Chad Toporski: My Initial Packers 53-man Roster Prediction

Good luck to Ted Thompson as he whittles down the current Packers roster to 53 players.

We seem to say the same thing every year about the Green Bay Packers’ training camp roster: it’s going to be hard to make some of these cuts. There’s just so much talent across the positions, how do you decide who to keep? After looking at what Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy have done in the past, it’s becoming (slightly) easier to predict what they’re going to do in the future.

Before getting to the roster, here are the three big ideas I settled on in cutting down the roster:

  1. The Packers are going to keep five wide receivers. There are needs elsewhere, and none of the other receivers have really proven themselves to be worthy of an extra slot just for them.
  2. The defensive positions are deeper. Especially for the sake of special teams, I believe the Packers will skew their average numbers towards the defense this year.
  3. Some players are going to be stashed on the PUP/IR lists for next year. There’s a good amount of potential with some of the young players, but there’s a limited amount of space on the roster and practice squad.

Quarterback (2): Rodgers, Harrell

We tried to kid ourselves last year in thinking that they might keep three quarterbacks on the roster, but now we definitely know better.

Running Back (5): Benson, Green, Starks, Saine, Kuhn

We’re a long way away from 2010 when they kept 2 running backs and three fullbacks on the roster. Kuhn has his worth in blocking and short yardage, and I don’t think the Packers are ready to give up on any of the above four RBs just yet. Saine also just returned to practice, which should bode well for him.

Wide Receiver (5): Jennings, Driver, Nelson, Jones, Cobb

What can I say? It really doesn’t get much better than this. I dare you to find any team with a better set of five wide receivers.

Tight End (4): Finley, Crabtree, Williams, Taylor

The Packers kept five last year, but with Quarless still rehabilitating his injury, that number gets cut down to four. It’s actually a blessing in disguise, since that allows them to keep an additional running back.

Offensive Line (8): Newhouse, Lang, Saturday, Sitton, Bulaga, Dietrich-Smith, Wells, Barclay

The Packers have kept between 8 and 10 offensive linemen the past three seasons on their initial 53-man rosters. EDS is the de facto back-up at center, while Wells and Barclay have shown the versatility to play at multiple spots along the line. Sherrod could be the ninth man here, but I think he starts the season on the PUP. Dominguez is also be a possibility, though I’m predicting they stash him on IR.

Defensive Line (7): Pickett, Raji, Wilson, Worthy, Daniels, Muir, Merling, Neal (SUS)

Only six defensive linemen have been kept the past three years, so call me crazy for thinking they’ll keep seven this year. Pickett’s getting older, and I think Muir could be his future replacement. There just seems to be too much talent to ignore, especially when the bubble players aren’t eligible for the practice squad. If/once Neal returns, we might be saying good-bye to Muir or Merling.

Linebacker (9): Matthews, Perry, Moses, Walden, Hawk, Smith, Francois, Lattimore, Manning

What a group! Lattimore is the big swing player here due to his high octane play on special teams and his ability to play both inside and outside linebacker. I don’t think the Packers chance Manning getting snatched up off the practice squad.

Defensive Back (10): Woodson, Williams, Bush, House, Hayward, Shields, Burnett, Levine, Jennings, McMillian

Ten defensive backs have been kept the past three years, and I don’t see a change here. For me it breaks down as 5 corners, 4 safeties, and Woodson.

Specialist (3): Crosby, Masthay, Goode


Practice Squad (8): Coleman, Cooper, Boykin, Van Roten, Datko, Guy, Ross, Richardson

I think we’ve seen the last of Gurley and Borel, as they could get picked up by other teams. If neither of them stick, I think Boykin is the obvious third choice.

PUP: Sherrod, Quarless, Zombo, Brooks

Sherrod is probably hard-pressed to make the roster, since the Packers need healthy back-ups to start the season. If Zombo’s not on this list, he’s probably not on the roster.

IR: Bennett, Dominguez, Bishop, Lair, McCabe

The loss of Bishop hurts, but there’s no way they can keep him on the roster for a late-season comeback. Bennett and Dominguez get stashed here for next year, even though their injuries don’t seem to be as serious.


Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski


15 Responses to “Chad Toporski: My Initial Packers 53-man Roster Prediction”

  1. Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

    I’ll state here what I stated on Al’s post of the same nature.

    I think TT/MM will keep 8 DL. I know that’s insanely high for a 34 team. But all 8 are deserving.

    I think they go with 8 in the OL and 9 in the secondary with an extra guy on the PS in case of injuries.

    There is a direct correlation between the quality depth on the DL and wins under MM.

    The rest looks good!

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    • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

      Thanks. I just don’t think the Packers will ever keep less than 10 DBs on the roster. It might be Capers who prefers to have that many rather than McCarthy, but the preference is still there… especially if they play more dime this year.

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      • Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

        You might be right. But it always seems that when the DL is deep and talented, the D follows.

        IMO there’s just not 9 candidates at OL and DB deserving.

        That doesn’t mean 9-10 OL/DBs won’t make the team.

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  2. David says:

    I think you have a better chance at stashing Manning than you do Datko. And I think you’d see Jones beating out Manning as well for special teams play, understanding the system and being to be able all 4 LB positions.

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    • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

      I don’t know. I can see Jones making the roster, but Manning was one of those picks in the draft that a lot of people liked, despite being a 5th rounder. He may still carry that kind of intrigue with other teams.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. GTT says:

    I hope they give Harrell some time with the 1′s in this weeks game. I don’t believe he’s a NFL QB. I think they need to find that out.

    Also I think there’s a possiblity of them picking up an OL, and a S off someone elses cuts and/or trade. Which would replace Levine and Barclay on his list.

    We shall see.

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    • GTT says:

      Also Walden is suspended for week one, so Jones may make the team for at least one week.

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      • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

        My guess is that they don’t bother keeping an extra person just for Week 1 while Walden is suspended. They can only activate 46 on gameday, anyway.

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  4. Ron LC says:

    Starks or Saine gone. Both injury prone, at least so far. Can’t afford the luxury of guys who don’t stay on the field.

    Taylor stays only if he is needed on ST’s. If not, 3 TE’s until Quarless returns, if he returns this year.

    I too, feel Barclay is a stroner candidate than Datko. For the only reason that Datko has been injured in the past, is injured now, and if you are looking to history to predict future behavior, he will be injured in the future. If the Med staff can offer some assurance that his injuries are resolved, I’d take him over Barclay. I would take Barclay over Wells. Wells mobility was very limited. Maybe it was just conditioning. If so he should show better on Thursday.

    Add another Dline backup until Neal is available. Neal get’s one more chance until he finally, if ever, proves he can play. Zero accomplishments to-date.

    House with a harness is not what I am looking for in a Corner. Tackling and catching the ball will be severely limited. Keep one more of the young DB’s as a fall back position. Yes, Woodson adnWilliams played with shoulder limitations. They were both Pro-Bowlers when they did. House has virtually no game experience. Plus Med Staff says if shoulder pops again he WILL require surgery.

    In any case the front line players offer a formidable group. Some holes in the back-ups might require some waiver wire activity. Anything that improves the overall competence of the team would be a good thing. It’s all incremental when adding from the wire. Be better than what is released.

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    • Turophile says:

      Agree with Ron LC about Starks/Saine.

      I think the Packers keep 3xRB and 1XFB. The extra guy goes on the O line (Van Roten or Datko).

      I also agree with CT that LB Manning makes it, even though at this years camp he is not in the top 53. Also agree on the 7 DL too. Not much of a post this, as its mostly “I agree”.

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    • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

      I can see them cutting Taylor when Quarless returns, but not before. They like their tight ends, and I don’t think they want to sacrifice that depth, especially if they only keep one FB.

      The problem with not keeping House is the chance someone else signs him. While this season may be lost for him, there’s a lot of potential there, and he can still make for an effective back-up.

      As for Saine being injury “prone,” I don’t see it yet. One injury is an accident, two are a coincidence, and three are a pattern. To my knowledge, he’s only had this one.

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      • Al Brown says:

        Saine is also a better blocker and reciever than Starks.
        There is no chance they part with House. IR him, maybe.

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  5. Ron LC says:

    Urgent – (well not really) Bears are giving Peprah a look at S.

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  6. Ron LC says:


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