Why the Packers Traded Reggie Gilbert


The Packers traded pass rusher Reggie Gilbert to the Tennessee Titans for a seventh-round pick Wednesday.

In his third training camp with the team, Packers beat writers weren’t sold on Gilbert making the final 53-man roster. ESPN Wisconsin and The Athletic’s Jason Wilde and PackersNews’ Ryan Wood both had him “on the bubble,” Sports Illustrated’s Bill Huber had Gilbert on the roster, and The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman called Gilbert “one of the toughest cuts.” 

The former Arizona Wildcat spent most of his 2017 rookie season on the Packers’ practice squad, transitioning from defensive end to a stand-up outside linebacker. In 2018, he played 139 fewer snaps than Kyler Fackrell last season. Both finished with 21 quarterback pressures, but Fackrell had 10.5 sacks compared to just 2.5 for Gilbert.

He entered training camp at best as the team’s fifth outside linebacker behind Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Rashan Gary, and Fackrell. With sacks in each of the first two preseason games, special teams is likely why Gilbert is now on the Titans. Of the five reserve linebackers last season – Gilbert, James Crawford, Antonio Morrison, Oren Burks and Kyler Fackrell – Gilbert played the fewest snaps on special teams.

Tennessee exchanges a seventh-round pick for Gilbert and adds depth to a position of need. Earlier today, The Athletic polled their team’s beat writers on what positions their teams had needs at – over 20 percent were in search of help at linebacker, including the Titans.

The big winner? Rookie Randy Ramsey

The easiest conclusion to draw from Gilbert’s trade is the surprising development of Randy Ramsey. Here’s what Jon had to say about Ramsey on last week’s Blue 58:

Edge prospect player Randy Ramsey is playing so much. He is fifth on the team in total defensive snaps with 109. For comparison Ty Summers is in the lead with 184, and he’s playing just about every single snap on defense. Ramsey is right up there as well. I can’t figure out if he’s a guy they really like and are trying to get a long look at, or if they just need someone to soak up reps. He’s getting a lot more snaps than guys who are in a similar position – Reggie Gilbert has fewer than half as many snaps. There aren’t any other players who are getting significant burn at outside linebacker. It’s been Ramsey and Rashan Gary with the second unit with Kyler Fackrell rotating in as well. What does this mean? Is he their fifth guy? You still presumably have to jump over Gilbert, but Gilbert didn’t play against the Raiders. Ramsey is probably a guy they like. Here he is playing a lot of snaps for the Packers. We’re going to get a much better idea what it means in the very near future.

Ramsey had been on the team’s radar since before the draft, visiting Green Bay as one of the Packers’ thirty pre-draft visits. Jon touched on Ramsey when he signed with the Packers on an April episode of Blue 58:

He’s one of these athletic edge pass rushers the Packers always seem to pick up after the draft, and why not? These are good flier prospects. Ramsey is not a super tremendous testing athlete – ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.8 range – but he is the very definition of a true multi-sport athlete growing up. Ramsey and his brother played, in addition to football, basketball, soccer, baseball, ice hockey, as well as swimming and running track.