An attempt at the Packers 53-man roster
I get it, I am probably wasting my time because I have no idea what is going through the mind of Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy and the coaches at 1265 Lombardi Avenue. But with plans of doing the roster power rankings come season, I figure why not take a crack at it until that point. So here is my best attempt at the 53-man roster for the Packers…
Quarterbacks (2) – Aaron Rodgers & Graham Harrell
Yup, Harrell has been less than impressive but the Packers have been patient with the early struggles before at quarterback and it has paid off (Rodgers & Matt Flynn). Besides, would Colt McCoy or Tarvaris Jackson lead this team to the Super Bowl? I think not. Aaron Rodgers is the best player in football so anything less than that would be an issue. B.J Coleman = Practice Squad.
Toughest decision: keeping Harrell
Running backs (3) – Alex Green, Cedric Benson, & James Starks
Green is a lock and Ted Thompson made it sound like Benson was picked up for the “long haul,” whatever that means. I believe Starks would be in danger of getting cut if Brandon Saine was healthy. Saine hasn’t been at practice, so Starks gets the nod. Marc Tyler has gotten enough work where he should be around for the practice squad; Green Bay has a history of keeping a back stashed there.
Toughest decisions: James Starks and Brandon Saine
Full backs (1) – John Kuhn
Do I need to say a lot about this position? Nope. So I won’t.
Toughest decision: none
Wide Receivers (5) – Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb, & Donald Driver
The biggest debate heading into training camp was “who is going to be the 6th wide receiver to make this team?” Honestly, Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel have not answered the call the way I think everyone anticipated. Maybe they can slide through to the practice squad again or maybe Thompson could work out a deal to trade them. Either way, both need to show something the next few weeks otherwise it will be the same five as a year ago. Plus, I would argue that Jermichael Finley is your 6th receiver anyway. Jarrett Boykin and Dale Moss continue to battle for the practice squad. Boykin has looked better though Moss has a better upside.
Toughest decisions: Tori Gurley and/or Diondre Borel
Tight Ends (4) – Jermichael Finely, D.J Williams, Tom Crabtree, & Ryan Taylor
The Packers kept five a year ago and with the injury to Andrew Quarless, Green Bay will have the same number this year assuming Quarless is on the pup list. Finley is the best receiver of the bunch while Williams is opening eyes as an emerging 2nd TE. Crabtree is the best blocker while Taylor is solid in all areas, which includes special teams. Taylor would probably be the odd man out and his value may be compared to that of Gurley and Borel. I think Taylor stays over them.
Toughest decision: Ryan Taylor
Offensive Line (9) – Marshall Newhouse, T.J Lang, Jeff Saturday, Josh Sitton, Bryan Bulaga, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Reggie Wells, Herb Taylor, & Sampson Genus
After the starting five, it gets a tad shakey no matter who is kept. E-D-S can play center and guard, which gives him a spot. Wells and Taylor are cheap veterans so I think they won’t be getting “you’re cut calls” from TT in a few weeks. Genus may have done enough to get a nod to the 53-man. Andrew Datko will probably be the last guy cut because they could stash him on the practice squad. He had a rough start before he started catching on though I am not sure he has done enough. Derek Sherrod should be on the pup list. Greg Van Roten could be another practice squad guy based on his one-on-one work…Honestly, the offensive line is the toughest to pick. Who knows but those are my thoughts anyway.
Toughest decisions: Everyone after the starters and E-D-S
Defensive Line (6) – B.J Raji, Jarel Worthy, Ryan Pickett, Daniel Muir, C.J Wilson and Mike Daniels
Wow! A year after looking like complete garbage, the d-line will have some toughest decisions to make! After Raji, Worthy, and Pickett, the questions begin to flow. C.J Wilson has been starting which I think shows where he sits though I have never been overly impressed with him myself. Muir brings an interesting intensity and some experience to the fray which I believe will keep him in Green Bay. Daniels is a question though I think his rookie status will keep him around. From there, Phillip Merling and Jarius Wynn could be tough cuts. The other wild cards are Mike Neal (4) and Anthony Hargrove (8) who both will be serving suspensions to start the year. The Packers could keep them until they become available which they may due just in case of injury or something. I think the first five are ahead of them in standing so it would come down to Neal.
Toughest Decisions: Mike Daniels, Jarius Wynn & Phillip Merling and then what to do with the suspended guys down the road
Linebackers (10) – Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, D.J Smith, A.J Hawk, Robert Francois, Erik Walden, Dezman Moses, Jamarri Lattimore, Brad Jones, & Desmond Bishop
I know the first name you are questioning is Desmond Bishop. I look at it like this: if there is a chance he could be back sometime in December, you keep him active because he could help! Remember, only 46 can suit up on a Sunday and there will be at least one linebacker on the list. So what’s the difference if he is inactive? Plus, you can always put him IR at any time…even if it gets to week 5 and you need a body. Outside of that, Walden has almost outperformed Perry thus far, Francois has been a special teams mark, Lattimore and Jones have been solid while Moses appears to have upside. Terrell Manning has been disappointing as a 5th round pick, Vic So’oto has been quiet, and Frank Zombo has been hurt so they get the axe. If they do IR Bishop, look for an d-back as I explain next.
Toughest Decisions: Desmond Bishop to IR and then Brad Jones, Dezman Moses vs. Terrell Manning, Vic So’oto, and/or Frank Zombo
Defensive backs (10) – Charles Woodson, Morgan Burnett, Tramon Williams, Devon House, Casey Hayward, Jarrett Bush, M.D Jennings, Jarron McMillian, Anthony Levine & Sam Shields
The top 10 are pretty set though who is the 10th guy could make things interesting, especially if they don’t keep 10 but I think they do for sure. Outside of Woodson, Burnett and Williams, there is a lot of shuffling on the depth chart. Hayward, Bush and Shields are all vying for a spot that would have been House’s if he was healthy. Jennings and McMillian are trying to learn the safety spot which could be huge if they do; then the Packers can free up Woodson to move around. Levine and Shields are the last two in my opinion while Bandian Ross and Sean Richardson likely will be on the practice squad.
Toughest decision: whether they keep 9 or 10.
Specialists (3) – Mason Crosby, Tim Masthay, & Brett Goode
Outside of fullback, this is the easiest spot for Ted to make decisions. Masthay is on the verge of being a Pro Bowler while Crosby remains one of the top-10 kickers in football. Goode??? Yup, the less you hear of him the better he is doing his job. His contract is up at the end of this year…uh-oh!
Toughest decision: Should they re-up with Brett Goode…
Last 5 to make it (1 is 53rd man, 5 is 49th man)…
- LB Desmond Bishop
- RB James Starks
- TE Ryan Taylor
- DB Anthony Levine
- DL Mike Daniels
Last 5 to get cut (1 is 54th man, 5 is 58th man)
- WR Tori Gurley
- WR Diondre Borel
- RB Brandon Saine
- OL Andrew Datko
- LB Terrell Manning
Justin Hull is the host of the “Home Stretch” heard 2p-5p on 95.3 FM, WSCO Radio n Green Bay/Appleton, Wisconsin and Sports Reporter for WHBY Radio in Appleton, WI. He is not a writer by trade so grammar and spelling errors should be expected. Feel free to email justin (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any corrections. Also, follow him on twitter (@jh1570) or facebook.