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Green Bay Packers 53-Man Roster Prediction

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Green Bay Packers 53-Man Roster Prediction

Making roster predictions is an inexact science.

Last-minute trades are known to happen, and there's nothing stopping the Packers from cutting below 53 players to make room for a waiver claim cut loose from another team.

Assuming the Packers keep 53 players currently on the roster, here's my official prediction...

Quarterbacks (2)

Aaron Rodgers, Vince Young

The Packers are stuck with Young, for better or worse. Even if they think they're better off claiming another quarterback off waivers or trading for one, they still have to keep Young on the roster, because no outside quarterback is going to be able to run the Packers offense in time for Week 1.

Running Backs (5)

Eddie Lacy, John Kuhn, Alex Green, James Starks, Johnathan Franklin

With the injury to DuJuan Harris that has landed him on injured reserve, the door has been opened to both James Starks and Alex Green, although Green would get my nod over Starks if the Packers were to keep only one. Franklin doesn't appear as if he's ready for primetime, but the Packers aren't going to want to cut a fourth round draft choice and risk losing him. He's likely to be a game day inactive until he improves and the Packers can trust him on the field.

Wide Receivers (5)

Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Jarrett Boykin, Jeremy Ross

Beyond the top three, Boykin has established himself as the fourth wide receiver. Ross has more value as a receiver/returner, which gives him the edge over fellow receivers like Tyrone Walker and Myles White. It didn't help that both Walker and White fumbled in the final preseason game while Ross had the best game of his professional career. The only reason the Packers would keep a sixth wide receiver like Walker or Charles Johnson would be because they fear they'll lose them after being cut. It's not a big deal they don't keep six, because there's probably not room for a sixth to be active on regular season game days unless there's an injury higher on the depth chart.

Tight Ends (4)

Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless, Matthew Mulligan, Ryan Taylor

Without a doubt, tight end is the toughest position to predict on the roster. Ted Thompson is probably trying to trade either or both of D.J. Williams and Brandon Bostick. If he fails to trade either of them, at least one of them is likely to be cut.

Offensive Linemen (7)

David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, Evan Dietrich-Smith, T.J. Lang, Don Barclay, Marshall Newhouse, Greg Van Roten

Going with only seven offensive linemen is certainly a low number, but there probably isn't eight linemen worth keeping currently on the Packers roster. This is the one position where the Packers could look for a waiver wire pickup from another team. Van Roten hasn't exactly impressed during training camp, but he looks to be the top backup at center for the time being. The Packers might get some needed depth at midseason if Derek Sherrod is finally ready to come off the PUP list.

Defensive Linemen (6)

Datone Jones, B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, C.J. Wilson, Johnny Jolly, Mike Daniels

Once Johnny Jolly proved himself over the course of the summer, the defensive line was pretty cut and dried. Only Josh Boyd stands as a question mark, and he's simply a victim of good depth at the position. There's a good chance he'll be asked to stick around on the practice squad.

Outside Linebackers (5)

Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Mike Neal, Dezman Moses, Andy Mulumba

Mike Neal is counted among the outside linebackers, because it would appear that's his primary position now. There are probably two roster spots available between three players: Moses, Mulumba and Nate Palmer. For the time being, Palmer is the odd man out, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see any one of those three players cut.

Inside Linebackers (6)

A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones, Robert Francois, Terrell Manning, Jamari Lattimore, Sam Barrington

The four backups don't figure to see much playing time on defense as long as Hawk and Jones are healthy, but they'll make up the core of the Packers special teams.

Cornerbacks (6)

Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde, Davon House, Jarrett Bush

Cornerback is another position that's pretty much set in stone. Bush makes the roster on the strength of his special teams acumen.

Safeties (4)

Morgan Burnett, M.D. Jennings, Jerron McMillian, Chris Banjo

Had it not been for an injury to Burnett, the Packers may have went with only three safeties on their final roster, but they need an insurance policy. Banjo earned the final spot on the roster with solid play during training camp and could be an asset on special teams if nothing else. This could be another position the Packers look for help on the waiver wire.

Special Teams (3)

Mason Crosby, Tim Masthay, Brett Goode

Even though Crosby's job was in jeopardy as little as a week ago, he's locked in for now after accepting a restructured contract with less guaranteed money.

Practice Squad (8)

B.J. Coleman, Tyrone Walker, Charles Johnson, Brandon Bostick, Patrick Lewis, Josh Boyd, Nate Palmer, Brandon Smith

It's highly unlikely the Packers keep eight of their own players on the practice squad. It's inevitable they'll fill at least one or two spots from outside the organization, but a few of these players are likely to stick around.

Note: When in doubt, look for the Packers to keep the fourth-year players on the roster: James Starks, Andrew Quarless, Marshall Newhouse, C.J. Wilson, Mike Neal.

At the very least, they're experienced and will be highly motivated by their upcoming free agency to earn a lucrative new contract.

And even if the Packers aren't the ones to offer them a new contract, it's possible they can get draft-choice compensation if they leave as free agents next year.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (28) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Cole's picture

Rather have Boyd over either Moses or Mulumba. Other than that I agree.

Crefan's picture

Nice article Brian.
But I really don't think Bostick will make it to the practice squad without someone scooping him up.

I hear there's a few teams out there looking for tight end help.

packsmack25's picture

Tough to argue with any of this. Special teams always win out.

jeremy's picture

Hopefully there is a team deep at interior OLine who wants to swap for a TE...

thedon's picture

I think they'll keep mcknight instead of starks or green now

Point Packer's picture

Our offensive line is in some dire need. It will be bolstered slightly if Sherrod ever comes back - speaking of, has anyone heard about if that guy worked hard toward a recovery? Seems like he's been injured since Anthony Dilweg suited up for the Pack. Injuries didn't help, but similar to QB, TT major f-ed up on this one.

Tauscher available?

Mojo's picture

Regarding Sherrod, I never understood how TT screwed the pooch on this. Could he have predicted a 275lb linebacker was going to crash down on the planted legs of Sherrod who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Somewhat similar to being in a car wreck. His bottom right leg below the break was just dangling there. He needed emergency surgery just to get through the next few days. The surgery didn't go a hoped, so they did another roughly a year later. That's why it's taking so long. Don't know if Sherrod will ever be good, but it wasn't because a lack of effort on his part. It's tough for anyone to come back from basically having your leg torn in half, much less a 320lb professional athlete.

About carrying seven o-lineman on the roster, do we really need more than that? Between the PUP and PS you should have enough to cover if anyone gets hurt. If they had 20 o-lineman, they would probably only activate seven for game day anyway. And an in-game emergency, Mulligan is nearly a mini-o-lineman. So keep only seven on the roster because the rest aren't worth a spot. Then dump a few on the PS. If you see someone you like dumped by another team consider adding, but as of now this team barely has seven NFL quality lineman currently available.

Stroh's picture

Not quite sure how Thompson F'd up. He used 2 1sts on OT that had no injury issues in college. Was he supposed to know that Bulaga would have a season ending hip injury one year and an ACL the next? Or that Sherrod would have both bones in his lower leg snapped in 1/2 and miss at least 2 full seasons? Or for that matter that Tretter wouldn't know how to slide properly and break his ankle?

Just imagine our OL w/
Sherrod LT
Lang LG
EDS Center
Sitton RG
Bulaga RT

That's how it would look and if you want you can insert Tretter in place of EDS. If Sherrod never gets hurt there is very little chance Sitton and Bulaga would be switching sides.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I completely agree... I hate when people hate on Thompson for 'failing' in the draft... Last year alone, the 3 previous years the 1st round picks were all on IR.

Not his fault.

Lars's picture

It's not Thompson's fault Sherrod got injured and is taking a very long time getting back. Though, Sherrod wasn't much before the injury.

You 'hater's of Tt draft haters' will have to put up with the criticism of the Justin Harrell pick. That guy was injured all though HS and college before TT reached for him. Just a terrible pick. Brian Brohm was another one. Otherwise, TT's done very well in the draft (not Baltimore well) but good nonetheless.

Evan's picture

All 6 TEs threw out the first pitch at tonight's Brewers game. That would have been awkward had the Packers made their cuts today.

RC Packer Fan's picture

lol, no doubt.

VApackerfan's picture

I don't think Brandon Smith is worth keeping on the practice squad. He looked lost all pre-season. I would rather have a guy like Myles White.

RC Packer Fan's picture

With Tyrone Walker and Charles Johnson already on the Practice Squad in this scenario, I don't think a 3rd WR is needed.
I would definitely put one of the 3 CB's on the PS. Nixon, Means or Smith.

Evan's picture

Smith is a converted WR. I think he showed some good things considering. Perfect PS material.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I agree. PS is a perfect place to develop a player like Smith.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Brian, My list was very similar. The only thing I question is if they keep Moses. It wouldn't surprise me if he stayed, but wouldn't surprise me if he left either...
I know he has been injured but he hasn't shown anything this preseason. With Neal playing OLB, and Mulumba a lock in my opinion, I don't know if Moses makes it.

That is my only real question. I could see them maybe keeping Charles Johnson, or Bostick vs. Moses.

Chad Toporski's picture

My only question with your list is this, Brian:

Can the Packers really afford to keep 11 LBs on the roster at the expense of (an)other position(s)?

Brian Carriveau's picture

That certainly has gone through my mind. I guess when you consider Mike Neal is still part defensive lineman and special teams as a position all it's own, I think you can. But I did think the roster was far more defense heavy overall, 27 to 23.

Lars's picture

I have Neal at OLB, as well. Cut Moses and you're down to ten LB'ers. I also wouldn't assume Boyd clears waiversand makes it onto the PS just to save a roster spot for Jolly. There are only so many picks TT is going to want to cut.

Chad Toporski's picture

Well, they did end up keeping 10 counting Neal... The big surprise was Manning being cut.

Colradopackerfan's picture

Young cut! Lets see what trash they bring in now- McCoy will probably be cut, but is worse than harrell. I really don't see anyone comming along that will be able to get up to speed and be any better or even as good as Harrell. Was the cutting of Harrell some big game to try to teach him a lesson and motivate him that went wrong when the jets picked him up? Bj is pitiful and please don't talk about his potential, there is no way he can step in and help the team out at this point. Rogers must be pissed right now.

Wenis's picture

Cutting Young in favor of Coleman or hoping to sign someone else who gets cut is a mistake that will cost us dearly if AROD goes down with an injury.

Lars's picture

It was always going to cost dearly. Think Harrell could have done anything last year (see how bad he was in 2013) except trip, fall down and fumble? Young was awful and set up to fail because they brought him in so late.

Evan's picture

That's silly. They're screwed if Rodgers gets hurt regardless. I'm holding out hope for a Flynn reunion.

Wenis's picture

Maybe they will try and bring Young back after Week 1 if he is available. If he made the 53-man roster he is guaranteed his entire 2013 salary, not so after Week 1.

Longshanks's picture

I doubt it's about salary, Vince Young should not be playing qb in the NFL anymore. He's done.

I say either the Packers are trying to get Flynn back or they are crossing their fingers the Jets release Harrel and bring him back. Releasing Harrel was a huge mistake.

Vince Young is just pathetic. Coleman is too by the way but no way is Young worthy of a roster spot.

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