and it usually comes out on the football field. That is where questions get answered.

      The problem i have with Gary isn’t his shoulder, or his lack of stats, it’s not even his questionable motor or desire (raised by others) or that other teams took him off their board. It’s all of it together, it’s bad enough if a high pick has a caution flag right? But this cat has like 4 or 5 of them. Some say the risk is worth the high ceiling. The problem is, when was the last time we’ve seen his high ceiling, High School?

      Just my opinion, but if i’m a 2nd year GM under the gun and my job depends on me hitting on players after a largely failed first season, i’m not putting my future and reputation in Gary’s hands.

      When i say under the gun, and job dependent. What i mean is if this team doesn’t make the playoffs this season. The shit is going to hit the fan hard. So hard, maybe even someone from the Board or Exec. Committee wakes up from their nap.

      Is anyone really confident they will make the playoffs? Personally, i can picture them getting in, and not getting in. Gun to my head, if i had to bet, i take getting in, only because of Rodgers.

      But that’s where we are today….hoping they get in the playoffs. 1980’s anyone?

    4. Cheesemaker May 15, 2019

      Couldn’t agree more, PF…

      The multiple flags vs. upside that last materialized in HS with the exception of his crushing it at the combine – I don’t feel good about the odds here. Hope I’m totally wrong.

      And the comment about a GM who needs to get this pick right… that was my mindset going into the draft, and if I was in that spot, I’m taking someone like Christian Wilkins. Maybe less POTENTIAL, but a much higher floor.

      This could very well be the defining move of Gutekunst’s tenure. If Gary works out, and validates the pick, then it looks like we have GM worthy of the position. If not, he’ll be gone in short order, probably along with a bunch of other people.

    5. stiggy May 15, 2019

      Calling it now… gary busts…. savage is good and then its “who cares if they pissed away 12 pick on kevin king 2.0 we got a really good safety at 22”

    6. Cheese May 16, 2019

      “Who cares if they wasted the no.12 pick. They had two first rounders to get it right.”
      This team is like the Lions constantly picking WR’s in the first round, except they pick defensive backs in the first AND second rounds.

  10. Deepsky May 15, 2019

    I honestly would not be surprised if Rashan Gary ends up on injured reserved before the season, after some surgery “just to clean things up, nothing major”. And then Montez Sweat gets 12 sacks.

  11. Cheese May 15, 2019

    I just read a comment by Haha Quittin-Dix that I thought some of you might find interesting. Maybe he’s starting to wisen up after realizing his first two teams didn’t want him anymore, even with his coveted title of “pro-bowler.”
    “When I first came into the league, I always went for the big hits, instead of just wrapping up and just making a clear-cut tackle,” Clinton-Dix said. “That was one thing I always wanted to work on is my open-field tackling and being able to high-point the ball when it’s in the air. There’s a lot of things I can continue to work on. I haven’t reached my peak yet, and I’m just excited to get better.”

    1. Kato May 16, 2019

      Except the problem is I am struggling to ever think of a time he had a jarring hit. He forced four fumbles in five years?

    2. Ferris May 16, 2019

      What was the reason he gave for not breaking up a pass that was in the air for 45 seconds in Seattle in 2014? Could have been a Green Bay hero.

  12. Empacador May 15, 2019

    My initial feeling of the draft was confusion, and being underwhelmed.Which by all accounts left people shaking their heads and confused like I was.The only thing that has changed since the draft is others attempting to put a positive spin on the players drafted. I’m not buying into the hype. Freak and a monster? Could just as easily be labelled a pussy and a wimp until they actually do something.

    Drafting guys with lingering health issues has not worked out well for the Packers. Just because there are new coaches doesn’t mean they are going to be skilled enough in their first year, or ever for that matter, to overcome whatever happens to Rodgers/King/Gary/Bulaga and the other guys like Alexander/Jones/Jackson/Burkes and the mess at WR/TE/RB. There are too many variables at play now. They could shit the bed or they could become world beaters. I hope they become world beaters, but the last several years have left a not so good impression of the remaining Murphy/Thompson administration. Face it, they could fuck up a wet dream.

    Here’s hoping the stars align and this new group is able to extract everything they can from this group of players. Maybe take some people legitimately by surprise by becoming unpredictable, brutal and nasty. Its been a long time since the Packers have exerted dominance over anyone with any sort of regularity. With all the hype from draft picks going back to Justin Harrell this team should be stacked with current and future HOF players. The only problem is they never reached their potential for one reason or another. Who would have guessed that? Hopefully we don’t have any references to “pad level” and other McCarthy speak. At least that should be a nice change of pace long overdue.

    1. PF4L May 16, 2019

      Excellence should be acknowledged and recognized, if no one else will, i will.
      What i get from Empac’s post is that we shouldn’t crown anyone until we see them play and see that they belong in the NFL. I don’t give a shit what they did in college, or that they won the combine (Savage and Gary)). Unless you can show us at the next level, it means absolutely nothing. Not being a pessimist, but with this team….isn’t it time to show me, and not “tell me”? What’s next…..a Packer player coming out to tell us how this defense is going to punch other team’s in the mouth this season?
      I see the word “hope” mentioned often in past few years regarding the Packers, Remember back when we expected?

      Next level post….but then again, i don’t expect anything less from Empacador.

    2. Kato May 16, 2019

      Yeah. I “hope” Aaron Rodgers isn’t a psychopath this year and actually plays within the play book and gives receivers he has less than two years of experience with a chance

  13. PF4L May 17, 2019

    Hopefully that sick bastard gets the help he needs.