Is it time we start respecting the Packers' defense? Maybe not just yet, but they are set to add an immense playmaker.
Ian Rapoport is reporting that Green Bay is expected to sign one of the most underrated edge-rushers in the game, Za'Darius Smith.
The #Packers are expected to bring in a huge addition, bringing in former #Ravens edge rusher Za'Darius Smith, sources say. They tried to trade for him a few years ago, are in prime position to sign him now.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 12, 2019
A 2015 fourth-round pick out of Kentucky, Smith struggled to make a name for himself in his first three seasons, but the 27-year-old enjoyed a breakout year in 2018, recording 45 tackles, eight sacks and 10 tackles for loss.
Pro Football Focus gave him a 71.7 grade for the entire season, the 33rd best mark for all edge defenders. Plus, back in October, he was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
What'll make those numbers look even more impressive is when you consider the fact that Za'Darius played just 700 snaps last season. The dude is freakishly efficient.
2018 Ravens defense snap leaders:— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) March 12, 2019
1. Eric Weddle - 1013 (signed with LAR)
2. CJ Mosley - 892 (signed with NYJ)
3. Tony Jefferson - 878
4. Brandon Carr - 876
5. Terrell Suggs - 746 (signed with ARZ)
6. Marlon Humphrey - 736
7. Za'Darius Smith - 700 (UFA)
He'll be a massive addition to a Packers team that ranked 18th in total defense last season.
As for the Ravens, Smith becomes the fourth stud from their D they've lost within the last week to free agency -- CJ Mosley (Jets), Eric Weddle (Rams) and Terrell Suggs (Cardinals).