As Packers Search for Edge Depth, Don’t Forget About Randy Ramsey

Green Bay Packers linebacker Randy Ramsey (56) during Packers Family Night at Lambeau Field, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinGpg Packersfamilynight 08072021 0027
Green Bay Packers linebacker Randy Ramsey (56) during Packers Family Night at Lambeau Field, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinGpg Packersfamilynight 08072021 0027 /

Although the receiver position has drawn much of the attention this offseason — and understandably so — the edge rusher depth, or lack thereof, on this Green Bay Packers team is a bit concerning in its own right.

Led by Rashan Gary and Preston Smith, both of whom would finish top-10 last season in pressures created, according to PFF ($$), the Packers are in very good shape in that regard.

However, edge rusher is a heavily rotated position, with Gary and Smith each playing about 68% of the defensive snaps in 2021, which makes having reliable depth all the more important with roughly one-third of the defensive snaps taking place without those two on the field.

As good as those two were last season, there was a noticeable dropoff in play when they weren’t on the field. I mean, there’s a reason that Green Bay felt the need to sign Whitney Mercilus after he had been released by Houston–there was simply a lack of impact plays from those on the roster not named Gary and Smith.

Now, as we look ahead to 2022, I’m not sure that the depth of this unit has improved all that much. Sure, the Packers did add Kingsley Enagbare in the fifth round of the draft, where he was considered a steal, but as a Day 3 pick, expectations should remain tempered.

Outside linebackers coach Jason Rebrovich mentioned that he wanted a steady rotation of four edge rushers each week, not to mention that the Green Bay Packers have typically rostered five edge rushers on the 53-man–which means three roster spots are up for grabs with two of them coming a with a decent amount of playing time.

Ultimately, the performances over the next few months in training camp and the preseason are going to determine who those roles and roster spots belong to, but one player to not forget about this summer is Randy Ramsey.

If you recall, Ramsey missed the entire 2022 season after suffering a significant ankle injury in practice, effectively ending his season as he was then placed on IR.

Ramsey, a 2019 undrafted rookie, spent his first season on the Green Bay Packers practice squad before then making the 53-man in 2020. He was limited to only 75 defensive snaps, playing behind Gary, Smith, and Za’Darius Smith, but logged two pressures.

Where he would really make an impact was on special teams, playing the fourth most snaps on the team that season while finishing fourth in tackles and recording the third-highest special teams grade from PFF. Perhaps this season, Ramsey is another player who could really flourish on special teams playing under Rich Bisaccia’s mentorship.

Prior to his injury taking place last summer, Ramsey may have been on his way to earning a larger role from a defensive standpoint–especially with Za’Darius Smith missing as much time as he did. His absence also hurt an already struggling special teams unit as well.

"“That was not a good injury, and it’s a shame, because he’s done so much in terms of bringing that special teams value, but also he’s reliable when we’ve been putting him in there on defense as well, and bringing some much-needed depth to that position,” LaFleur said last summer following Ramsey’s injury via Packers Wire."

This offseason, the Green Bay Packers re-signed Ramsey as an exclusive rights free agent, which comes with a base salary of $825,000.

With all that said, of course, there is no guarantee that Ramsey is going to provide an upgrade in that third or fourth edge rusher role–or that he even makes the roster. Just like everyone else, he will have to earn that roster spot and playing time.

However, for what it’s worth — and I do think it is worth something — when discussing the edge rusher position during the draft, Ramsey is someone that GM Brian Gutekunst specifically mentioned that the team is excited about this summer.

"“I kind of like that group as it is,” Gutekunst said via SI. “Obviously, we’ll have Randy Ramsey coming back. We were really excited about Randy, Rambo, before he got injured last year. So, we’ll kind of see. But I like that group."

Post Minicamp 53-Man Roster Prediction. dark. Next

In addition to Ramsey, the other edge rushers on the current 90-man roster competing for a final roster spot will be Enagbare, Jonathan Garvin, Tipa Galeai, Kobe Jones, La’Darius Hamilton, and Chauncey Manac–basically everyone outside of Smith and Gary.