Pick 1: #12 Overall – Rashan Gary
This certainly wasn’t my guy. I remember the big announcement when the #1 ranked high school player committed to Michigan. He signed on with a successful head coach of great defense (both in college and the pros) and was in a prime situation to maximize his very rare talent. Instead, he underperformed for 3 years. He also doesn’t have a true position. On top of that, he has a shoulder injury.
While this would not be my choice for 12th overall, Gutekunst said that they did listen to trade offers. He said that none were enticing, but it was at least good to hear. I will try to look at the positives starting with the big one: Gary IS an amazing physical talent. He has a NFL frame, runs unbelievably fast for 277 lbs, and can still do a 38” vertical. He even has long arms for the pass rush. Based on his size/speed/agility, he can be moved around as a mismatch in multiple spots. With a professional training staff, he could really maximize those traits. If he fulfills his potential, he could be a hall of famer. He is also a pretty chill guy that likely won’t ever get in off the field trouble. There are definitely things to like.
Someone with those physical gifts would be expected to have been somewhere between great and dominant in college. I think he’ll need some time to adjust to the NFL and that can get trickier if he has offseason surgery on that shoulder. Year 3 will probably be the earliest time to determine if he’s really going to make it or not. That being said, I have a hard time expecting he will solve underperformance issues when the competition ramps to the highest level in the world.
Pick 2: #21 Overall – Darnell Savage Jr.
Darnell Savage is a very good player, and one that seems to have an immediate role on the team. He is a tackling machine in both technique and he hits well. His 4.36 speed is amazing and can close gaps quickly. He has ball skills both while the ball is in the air as well as catching. On the down side, he is only 5’10 and takes chances. Overall, I think he’s a solid player and was definitely one of the guys I wanted.
On the flip side, I pictured him more as a selection at #44. Getting him for #30 + #114 +#118 is more than I wanted to do. He might have fallen to #30, but Gutey must have really felt that someone else was going to take him in those 9 spots.
Theme of versatility… and speed.
Both Gary and Savage are pieces that can be moved around. From his first press conference, Mike Pettine has talked about showing defenses that look the same and then doing something totally different after the snap. Both of these players fit that mold perfectly. They are also amazingly fast. Kevin King, Jaire Alexander, Adrian Amos, and Darnell Savage represent the speed you want to have in the secondary. Josh Jones has the speed too and I hope to see him playing near the line more this year with his versatility. It could be quite exciting.
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