Chad Toporski: My Initial Packers 53-man Roster Prediction
As I’ve perused the Packers Blogosphere and its associate comments sections, I have noticed something rather interesting. There are two types of fans when it comes to roster predictions: (1) those who list whom they want on the roster, and (2) those who predict whom Ted Thompson will keep.
These are two very different processes, because in the former, we are relying on our own sense of football knowledge. We usually have a limited perception of players, because most of our first-hand experience comes from exhibition games and not live training camp practices. (The exceptions are the veterans, whom we’ve seen in past regular seasons.)
In the latter, we are trying to synthesize preseason games with media reports from practice and our general knowledge of how Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy work. We’re not looking at who we like (though that does admittedly alter our perceptions), but rather who the Packers like. One great example of this is tight end D.J. Williams. Despite broad frustration from the fan base in regard to his performance deficiencies, the Packers seem determined to keep him on the roster. He’s been given a lion’s share of reps, and a lot of them have come with the first team offense. (Of course, one could argue they’re trying to “sell” him to another team.)
With all of that in mind, this is how I think the roster will shake out according to Thompson and McCarthy. I can’t say that my own subjectivity won’t factor into the equation, but I’ll do my best to keep it at bay. Enjoy.
Quarterback (2): Rodgers, Young
The writing was on the wall when Graham Harrell was cut. Young is the de facto backup.
Running Back (5): Lacy, Franklin, Green, Starks, Kuhn
With Harris on IR, Starks will fill in the fifth roster spot. There’s really no one left, and they’re going to need four running backs to make it through the season. Kuhn is a no-brainer for how much the Packers value him, despite some contempt from fans.
Wide Receiver (5): Nelson, Cobb, Jones, Boykin, Ross
Ross did enough on returns the past couple weeks to win the fifth wide receiver job; meanwhile, Walker didn’t do quite enough as a wide receiver despite his earlier flashes. The top four of Nelson, Cobb, Jones, and Boykin are guarantees.
Tight End (5): Finley, Mulligan, Williams, Taylor, Bostick
This is the stickiest group of them all. It was extremely difficult to keep only four, so I bumped it to five. Williams, Taylor, and Bostick have all been playing special teams roles, and Mulligan is the blocker they’ll need for an improved running game. The Packers are looking to trade someone from this position due to the depth, and I think it ends up being Quarless or Williams. For my big, bold prediction of the week, I’m going to say someone pulls the trigger for Quarless.
Offensive Line (7): Bakhtiari, Sitton, EDS, Lang, Barclay, Newhouse, Van Roten
I really didn’t want to leave the offensive line so thin with only seven players, but I nixed Taylor in order to get Mulligan on the tight end list. As always, they’ll have a couple linemen on the practice squad as emergency back-ups.
Defensive Line (7): Pickett, Raji, Jones, Wilson, Neal, Jolly, Daniels
Who could you possibly cut from this list? Pickett, Raji, and Wilson have been the starting linemen all camp, while Jones, Neal, Jolly, and Daniels are all valuable contributors. The only question was Boyd, but he didn’t show enough to make the cut. (See the practice squad, though.)
Linebacker (9): Matthews, Perry, Hawk, Jones, Francois, Lattimore, Manning, Barrington, Mulumba
This was about as tricky as the tight ends. Moses was almost a lock coming into camp, but he seems to have regressed – or at least not gotten better. (He has been battling through turf toe for four weeks.) Mulumba and Neal will be the OLB backups with Moses gone. Barrington started playing with the first-team special teams unit, so he makes it.
Defensive Back (10): Williams, Shields, Hayward, House, Hyde, Burnett, Jennings, McMillian, Banjo, Bush
This is pretty clear-cut. Banjo earned himself a roster spot this preseason, while Bush isn’t going anywhere due to his contract and special teams value. The cornerback corps should make most teams jealous.
Specialist (3): Goode, Masthay, Crosby
With Tavecchio and Ramirez gone, Crosby gets the nod. His job security will be in question throughout the season, though.
Practice Squad (8): FB Amosa, LB Palmer, S David Fulton, WR Walker, OL Taylor, OL Datko, DL Boyd, QB Coleman
Is there anyone else to really add who’s eligible? Maybe OL Lewis and WR Charles Johnson. But who would they replace?
PUP: Worthy, Tretter, Richardson, Sherrod
No one new can get added to the PUP after Tuesday’s roster moves. Any other injured players would have to be put on IR if moved from the active roster.
IR: WR Cunningham, OL Bulaga, WR Dorsey, RB Harris, LB Reed
Barring an unforseen injury, no one else will get added to the IR list. There is still the option of a “Designated for Return” IR player to be added later on.——————Follow @ChadToporski