First, a little bit of a disclaimer:
I HATE doing roster predictions.
Why, you may ask? I don’t like pretending I’m smarter than I really am. Packers GM Ted Thompson has one of the shrewdest minds in the NFL, and I don’t. If I did, I wouldn’t be writing this right now.
I do not envy Thompson at this time of year, however. He has done such a masterful job at building a roster that he in a sense backs himself into a corner each training camp and has to make some difficult choices. A third stringer on the Packers is sometimes good enough to be a starter on the other 31 teams, but thanks to the ludicrous depth Thompson has built, they’re stuck on the bench.
Since we’re on the topic, here’s my best guess at what the Packers’ opening day roster will look like:
Quarterback (2)—Rodgers, Harrell
I’m still on the fence as to whether or not the Packers hang on to Graham Harrell or trade for a more experienced backup. Even if Harrell plays poorly against the Chiefs on Thursday, the Packers may keep him anyway. If the Browns offer some conditional picks for Colt McCoy, if they even try to trade him, then I could see Thompson pulling the trigger.
Running Back (5)-Benson, Green, Saine, Kuhn, Starks
I wanted to cut Starks, but with no one really standing out to be the sixth wide receiver, Neo remains a Packer though he’s the mostly likely of this group to get cut. Saine remains an interesting prospect once he is healthy and Alex Green keeps progressing.
Wide Receivers (5)-Nelson, Jennings, Driver, Jones, Cobb
No brainer here. With Diondre Borel and Tori Gurley disappointing in training camp, the once-possible notion of the Packers hanging onto six wide receivers has come and gone.
Tight Ends (4)-Finley, Crabtree, Williams, Taylor
Offensive Line (8)-Lang, Sitton, Newhouse, Saturday, Bulaga, Dietrich-Smith, Datko, Wells
Dietrich-Smith remains the heir apparent to Saturday as the center of the future, and Wells has shown versatility like Lang to move around the line and fill in where needed. Datko has shown just enough as the last spot here came down to him and Barclay, who despite having some versatility, just seemed to be outmuscled by Datko.