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Kingsley Enagbare ready to enter Packers' competition at edge rusher

Spots wide open for top rotational players behind Green Bay’s starters

South Carolina LB Kingsley Enagbare
South Carolina LB Kingsley Enagbare

GREEN BAY – At edge rusher, the Packers are entering 2022 with two proven, productive starters followed by several developing players with limited experience.

Add South Carolina's Kingsley Enagbare to that mix.

The Packers drafted Enagbare in the fifth round on Saturday, at No. 179 overall, after trading back eight spots and acquiring an extra seventh-round pick from Denver.

Enagbare (6-4, 258) played defensive end for the Gamecocks but projects as an outside linebacker in the NFL.

He'll be thrown in with Jonathan Garvin, Tipa Galeai, La'Darius Hamilton and Randy Ramsey (returning from injury after missing last season) as the Packers look for their top rotational edge rushers behind starters Preston Smith and Rashan Gary.

"I feel like going in, learning from them, I can kind of complement their game and they can help my game out," Enagbare said in a conference call with Green Bay media shortly after being selected. He mentioned watching the Packers a lot the past couple of years because he has a brother-in-law from the area.

"I feel like we've definitely got a good group of guys ready to show up this year."

New outside linebackers coach Jason Rebrovich noted earlier in the offseason he'd ideally like to have a four-player rotation on the edges, and the third and fourth spots are as wide open as can be.

Enagbare became a full-time starter for South Carolina in 2020 and broke out, recording six sacks and three forced fumbles in just eight games before a hip injury ended his season early.

He earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors from the league's coaches and second-team recognition from the media.

He followed that up by being voted team captain in 2021 and posting 4½ sacks among seven tackles for loss. Pro Football Focus named him first-team All-SEC and third-team All-America.

For his career, Enagbare played in 44 games with 21 starts and posted 15 sacks among 24 tackles for loss. He said he talked with the Packers at both the Senior Bowl and scouting combine and "had a sense they liked me a lot."

Packers assistant director of college scouting Patrick Moore said power is the biggest part of Enagbare's game, but he can also turn the corner as a pass rusher.

"He's a guy that still needs to work on what he does and how he gets (to the QB), but he can bend and he's powerful," Moore said. "He's got a thick lower body."

That frame helps him to set a strong edge against the run. As with any Day 3 draft pick, Enagbare is a developmental prospect, but battling against top-flight competition weekly in the SEC as both a run defender and pass rusher is a big plus in his readiness to begin the transition to the NFL.

The Packers also likely will see if he can contribute on special teams, as Enagbare called himself a "Swiss army knife" who can do whatever's asked.

"We still have to work on connecting the dots and reading blocking schemes like everybody does," Moore said. "But he'll be fine there. He plays with a good motor so he does get to the football."

Take a look at LB Kingsley Enagbare during his college career.

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