Two Ways to Fit Six Wide Receivers on the 2012 Packers Roster

Tori Gurley

Can the Packers make room for a sixth WR like Tori Gurley?

The recent contract restructuring that Donald Driver agreed to with the Green Bay Packers has stamped a gigantic question mark over the wide receiver position. Namely, will the Packers’ 53-man roster include six wide receivers now that a roster spot is virtually guaranteed for Driver? Second-year players Diondre Borel, Tori Gurley, and even Shaky Smithson will all be competing for a spot on the roster, but it might require an additional receiver spot to make it possible.

Instead of debating the validity of keeping six wide receivers, I’ve decided to consider how this could actually happen. What roster moves would have to happen, and which option is the most likely?

Before diving in, I decided to do a little preliminary work and see how Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson have built their opening day rosters in the past. I first charted how many players were kept at each position, then went through and looked at the minimum number of players McCarthy has kept throughout the years. I didn’t take an average, since I though it more important to see how low the Packers were willing to go at a given position and use that as kind of a breaking point.

(Note: I only went back to 2009 due to the defensive scheme shift. Defensive positions prior to that point, especially DL and LB, would carry significantly different numbers.)

POS 2011 2010 2009 MIN
QB 2 2 2 2
WR 5 5 5 5
TE 5 4 3 3*
RB 3 2 3 2*
FB 1 3 3 1*
OL 8 10 9 8
DL 6 6 6 6
ILB 4 4 4 4
OLB 6 4 5 4
CB 7 6 6 6
S 3 4 4 3**
SP 3 3 3 3
TOTAL: 53 53 53 47 (51)

* – The TE, RB, FB positions comprised a total of 9 players throughout each year. TEs and FBs as blockers could be considered as mostly interchangeable, while some years the FB position took on a bigger ball-carrying role along with the RBs.