Projecting the Green Bay Packers Final 53-Man Roster, Pre-Training Camp Edition
With the start of training camp on July 26, the Green Bay Packers offseason is really starting to heat up. Time will begin to fly so fast that the Packers will be finalizing their 53-man roster before we even blink.
As with any final roster in the NFL, there are a good amount of players who are guaranteed to be on the team for the regular season. No matter how poorly quarterback Aaron Rodgers plays during training camp or the preseason, he'll still be the starting quarterback.
However, Green Bay does have a handful of positions that are wide open for either the starting job or backup roles. These will be the positions and players of the most intrigue throughout training camp and the preseason.
Today we're going to project the Packers' final 53-man roster right before training camp.
Note: (S) denotes starter at that position
Projected on Final Roster: Aaron Rodgers (S), Matt Flynn, Scott Tolzien
With the issues the Packers had last year with backup quarterbacks, keeping three on the final roster makes sense. With that said, if one position is going to lose a player to make room at another position, it'll be the No. 3 quarterback.
There are really no surprises here. Rodgers is the obvious starter with Flynn and Tolzien as the backups. Their battle for the No. 2 job should be one of the more intriguing ones during training camp.
Flynn certainly has the upper hand right now simply due to his experience in the Packers offense and his play on the field last year. However, Tolzien is getting his first full offseason with the team and has much more upside than Flynn.
Hopefully neither of them need to be used unless the Packers are up by 40 points late in the fourth quarter. However, if either Flynn or Tolzien need to start, Green Bay should feel much better about it this year than at any point last year.
Projected on Final Roster: Eddie Lacy (S), James Starks, DuJuan Harris, John Kuhn (Fullback)
Getting production from running backs was a big issue for the Packers up until last year. And because of the newfound ground game, the Packers can feel good about only keeping three running backs on the final roster.
Lacy will absolutely get the majority of the carries for Green Bay. He proved last year that he's every bit the workhorse that the Packers need.
Behind him on the depth chart will be Starks, who is coming off his best season in Green Bay, and the speedster Harris. Both players provide plenty of talent out of the backfield as runners and receivers.
Finally, Kuhn is back for another year and will be the "fullback" for the team. As good as the running backs were last year, look for them to be even better this year due to the experience and growth of all the key players.
The Packers have a major issue with their wide receivers. The problem is that they simply have too much talent at the position.
Now, most teams would call that a good problem to have, but for the Packers, it could ultimately force them to keep more receivers than they should on the final roster. The reason for this is because the chances of any receiver they don't put on the final roster getting offered a contract from another team are extremely high.
So the Packers will keep seven receivers that are headlined by Nelson and Cobb. Adams will get the final starting job by barely beating out Boykin. His presence in the starting lineup will allow Cobb to play as a slot receiver often, which is certainly a good thing.
Two players to keep an eye on during training camp are Janis and Abbrederis. The two rookies could make an impact in a number of ways, including on special teams as kick and punt returners.
Look for the Packers to be the envy of the NFL for the bevy of talented receivers they'll store on their final roster.
Projected on Final Roster: Andrew Quarless (S), Richard Rodgers, Brandon Bostick, Colt Lyerla
Even though there is still quite a bit of unknown about this position, there's really only one potential roster spot up for grabs. And that spot might not even exist if the Packers decide to just roll with three tight ends instead of four.
With that said, we're projecting four right now simply because of the potential of Lyerla. It's possible that he would make it to the practice squad because of his past, but it's more likely a team would sign him away.
So the Packers will keep him with Quarless, Bostick and Rodgers, who are all pretty much guaranteed a roster spot at this point. What we still don't know about this position is how much production the Packers can actually expect to get from it.
Look for training camp to shed some light on the tight end situation.
Projected on Final Roster: David Bakhtiari (S), Josh Sitton (S), J.C. Tretter (S), T.J. Lang (S), Bryan Bulaga (S), Don Barclay, Corey Linsley, Derek Sherrod, Lane Taylor
While the offensive line has been a problem area in past years, that shouldn't be the case this year. The Packers boast one of the best, and most underrated, offensive lines in the league.
The only newcomer to the starters this year really isn't a newcomer at all. Bulaga would have been the starting left tackle last year if it wasn't for an ACL injury. Now that he's healthy, the Packers can slide him back to his natural spot at right tackle.
What really puts this group over the top is the versatility and depth of the backups. Barclay can play all three positions along the offensive line, while Sherrod is a former first-round pick loaded with talent. Linsley could push for a starting job at center during training camp, and Taylor is an extremely solid backup guard.
Overall, Green Bay has to feel comfortable about their offensive line heading into training camp.
Projected on Final Roster: Mike Daniels (S), Datone Jones (S), B.J. Raji (S), Khyri Thornton, Josh Boyd, Jerel Worthy
The defensive line is all about potential for the Packers. Neither Daniels nor Jones have started before, but the Packers don't have any better options at defensive end.
The only truly experienced player on the defensive line, Raji, is coming off his worst year in the NFL, so even he's an unknown. However, the potential is definitely there for this group to make a huge impact on defense this year.
As for the backups, there really aren't any surprises. Thornton was a third-round pick, so he's a lock to make the final roster, and Boyd has enough potential to warrant a roster spot to be Raji's backup.
The final spot for the defensive line goes to Worthy. It's definitely possible that the Packers part ways with him due to his inability to stay on the field or make an impact, but for now we have him making the final 53-man roster.
This group is all about potential right now, but the Packers should still feel good about just how much potential there is.
Projected on Final Roster: Clay Matthew (S), Julius Peppers (S), A.J. Hawk (S), Brad Jones (S), Mike Neal, Carl Bradford, Jamari Lattimore, Adrian Hubbard, Sam Barrington
No position was more difficult to project than the linebackers. What really made it so tough was the fact that there isn't a whole lot of talent once you get past the starters.
We all know that Matthews, Peppers, Hawk and Jones are penciled in as starters. The only one of those four in jeopardy of losing his job is Jones, but even that is a long shot right now.
With the backups, only Neal, Bradford and Lattimore should feel confident about making the final roster. We've left Nick Perry off the list because he's too unreliable, but he could definitely steal a roster spot from either Hubbard or Barrington.
What makes this group really interesting is that the Packers have a pretty good idea of the talent they have with the starters, but it shouldn't necessarily make them feel confident. Both Hawk and Jones are far from superstars, and it's possible that Peppers is at the tail end of his career.
Training camp should help put some pieces together regarding this group and how much talent the Packers really have here.
Projected on Final Roster: Tramon Williams (S), Sam Shields (S), Casey Hayward (S), Micah Hyde, Jarrett Bush
Keeping only five cornerbacks on the final roster is certainly risky, but it makes sense for the Packers. They simply don't have an established cornerback to be No. 6 outside of Davon House, and House is far from a lock to make the final roster.
By rolling with only five cornerbacks, the Packers can keep more talent at other positions of need like tight end or the defensive line. And the Packers should really feel good about the talent in this group of cornerbacks.
The only move that could throw a wrench in everything would be if the Packers ultimately decide that Hyde is a safety. If that happens, then House will likely make the roster and Green Bay might decide to add a sixth cornerback just to be on the safe side of things.
If this group can stay healthy for the whole year, there's no reason why the Packers shouldn't see a huge amount of improvement from last year. The cornerbacks have the potential to be the best defensive position for the Packers this year.
Projected on Final Roster: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (S), Morgan Burnett (S), Sean Richardson
If keeping only five cornerbacks was surprising, then keeping only three safeties should drop your jaw to the floor. This was easily the worst position last year for the Packers, so keeping more players would definitely make sense.
Well, it would if the Packers had a ton of talented safeties to choose from, but they simply don't. So, they'll roll with Clinton-Dix and Burnett as the starters and keep Richardson as the primary backup.
If things got really bad, the Packers could always move Hyde from cornerback to safety to fill in. If things got really, really, really bad, Bush also has some experience at safety.
It won't be hard for this group to be better than last year's safeties. However, the Packers shouldn't be surprised at all if Clinton-Dix and Burnett turn into the backbone of the defense.
Projected on Final Roster: Mason Crosby (S), Tim Masthay (S), Brett Goode (S)
No real surprises here as the Packers roll with the same special teams players as last year.
Goode will keep his job as the long snapper, and both Crosby and Masthay are coming off rather solid years for the Packers. Green Bay is so confident in these three players that they don't even have competition for them on the roster right now.
The only thing that could possibly change this is an injury. However, as long as everyone can stay healthy, look for Crosby, Masthay and Goode to handle kicking and punting rather well this year.