Thu. Oct 29th, 2020

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Brian Gutekunst sees promise in Rashan Gary, 2019…

2 min read
Brian Gutekunst sees promise in Rashan Gary, 2019...

Green Bay had two other rookies – safety Darnell Savage and left guard Elgton Jenkins  – named to the Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie Team earlier this month.

Savage, the Packers’ other first-round selection, displayed the speed and ranginess in 14 starts that made him one of the most coveted defensive backs in last year’s NFL Draft.

While Savage’s 4.36-second time in the 40 at the combine helped make him the first DB to be drafted last April, it was his ability to grasp the playbook that enabled Savage to step in as a starter from the start of the offseason program.

An ankle injury cost Savage two October starts but the 5-foot-11, 198-pound safety still finished with 55 tackles, two interceptions and a pair of forced fumbles during his debut season.

“I thought his progression through an NFL season of 20-some games, including the preseason, I think he did a really nice job,” Gutekunst said. “I’m excited for his future. His ability to get off the hash and close gaps and trigger in the run game, I think he’s got a bright future ahead of him.”

Despite starting at center during his final two seasons at Mississippi State, the 6-foot-5, 310-pound Jenkins was lauded for possessing across-the-line versatility leading up to the NFL Draft.

Jenkins was in the running for a starting role from the onset of training camp, which more than prepared the rookie second-round pick for his 14 starts at left guard after starter Lane Taylor  was lost for the season due to a bicep injury suffered in practice.

Pro Football Focus didn’t attribute a sack to Jenkins on any of his 694 pass-blocking snaps in 2019. He was one of only four guards with more than 600 pass-blocking snaps who didn’t allow a sack in PFF’s metric, alongside Dallas’ Zack Martin, Indianapolis’ Quenton Nelson and Buffalo’s Quinton Spain.

“He stepped in there really early when Lane went down and it was like we didn’t miss a beat,” Gutekunst said. “He’s got a rare ability as far as his size, his athleticism and his power.

“He was a really good player for us this year and has a chance to be, if he really puts his mind to it, he has a chance to be one of the guys like we’ve had here in the past – the Josh Sittons, T.J. Langs, Marco Riveras, Mike Wahles.”

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