After trading back to pick 179 in the fifth-round, which netted the Green Bay Packers an additional seventh-round pick, Brian Gutekunst would select edge rusher Kingsley Enagbare from South Carolina.
In my deep dive series, I have been taking a look at the positional need that the Green Bay Packers had with each selection, what that rookie’s role could look like in their first season, important stats to know from their college days, and lastly, we take a look at a few pre-draft scouting reports.
If you’ve missed any of the previous articles, you can find them all below:
The Green Bay Packers need at edge rusher prior to the draft
Although Rashan Gary and Preston Smith may have both finished in the top-10 in terms of pressures generated among edge rushers in 2021, the depth of that unit was a concern for much of the season–this is why the Packers would sign Whitney Mercilus.
While there is always going to be a drop-off in play when neither Smith nor Gary was on the field, there was a distinct lack of impact plays — against both the run and the pass — when those two were on the sidelines. And given the nature of the edge rusher position with how heavily rotated it is, Gary and Smith were on the sidelines for about one-third of the defensive snaps last season.
This is one position that I thought the Green Bay Packers would address much sooner in the draft than what they did in the draft, given its importance–although Enagbare may have been one of the best value picks in the entire draft. While Green Bay would select him at pick 179, he was ranked as the 69th overall prospect on Dane Brugler of The Athletic’s big board.
With that said, if there is a position that the Packers are still going to address in free agency, my first guess would be edge rusher, with all of the uncertainty on this roster behind Smith and Gary.
Enagbare’s potential role as a rookie
OLB coach Jason Rebrovich mentioned earlier this offseason that he wants a steady rotation of four edge rushers for each game. Well, we know who two of those spots will belong to, but the other two will be up for grabs.
Enagbare will have as good of a chance as any to earn one of those spots in the rotation, and he will be competing with Jonathan Garvin, Tipa Galeai, Randy Ramsey, La’Darius Hamilton, Kobe Jones, and Chauncey Manac.
What Enagbare can provide as a rookie is an additional pass-rush presence in obvious passing situations, such as on third downs or any long down and distance. Against the run is an area that he will have to improve upon–although he has shown that he can set a strong edge at times.
We may also see the Green Bay Packers use him similarly to how they used Za’Darius Smith, moving Enagbare to the interior as a way to get him, Smith, and Gary on the field together. Reading through various pre-draft reports on Enagbare, the words “power” and “physical” routinely pop up when discussing his game.
Stats to Know about Enagbare
Over four seasons at South Carolina, Enagbare totaled 1,497 defensive snaps, according to PFF ($$). During the 2019 and 2020 seasons, he would record 48 pressures and 11 sacks; however, 2021 was by far his most productive.
That season, Enagbare would finish with 45 total pressures, four sacks, and 19 stops. He also saw his missed tackle rate decrease significantly as well. While PFF’s grades are not the be-all-end-all, Enagbare did finish this past season with the fourth-highest pass-rush grade among all edge rushers.
Zach Kruse of Packers Wire would also note that Enagbare ranked fourth in pressure rate, third in true pressure rate, and second in holding penalties drawn among all edge rushers in this year’s draft class, according to Sports Info Solutions.
Enagbare measured in at the combine at 6’3″ – 258 pounds and didn’t test all that well, posting a RAS of 6.26 out of 10, including a 4.87-second 40-time and “poor” shuttle and 3-cone times. This may have contributed to his fall in the draft.
What the pre-draft reports have to say
Lance Zierlein – NFL.com
“Enagbare is long and strong but lacks explosiveness, which could create diverging opinions regarding his position and how best to play him,” said Zierlein. “He’s heavy-handed and physical but will never be confused for a playmaker on the edge. He’s best suited as a cubicle defender where his power and length can benefit him in smaller spaces. He has played heavier in the past and teams might ask him to pack the pounds back on in order to compete as a run-defending interior lineman in an odd or even front.”
Joe Marino – The Draft Network
“Enagbare offers an intriguing blend of burst, length, and power that mostly shows up as a pass rusher, where he finds ways to apply steady pressure,” wrote Marino. “He does well to convert speed to power and use his length to compromise the width of the pocket, get even with the quarterback, flatten, and disengage with good angles.
“As a run defender, Enagbare has plenty of room for improvement where his processing skills are below average. He doesn’t ID blocks quickly and is frequently out of his gap due to tardy responses, high pads, and peeking into the backfield.”