Chad Toporski: My Initial Packers 53-man Roster Prediction
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.——————Follow @ChadToporski