With final cuts down to 53 players approaching rapidly, the Packers roster will look a lot different going from 90 players to 53. The Packers have a problem that other organizations wish they had, they have a lot of difficult cuts to make because of their great depth at some positions. There is still a lot of debate at positions like WR, RB, OL, and CB. Below I’ll examine who I think will make the roster and give an overall preview of the position. I also have a list of good bets to make the practice squad. Lets take a look at just who makes this roster…
2- 1. Aaron Rodgers 2. Brett Hundley
It’s hard to debate anything at this position besides whether there will be a third quarterback on the roster and who that guy would be. If I had to guess, I would say Taysom Hill would make it if there was a QB3. Taysom Hill has looked more impressive than Joe Callahan thus far. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get into the game before Callahan in the preseasons final game. I doubt the Packers keep a third quarterback because they have such great needs elsewhere. My feeling is that the front office rolls the dice on the two young signal callers knowing that at least one if not both will clear waivers and end up on their practice squad.
The team is set at quarterback with the most talent quarterback in football, Aaron Rodgers as their starter. Brett Hundley really impressed me with his preseason performance. He looks like a tradeable asset come next offseason. Do not expect Green Bay to even consider moving him before the end of the season, I tend to think that would take the kind of irresistible offer that Hundley won’t attract.
4- 1. Ty Montgomery 2. Jamaal Williams 3. Aaron Jones 4. Devante Mays
I consider both Montgomery and Williams roster locks at this point, Jones and Mays are on the bubble to me. I would keep them both if it was my decision, and I think they will too. I went in depth in studying all three of the rookies for scouting reports, what I found was they were all very talented. I was especially impressed with Aaron Jones and Devante Mays athleticism. Every one of the 4 backs on the roster has shown improvement in pass protection which is huge in this offense. Montgomery will handle most of the carries, but look for them to sprinkle the three rookies in there at times, especially Jamaal Williams.
1- Aaron Ripkowski
Joe Kerridge was a very tough cut, but I cannot see the team carrying 4 running backs and 2 fullbacks. Aaron Ripkowski really came on last season, and hope to have another good year blocking for Rodgers and Montgomery and getting some rushes.
6- 1. Devante Adams 2. Jordy Nelson 3. Randall Cobb 4. Trevor Davis 5. Jeff Janis 6. Malachi Dupree
This has got to be one of the most talked about roster battles in Packers history. The Packers have at least 9 roster quality wideouts on their roster, that makes for one hell of a battle for the last few remaining roster spots. Again, I have omitted Geronimo Allison because he will not be on the roster week one. Trevor Davis and Jeff Janis aren’t locks to make the roster but both are special teams contributors and have had good camps as wideouts. Janis and Davis also bring the much needed element of speed to this group, which is why I think they are good bets to make the roster.
I fully expect Geronimo Allison to be put on the roster for week 2 and be placed at number 4 on the depth chart. With that in mind, I have them keeping 6 rather than 7 with Malachi Dupree rounding out the end of the depth chart. In my opinion Malachi Dupree has shown the more potential than both Yancey and McCaffrey despite missing one game with a concussion. Because WR7 is not going to see the field often outside of special teams, potential and special teams play is very important. None of the 3 have shown amazing ability on special teams so I give the slight edge to Dupree. I highly doubt Michael Clark makes this roster, but he has a good shot at the practice squad.
The players that will see the majority of the snaps at this position are Adams, Nelson, and Cobb. Allison will also see a significant amount of time. This figures to be a solid group that will put up big numbers on the stat sheet by the end of the season especially considering who is throwing them the ball. Adams is my favorite to lead the team in yards, while I think Nelson continues his reign as TD catch leader. I also wouldn’t be too surprised if Cobb has a bounce back year and dips into Nelson and Adam’s stats. Cobb has been a focal point this preseason and he may end up leading the team in on of these categories or another.
3- 1. Marty Bennett 2. Lance Kendricks 3. Richard Rodgers
This is by far the easiest position group to predict on the team. I’d put all my money on these 3 guys making the roster. Bennett and Kendricks offer some much needed run blocking ability. This should allow for some 2 tight end sets, also Kendricks has shown he can line up as a fullback. Those two coupled with Ty Montgomery will allow this team to go from a power run set to a 5 wide look with the same personnel grouping. Richard Rodgers has had a solid camp and figures to mix in at times as a very quality TE3.
9- 1. David Bakhtiari 2. Bryan Bulaga 3. Corey Lindsley 4. Lane Taylor 5. Jahri Evans 6. Kyle Murphy 7. Jason Spriggs 8. Don Barclay 9. Lucas Patrick
The starters along this offensive line look very stout. Bakhtiari and Bulaga are coming off years in which they both performed as elite level pass blockers. Lindsley has been a good piece for them at center these last three seasons. Jahri Evans has really shown he still has enough left in the tank to play well in this league. Coming off a surprisingly good season, Lane Taylor has quietly had an outstanding camp. From my perspective Taylor is primed for a big year and a new contract after this season.
The depth on the offensive line is not quite so stellar. Jason Spriggs looked to be a quality backup at tackle, but he has struggled mightily this preseason. I had a number of people trying to tell me that we should move pro bowl caliber RT Bryan Bulaga to RG so Spriggs could start at tackle. That was a silly idea then, and it has proved to be a down right idiotic move now. Spriggs still possesses the athleticism and flexibility to become a starter at tackle in this league, I just think he needs to settle down and regain confidence. Kyle Murphy has shown a step forward from year one to two, I tend to think he is the starter at RT on the off chance Bulaga can’t go week 1.
Don Barclay’s injury is not overly severe, he looks to be the most reliable guy the Packers have as an interior backup. While frustrating, I do think that Barclay is serviceable at guard and center. Lucas Patrick gets the nod as the other interior linemen despite being in concussion protocol. Geoff Gray just misses the cut after an impressive camp.
6- 1. Mike Daniels 2. Dean Lowry 3. Kenny Clark 4. Rick Jean Francois 5. Montravius Adams 6. Brian Price
With the emergence of Dean Lowry and Kenny Clark, this looks to be what could amount to a feared group this season. Lowry is just another example of draft day 3 genius from this organization. He and Clark are making this draft class, which features Fackrell and Spriggs struggling, look not so bad. The second year duo along the defensive line looks read to provide interior pass rush rush in addition to stopping the run. Mike Daniels will open up opportunities for those two, but he himself will benefit from superior play from the rest of the defensive line.
Ricky Jean Francois figures to be a solid backup who is used as a run stopper. With Monty Adams potentially playing in the final preseason game, he will likely make the roster despite missing significant time. The battle for the 6th spot along the defensive line will come down to Brian Price and Christian Ringo. Ringo is the better pass rusher, but Price offers more against the run. Price edges out Ringo by a narrow margin.
5- 1. Nick Perry 2. Clay Matthews 3. Ahmad Brooks 4. Jayrone Elliot 5. Kyler Fackrell 6. Vince Biegel (PUP)
This is one of the most worrisome groups on the roster. The component of this group are two injury prone starters and with a few unproven backups. This position looks much better after the addition of Ahmad Brooks. He will provide a veteran presence somewhat like the one we saw in Julius Peppers. Brooks has shown steady sack production for many years with the 49ers, and is always a good bet to help stop the run. Beside, the minor injuries facing the starters, they both have looked good this preseason. If they can stay on the field, this could be a good season for them.
Jayrone Elliot has shown some good things in camp, but is currently dealing with back issues. Kyler Fackrell has been frustrating. He is a tall and fast guy, which led him to be a third round pick. Much is to be desired from his play on the field this preseason. Gilbert has shown enough to possibly sneak onto the roster, but only because I believe Vince Biegel will land on the PUP list for the first 6 weeks of the season. The team is likely going to be cautious with Biegels injury so he does not find himself having the same injury for a third time.
3- 1. Jake Ryan 2. Joe Thomas 3. Blake Martinez
This isn’t the most talented group but you know what you’re going to get from them. Jake Ryan just continues to improve against the run and in pass coverage every year. The man is criminally underrated in my opinion as a 1st and 2nd down ILB. Joe Thomas is your good pass cover guy at inside backer, but we have seen him make some flash plays against the run this preseason. Blake Martinez figures to get plenty of playing time also, as a guy who can defend the run and the pass. Third and long inside linebacker should be manned by a rotation of Thomas, Morgan Burnett, and Josh Jones.
6- 1. Davon House 2. Quinten Rollins 3. Damarious Randall 4. Kevin King 5. Ladarius Gunter 6. Josh Hawkins
This position gave us all headaches last season. Fortunately, the team added Davon House and Kevin King. Randall and Rollins have healed from injury. There is no possible way this group could possibly be worse than it was last season. House figures to start at outside corner. I would guess that week one will feature Randall on the outside opposite House, with Rollins manning the slot. Rollins has played his best football in the slot during camp. The Packers first pick Kevin King will see some snaps early, but don’t look for him to take a starting role too soon barring poor play or injury.
There has been some talk that Gunter may not make the roster after a poor camp. Personally, I think they would be crazy to do so and I’ll explain why. Gunter is a guy who you do not have to pay very much money that you can stick into any of the positions at cornerback because he has been there before. Essentially the man is a cheap insurance policy, who just so happened to have been graded highly by Pro Football Focus for his play in the preseason. Josh Hawkins has shown a big leap to year two, so much so that I would consider him to almost be a lock to make the roster. Lenzy Pipkins is a good bet to make the practice squad if he doesn’t sneak onto the 53 man roster.
5- 1. Haha Clinton-Dix 2. Morgan Burnett 3. Josh Jones 4. Kentrell Brice 5. Marwin Evans
From starters to backups this is an outstanding position group. HHCD and Morgan Burnett are one of the better starting duos in the NFL. Josh Jones has come in and shocked us all with his play making ability, I would like to see more out of him in preseason game however. Kentrell Brice is a lock to make this roster, he will get playing time especially when Burnett shifts down to Inside linebacker. The outstanding play of Marwin Evans has not gone unnoticed and will land him a roster spot.
1. Mason Crosby
The long-time kicker keeps his job. Family Night looked worrisome, but we haven’t seen anything similar since.
1. Justin Vogel
I watched Vogel punt at Miami for a couple years before he landed on the roster. I proclaimed that he would be our punter for 2017 after I saw the signing, and it looks like I may have been right. Vogel has had some bad punts, but for the most part he’s an improvement over what we’ve seen in recent years. There’s always the possibility that the right guy gets cut elsewhere in the league and Vogel gets cut.
1. Brett Goode
The second there was an issue with the long snapper position, the Packers called up long time snapper Brett Goode, and the job became his. While he does not offer much on punt coverage, he is reliable to get the ball to the punter or holder.
Prime Practice Squad Candidates
Taysom Hill, Joe Callahan, Joe Kerridge, Deangelo Yancey, Max McCaffrey, Kofi Amichia, Jonathan Calvin, Geoff Gray, Michael Clark, Lenzy Pipkins, Christian Ringo, Reggie Gilbert.