Packers 2017 Recap: LB Jake Ryan
Entering his third season with the Packers, Jake Ryan faced competition from Joe Thomas, Blake Martinez, and Josh Jones for playing time at linebacker.
He responded with perhaps his best season as a pro so far.
- Appeared in 15 games with 12 starts (507 snaps on defense, 210 on special teams)
- 50 solo tackles, one sack, one fumble forced, one fumble recovered
Expectations going into the season: Moderate
Expectations were: Exceeded
Analysis: Jake Ryan continues steady improvement
The book on Jake Ryan is more or less the same as that on Blake Martinez: a former fourth round pick who was underwhelming early in his career yet continues to steadily improve.
Ryan certainly has taken big steps in each of his three pro seasons so far, steadily becoming a more and more regular part of the Packers’ defense. His twelve starts in 2017 were the most of his career so far, and he produced just six fewer tackles in 2017 than in 2016 despite playing nearly 50 fewer snaps.
His strength is still against the run, and what a strength it is. Ryan’s best game (in Week 16 against Minnesota) featured seven tackles in the run game, each of them holding opposing runners to three yards or less. Like his counterpart Blake Martinez, Ryan benefits from the stellar work of Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark in front of him, but he still puts himself in position to make the plays available to him.
While Ryan was limited by the Packers’ increasing use of the Nitro package, he still figures to be a significant part of the defensive picture going forward.