After Cedric Benson was placed on the Injured Reserve list with a Lisfranc injury, the Packers had an open spot on their 53-man roster.
But instead of turning to the free agent market to add another runner, the Packers have promoted offensive lineman Greg Van Roten to the active roster. Van Roten, an undrafted rookie free agent from the University of Pennsylvania, gives the Packers eight offensive linemen on the active roster.
Van Roten will join fellow undrafted rookie Don Barclay and veteran Evan Dietrich-Smith as the team’s three reserve linemen. He was one of the Packers’ final cuts, before clearing waivers and ultimately being re-signed to the practice squad on Sept. 2.
Benson is eligible to come off the I.R. later this season but is expected to be out at least two months. Head coach Mike McCarthy said that Alex Green will get the first carry against the Houston Texans, but Green, James Starks and Brandon Saine would likely each see playing time.
Van Roten plays primarily guard, but Penn originally recruited him as a center. After switching to offensive tackle his freshman year, Van Roten finds himself as a reserve interior offensive linemen for the Packers.
The Packers prefer not to play “musical chairs” on the offensive line, but they certainly value position flexibility from their backups. Dietrich-Smith has value as a reserve center and offensive guard, while Barclay can play both the tackle and guard positions.