Packers 2022 Sack Projections: Rashan Gary Poised for Career Year

The Packers should expect to rack up more sacks in 2022.

Considering the talent which comprised the 2021 Green Bay Packers defense, more may have been expected in the sack department.

The Packers had 39 sacks a season ago, which ranked in the middle of the pack compared to the rest of the league and was down from 41 sacks in both the 2019 and 2020 campaigns.

More firepower has been added in 2022, and expectations are now high among fans and pundits alike that the Packers defense could become one of the NFL’s truly elite units. Increasing the team sack total would go a long way to achieving such a goal.

With that in mind, let’s project the sack figures for Green Bay’s defenders ahead of the 2022 season.

Rashan Gary

Gary led the team a year ago with a career high 9.5 sacks, but based on the level of pressure he put on opposing quarterbacks, that may have been a disappointing tally.

He racked up 47 QB pressures in 2021, which was good for fourth in the league, yet the rest of the NFL’s top nine players in the pressures rankings all had more sacks than Gary.

The average number of sacks for players with at least 40 pressures in 2021 was 13.27, and with Gary looking to take another step forward in 2022, it would be no surprise to see his sack total rise significantly.

I’ll schedule Gary in for a dominant, 13-sack season in 2022.

Preston Smith

Smith’s sack totals during his NFL career have been as follows: 8, 4.5, 8, 4, 12, 4, 9.

History would suggest Smith will once again experience a drop-off in terms of sack production this season, but when this exact subject was brought up to Smith during a media availability session, he intimated that he thinks he knows the reason behind the yearly fluctuation.

I’m going to be optimistic and say Smith’s production will not drastically reduce this season. I’ll therefore pencil him in for eight sacks, just slightly below last year’s tally.

Kenny Clark

Clark had just four sacks in 2021, with his career high currently at six. However, the addition of some much-needed support up front through Jarran Reed and Devonte Wyatt could allow Clark to flourish.

Having stronger support in the defensive line room may mean Clark can be spelled more frequently and stay fresh. He could also see fewer double teams which would be conducive to him being more impactful as a rusher.

I’m predicting a career year for Clark in the sack department with seven.

Jarran Reed

Reed’s career average for sacks is just over 4, which includes a career high of 10.5 back in 2018.

He managed just 2.5 sacks in Kansas City a year ago, but I’ll project Reed to bounce back in 2022 and get four sacks.

Devonte Wyatt

The rookie had seven sacks in his final year at Georgia, where he was truly a disruptive presence against the pass.

Wyatt will face a fight for snaps, but as an older rookie at 24 years old, I’m betting on him to establish himself quickly and to have four sacks in his first year.

Dean Lowry

Mean Dean has never been a big producer of sacks, but he appeared to figure some things out in 2021, when his total of five sacks represented a career high.

However, with reinforcements added up front, Lowry is likely to play fewer snaps in 2022, and I’ll drop him down to three sacks as a result.

Kingsley Enagbare

Enagbare averaged 3.75 sacks per season in his college career, and it is natural to keep expectations low for a fifth-round rookie.

But the fact is, Enagbare is currently Green Bay’s third-most talented edge rusher, so if he can earn the coaching staff’s trust, he may end up playing a significant number of snaps.

The opportunity to attack tired offensive tackles who have been dealing with Gary and Smith all game could benefit Enagbare, and I’m projecting him to collect three sacks in his rookie year.

De’Vondre Campbell

Campbell was a shot in the arm of Green Bay’s defense in 2021 as an unexpected All-Pro linebacker, but providing pressures and sacks was not really part of his remit, notching just two sacks on seven pressures.

I don’t expect that to change much this season, and will schedule him for two sacks once again.

Quay Walker

Walker is a fascinating prospect, with all the raw tools to become an elite linebacker, and his rookie year will be the subject of plenty of attention.

Given his natural gifts, Walker could be an effective blitzer from the MLB spot and even be used as an edge rusher on occasion as a changeup.

However, he only had five sacks in four college seasons, so until he proves it on the field, it’s difficult to project a big season for Walker in terms of sacks. I’ll therefore schedule Walker for two sacks, the same number as Campbell.

Miscellaneous

Last season, Jonathan Garvin, Tipa Galeai, TJ Slaton, Krys Barnes, Whitney Mercilus and Oren Burks combined for six sacks.

Mercilus and Burks are gone, but I’m going to pencil the group of Garvin, Galeai, Slaton, Barnes and rookie Jonathan Ford for the same total production of six sacks.

Interestingly, no defensive backs had a sack for the Packers last season, so as of now I have not accounted for any DB to get a sack in 2022 either.

By adding up all the projections, I am predicting Green Bay to tally 52 sacks in 2022. That might seem like an aggressive jump, but each of the individual numbers are absolutely achievable.

This defense is littered with former first round picks and free agency dollars spent, and that includes not only the front seven, but the back end too. It is time for the Packers defense to take its place as one of the best in the NFL.

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Mark Oldacres is a sports writer from Birmingham, England and a Green Bay Packers fan. You can follow him on twitter at @Marko7LW

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6 points

Comments (28)

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 10, 2022 at 01:05 pm

So, you think this defense can generate 52 sacks when the defenses of Pitt, Rams, and Minn, achieved 50+ last season with TB, NO, Mia, SF, and Chi breaking the 45 mark. You believe this GB defense is equal to any of those at this moment with so many expectations that are but mere paper projections, which are near always overestimated.

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stockholder's picture

July 10, 2022 at 02:00 pm

Nicely stated! Disruption is the key word! Who can and who can't!

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 10, 2022 at 02:19 pm

Yeah Minnesota had a real juggernaut of a defense last year! Calling them a middle of the road D would be kind. Sacks are mercurial, like Minnesota having 51 last year, which might have had something to do with their passing D being so bad teams passed a lot more on them than average and they had more opportunities for sacks.

Looking at your top teams for sacks last year just as many of them were meh as were good defenses. Getting 52 in a year is not a great achievement. Wake me up when a team gets 65, or better yet 72.

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 10, 2022 at 02:42 pm

Yes, sacks don't equate to being a great defense or a winner, but the article seems to be based on that premise.

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PhantomII's picture

July 10, 2022 at 06:39 pm

Yes....Finally Gute has addressed the DL high in the draft and FA. I like Slayton to improve plus both Georgia DL, ILB as well as our secondary. This is the deepest DL we've had in years, which has been half our problem. I'm more interested in TFL and pressure which leads to mistakes than sacks but I'll take those also. ALL up and down our line we have guys that get in the back field. Like it or not....we are fielding a very good defense.

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 10, 2022 at 02:06 pm

When using pressures stats you should always specify the source. Pretty sure you used PFRs pressure numbers which is fine but they had him at 47 where PFF had him at 81, the 2nd highest among Edge rushers after Maxx Crosby. It doesn't matter which numbers you use as long as you use the same source when making comparisons but it's good to specify.

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

July 10, 2022 at 02:36 pm

Of course, it's possible that the defense will be much better than last year, and as a result, have FEWER sacks. They may force more three-and-outs, creating less third downs, the bread-and-butter of sackers.
If the offense does more running and dominates time of possession, there simply will be fewer defensive opportunities for sacks.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

July 10, 2022 at 10:26 pm

You ARE an optimist 😁

But, I'll take it!

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Fubared's picture

July 10, 2022 at 03:03 pm

When they drafted Gary my immediate thoughts, he reminded me of Perry.Perry was from Michigan and Gary went to Michigan and both were over hyped to the hilt. Both could go missing in games both could be sporatic with minor injuries and both, will play lights out in their fifty year contract and bolt.
If I'm right this is Garys last year in GB. He will take the money and run and like Perry you hear much from him after that.

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 10, 2022 at 03:24 pm

Are you talking about Nick Perry? Perry never got a contract elsewhere, I believe he never got a tryout after leaving GB. You must be confused with Matthews, who after leaving GB played one year with the Rams, and hasn't been heard from since. Nick Perry never should have been a OLB, and something I said since him being drafted. His play with the Packers wasn't all that, but enough to swindle an extension from the Packers' FO. Also, Perry went to So Cal.

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Since'61's picture

July 11, 2022 at 07:56 am

Taryn - your response is spot on. However, you have been here long enough to know "Don't feed the troll!" Thanks, Since '61

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NickPerry's picture

July 11, 2022 at 08:02 am

Perry did go to USC but he grew up in Detroit and that's where he went to HS. Swindle is a perfect word but that was when Ted was at his worst as far as his health was concerned.

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murf7777's picture

July 11, 2022 at 08:27 am

Matthews played with the Packers for 10 years and received three contracts with them, so no it wasn’t him who he might be referring to. Age and past injuries caught up with him after one year with the Rams.

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LLCHESTY's picture

July 10, 2022 at 04:03 pm

I don't think you're the most annoying Viking fan ever but you might be in the top 10.

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Packman60's picture

July 10, 2022 at 08:43 pm

The Packers have already picked up Gary's 5th year option and have the ability to franchise him for two additional years. You're smoking something if you think this is his last year in G.B.

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TXBadger's picture

July 10, 2022 at 10:12 pm

Perry went to USC. Gary has 2 years remaining on his contract. If Gary and Perry had fifty year contracts, that would be even better than Bobby Bonilla's contract!

Other than that, I think you nailed it! :-)

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Lphill's picture

July 10, 2022 at 03:45 pm

Why was Clay in every down and all over the field sideline to sideline and now edge rushers need to rotate?

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 10, 2022 at 03:56 pm

He had to burn off the steroids.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

July 10, 2022 at 10:34 pm

First of all, Lphill gave wrong (exaggerated) information, but at least he meant it as a compliment.

True to your nature, you turned it into a bad thing. You regularly spout a lot of negativity citing that the current players are not proven yet. Yet you jumped on an untrue statement to further your negativity.

You truly are sick. I feel sorry for you.

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 11, 2022 at 11:25 am

I really wonder who is the more negative when everything I say, even that is accepted as true by others, is taken as a negative by you, even the apparent sarcasm that was on full display. I'm not the one who is sincerely sick, but you expose your illness with every retort you offer toward my comments. And No, I don't feel sorry for you.

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murf7777's picture

July 11, 2022 at 08:56 am

I think your right about steroids, you have to wonder how prevalent usage is in the NFL.

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PhantomII's picture

July 10, 2022 at 09:19 pm

Poor coaching and poor depth. Nobody can go all out on every play unless you have a great DL and good secondary and get a lot of 3 n outs. 3 plays full go is easy enough but GB has a habit of the offense doing the same and putting the defense in a bind and wears them out. Let's hope those days are behind us. GPG

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Cheezdickle's picture

July 10, 2022 at 06:22 pm

Packers are damn lucky they drafted Gary. Especially since Ted Thompson had a brain fart and passed on TJ Watt. Murphy is lucky to keep his job after that. Gary looks to in tip top shape and ready to add to last season.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

July 11, 2022 at 08:17 am

Gary got a lot of pressures last year but if the DL had helped him more by applying pressure and collapsing the pocket many of those pressures become sacks. If healthy I am expecting big sack numbers from Gary.

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murf7777's picture

July 11, 2022 at 08:33 am

I think your sack numbers are fairly close to expected. I’m with a couple of others who’ve stated, pressures and TFL’s are more important stats. I also think, based on what Jaire stated, if he gets to play more slot he can’t wait to blitz. I expect to see some sacks out of the DB’s as well. With 5 solid DB players they can take the risk. Can’t wait to see how the deploy all this talent on the D.

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Leatherhead's picture

July 11, 2022 at 09:35 am

I'm not really a big sack/pressure/hit guy when it comes to OLB/Edge guys . On half the plays, they have to stop the run. On the majority of pass plays, they aren't going to have much impact.

I thought PSmith and Gary did a fine job of that last year. For all the pressure that Clay Matthews brought, teams figured they could just push him behind the quarterback and run inside of him. It's not always about getting the QB; quite a bit of the time it's about keeping him from escaping the pocket and extending a play, even if it means it takes an extra 0.5 seconds to get pressure on the QB.

I don't know about you guys, but I remember QBs hurting us bad with their legs in the past, never worse than when Kaepernick ran for 800 yards in a playoff game against us. I will gladly give up a sack, or pressure, if it means he doesn't just run for a first down.
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One of the predictions here mentioned that the Packer defense might not be on the field as much this year......I wouldn't count on that. The offense is already #1 in Time of Possession, so I don't think there will be a lot of improvement there. We have a real good secondary so we might see an increase in coverage sacks, but I don't see us jumping from 39 to 50 or so.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

July 12, 2022 at 06:08 am

Everything is so dependent on player health throughout the season. 2nd season in the defensive system for many of the starters combined with a stronger DL, Linebackers, and backfield and no question there should be more sacks, and pressures. I think it would be reasonable to assume the offense isn't likely to be #1 in time of possession this season.

Believe the NFC North is going to be more competitive than we have seen for some time. No longer will it be a cake walk for the Packers with both Detroit & Minny in particular improving.

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