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Ranking the Packers Undrafted Rookies by Likelihood to Make the Team

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Ranking the Packers Undrafted Rookies by Likelihood to Make the Team

Outside linebacker Adrian Hubbard at Alabama by John David Mercer—USA TODAY Sports.

Outside linebacker Adrian Hubbard at Alabama by John David Mercer—USA TODAY Sports.

The Green Bay Packers have a history of developing undrafted rookies in recent seasons.

At least three of them have made the team's Opening Day roster in each of the past four seasons.

And that's not to mention those that were eventually signed to the team's 53-man roster as mid-season injury replacements.

Some, like Sam Shields, have been absolute gems. Since being signed by the Packers in 2010, Shields has helped the Packers win a Super Bowl and recently became one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL.

Others have been valuable role players like wide receiver Jarrett Boykin, linebacker Jamari Lattimore and tackle Don Barclay.

As long as general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy are running the show, it's a good bet the Packers continue their method of player develpment, keeping a handful of undrafted rookies.

What follows is a listing of this year's class of Packers undrafted rookies, ranked by their likelihood to make the team's regular-season roster from most likely to least likely.

 

1. Outside Linebacker Adrian Hubbard

Projected to be a mid-round draft pick, teams were scared off by a minor heart abnormality discovered at the NFL Combine.

Brought in for a physical following the draft, Hubbard has been cleared by the Packers, and the heart doesn't appear to be an issue.

At 6-6 and 257 lbs., the Alabama product possesses rare size and flashed potential in college before declaring for the NFL after his junior season. 

Hubbard helped Alabama win two national championships and had as many as 11 tackles for a loss and seven sacks in a single season as part of his college résumé.

With the Packers introducing the hybrid "Elephant" position to their defense in 2014, Hubbard at least looks the part to become the eventual long-term replacement for a 34-year-old Julius Peppers.

Hubbard has a lot to prove before being discussed in the same breath as Peppers, but his enormous potential and high ceiling give him as good a chance as any undrafted rookie on the Packers roster to make a measurable impact.

 

2. Tight End Colt Lyerla

Had it not been for Lyerla's off-the-field troubles, he might top the list.

Based on talent alone, the former Oregon tight end posseses as much potential as Hubbard, maybe more so.

It's only been about a month, but ever since signing with the Packers, Lyerla has at least stayed out of trouble.

There's always a risk of relapse, but as long as he stays away from the police blotter, Lyerla will be judged more on his ability to help the team than on his liability factor.

Likewise, as long as Jermichael Finley remains unsigned, the Packers have a need for a split-out receiving threat at the tight end position.

Richard Rodgers and Brandon Bostick also have the potential to fill that role, but neither will be handed a role in the Packers offense on a silver platter.

 

3. Inside Linebacker Jake Doughty

The Packers never had the opportunity to select either Ryan Shazier or C.J. Mosley in the NFL Draft and never even addressed the inside linebacker position until the draft was over.

Seeing as inside linebacker is one of the weaker positions on the Packers roster, Doughty has an opportunity to win a roster spot, especially if he can carve out a role on special teams.

In making 148 tackles for Utah State last season, the second-most in all of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), Doughty has shown a nose for the football. Now he just needs to show it can translate to the professional level.

 

4. Inside Linebacker Joe Thomas

Doughty may have played football at a higher level than Thomas, who comes from a smaller program at South Carolina State, but that doesn't mean Thomas doesn't have potential.

Following his senior season, Thomas was named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's Defensive Player of the Year in helping his team become the No. 1 rushing defense and the No. 2 scoring defense in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

In his final year of college football, Thomas made 115 tackles, 19 for a loss and 7.5 sacks. He was also named a second-team FCS All-American by the Associated Press.

 

5. Running Back Rajion Neal

Following the unexpected release of Johnathan Franklin, there's perhaps an easier route to a roster spot for Neal than it appeared just a few months ago.

Neal rushed for more than 1,000 yards his senior season for an underachieving team at Tennessee but had been a contributing member of the team all four years.

Over the course of his collegiate career, Neal rushed for 2,163 yards and caught 66 passes out of the backfield.

At 220 lbs., Neal has the size to withstand the pounding he'll invariably receive at the NFL level.

 

6. Running Back LaDarius Perkins

Like Neal, Perkins also rushed for over 1,000 yards in a single season against SEC competition, gaining 1,024 his junior season at Mississippi State.

In contrast to Neal, Perkins is more of a scatback, checking in at just 5-7 and 195 lbs.

If Perkins has one advantage over other running backs, however, he has extensive experience as a kick returner with 46 attempts over his college career for 969 yards.

 

7. Safety Charles Clay

The Packers signed Clay Clay after he took part in the team's rookie minicamp on a tryout basis.

Among Clay's most intriguing qualities is his speed, reportedly running the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds at the NFL Regional Combine.

In three years at Hawaii, Clay made 113 tackles and also has special teams experience.

With no safeties guaranteed of a roster spot outside of Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Clay has a decent chance of making the regular-season roster from a numbers standpoint. Now he just has to impress during training camp.

 

8. Defensive Lineman Mike Pennel

As long as Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly remain free agents, the Packers are short on wide bodies on their defensive line after B.J. Raji.

Pennel is most definitely is a wide body, measuring in at 6-4 and 332 lbs. He's also one of the few undrafted rookies signed by the Packers to be invited to the NFL Combine.

After starting out at a junior college for his first two years, Pennell enrolled at Arizona State, where he was suspended twice by the football team.

Pennel then transferred to Colorado State-Pueblo, where he played his senior season and made 36 tackles and three sacks.

 

9. Safety Tanner Miller

Miller has a lot of experience, playing in 36 games over his last three seasons at Iowa.

His senior year, Miller was named honorable mention All-Big Ten after making 70 tackles and three interceptions.

Like Clay, Miller stands a chance of making the Packers roster simply from the standpoint that there's a lack of depth at the position, but he'll also need to be a special teams standout.

 

10. Quarterback Chase Rettig

Rettig stands long odds to make the Packers roster because there's exceedingly few spots reserved for quarterbacks and Aaron Rodgers is guaranteed one of them.

The Packers typically keep only two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster, and if they happen to keep three, it's nearly certain the next spots will go Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien.

If there's a sliver of hope for Rettig, however, it's that he's only an injury away from taking on a much more important role.

 

11. Defensive Lineman Carlos Gray

Gray was an unexpected underclassman entry for the NFL Draft, declaring after just his redshirt sophomore season at North Carolina State.

At 6-2 and 313 lbs., Gray has some good size, but he made just 23 tackles, 3.5 for a loss and 2.5 sacks in 2013.

At least Gray should be highly motivated. There's no going back to recover his unused eligibility.

 

12. Inside Linebacker Shaun Lewis

Lewis was a highly accomplished college player, having started 45 games at Oklahoma State and being named first-team All-Big 12 following a senior year in which he made 73 tackles and three interceptions. The Cowboys went 41-11 in the four years Lewis played for them.

On the downside, Lewis measures in at just 5-11 and 226 lbs., small for an NFL linebacker.

Despite Lewis' size, there's always a need for fast and tough special teams players, which could be his key to a roster spot. He'll have to show he's versatile enough to play on nearly every unit: kickoff, kickoff return, punt and punt return.

 

13. Tackle John Fullington

Fullington comes to the Packers after starting 42 games at Washington State, the second most in school history.

He's also started games at tackle and guard on on both the left and right sides of the offensive line.

Such versatility will serve Fullington well because NFL backups have to be able play more than one position and the Packers typically keep only seven or eight offensive linemen active on game days.

 

14. Guard Jordan McCray

As more of a true guard, McCray may not be as versatile as Fullington, but he might be the more accomplished player.

As a senior, McCray was named first-team All-American Athletic Conference on a Central Florida team that claimed their league title and went on to win the Fiesta Bowl. He was also named honorable mention All-Conference USA the previous season.

He'll find plenty of competition at guard behind incumbent starters Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang.

 

15. Outside Linebacker Jayrone Elliott

Unfortunately for Elliott, he plays at a position that's highly stocked with talent in Green Bay.

In addition to fellow undrafted rookie Adrian Hubbard, Elliott will be fighting for playing time with the likes of Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews, Mike Neal, Nick Perry, Carl Bradford, Andy Mulumba and Nate Palmer.

Regardless, Elliott is coming off a season in which he was named first-team All-Mid-American Conference after making 70 tackles, 14 for a loss and nine sacks as a senior.

 

16. Defensive Lineman Luther Robinson

Robinson played major college football at Miami, but he failed to make much of an impact.

During his most productive season as a senior, Robinson made just 24 tackles, one for a loss and didn't make a single sack in three years.

Not helping Robinson's cause was an injury that forced him to miss his entire sophomore season and a change on the coaching staff when Al Golden was hired, switching to a different defensive system.

Perhaps a change in environment will bring out the best in Robinson. He already had to earn his spot on the roster, having been signed after taking part in the Packers rookie minicamp on a tryout basis.

 

17. Cornerback Ryan White

At Auburn, White played on the Eagles' 2010 national championship team and helped them qualify for another national championship, albeit in a losing cause in 2013.

Even though he's been practicing with the Packers strictly at cornerback, White has experience playing both corner and safety in college, which could help his chances of making the team.

Like many rookies, his chances of making the team probably hinge on how much he can help the special teams.

 

18. Tight End Justin Perillo

Perillo has plenty of experience catching the football, hauling in 128 passes for 1,318 yards and 15 touchdowns during his college career at Maine. However, his road to a roster spot might depend on how well he can block.

At 6-3 and 250 lbs. Perillo should have the frame to be able to block, but he'll need to prove himself both in run blocking and protecting the quarterback.

The same goes for special teams, Perillo will need to block for the kicker, punter, and return specialists if he's going to earn himself a spot on the 53-man roster.

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 [email protected].

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RCPackerFan's picture

I agree with you on this Brian.

Right now, I can see anywhere from 0-3 undrafted free agents making the final roster. The 3 most likely on my list are Hubbard, Lyerla, and Neal/Perkins.

DrealynWilliams's picture

I can see an UDFA TE, an UDFA DL and an UDFA S on the final roster.

Positions I can't see (as of today) an UDFA securing a spot (not by default):

QB,RB,WR,FB,OL,OLB,ILB, CB and P

QB- obvious

RB- Lacy/Starks/Harris will do just fine. Even if the UDFA RB is a ST standout. I think WR #5 or #6 will get that (ST) job.

FB- obvious. Kuhn is there to stay. Forever. Forever-ever?

WR- obvious.

OL- obvious. Unless Sherrod or the rookie C totally bombs.

OLB- Maybe our most talented Def. group? Definitely the most potential.

ILB- DO NOT count out Lattimore and Barrington. DO NOT!

CB- obvious

P- Masthay is damn good and fairly cheap

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TE- no one is settled in as the starter. Everyone's serviceable.

DL- we have no "run stuffers" and only 5 locks (Raji,Daniels,Jones,Thorton,Boyd)

S- no depth and Richardson is still an unknown. Scenario: Burnett goes down and now HHCD and (x) fills in. Who's the Dime CB?

K- We haven't fully trusted Crosby in how long now? I'm guessing we will see a lot more 4th and short attempts this season.

RCPackerFan's picture

I can see a possibility that either Perkins or Neal makes it. I can see where they don't make it. Perkins is more of a scat back type of RB which is what Franklin kind of was. Perhaps they will like what they see and use Perkins how they planned on using Franklin. Also Perkins can be a return man. If you watch Neal's game tape's he is pretty impressive. It wouldn't shock me at all if he made it. He is a RB with power, but has the ability to slash and cut back, run with agility and make guys miss, and catch the ball out of the backfield.

Remember too last year the RB's got banged up. In the Cincinnati game we were down to only Franklin as a RB. Starks history has shown he hasn't been able to play a full 16 games. While he really came on last year, remember that he does have an injured history. Lacy is going to take a pounding, and Harris hasn't made it a full season either.

I can definitely see an UDFA RB making the 53. I'm not saying its a lock by any means, just saying I can see it happening.

I honestly don't think the safety's make it. right now at S they have Burnett, Hyde, Clinton-Dix, Richardson, Banjo. all of which would be ahead of the UDFA's. they would have to really perform well to make it, IMO.

In your scenerio if Burnett goes down, then it will be Hyde and Clinton-Dix as the 2 safety's. In the Dime they would have 4 CB's, 2 safety's. So they would either use Richardson at S and move Hyde to CB or they would bring in House at CB and leave Hyde at S.

I agree that OLB is more loaded with players, but will they let go of a player if he shows a lot? Pure talent wise the top 2 players are Lyerla and Hubbard. thats why i give them the best chances of making the 53.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Lacy's going to take a pounding -- ok. But then there's Starks and Harris.

Starks has been injury prone -- ok. But last season showed he's most effecient when he's not RB #1. Even with Starks out that would leave Lacy and Harris.

It's unfair to label Harris injury-prone or to suggest anything like that. Before last season he had only played in a handful of games.

If one of those UDFA RBs really show something I can see them making the PS easily and if/when one of the 3 RBs get banged up the UDFA will get his call.

I understand your look on the S position.

I'm starting to believe people are more fascinated with Hubbard's size than actual skill. Yes - he's probably better than all UDFA LBs we've brought in this season,but is he better than Mulumba/Palmer (is what it will come down to)? No way he beats out Matthews,Perry,Peppers,Neal or Bradford.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Why do I hold on to 1 bad year? He's only had 2 good seasons including last season. It took a kick in the ass,2 extra kickers in camp and a big pay cut for him to finally get right. Until he duplicates a season like '13 he will always be just a big leg. I'm no Crosby hater. I just hope for more consistency. And of course the distance of the 4th downs will play a part,but I still think the Pack will go for the throat more often.

Comparing a Kicker (in any way) to any other position other than Punter is asinine.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Lol,when did you start speaking for coach McCarthy?

My "predisposed" ideas of players and my stereotypes? Man,you're so full of it. All I stated was that he isn't consistent. He's only had 2 "good" seasons and that's including last season.

Since when did we not take into account what players have done in the past? GTFOH.

Evan's picture

I think Hubbard and Lyerla both have a better than 50% chance of making the team.

L's picture

I liked the way the list looked from 3-8 for the most part (maybe Safety Charles Clay or D-Lineman Mike Pennel could leap frog over the Linebackers and Running Backs) in regards to having an honest "long shot" at making the 53-man roster. 1 & 2 in my eyes are looked at as valuable assets the team will not risk losing and as such they will make the 53-man roster outright given they don't get injured or in Lyerla's case don't F up by relapsing into stupidity (Point is: they're not really long-shots). After the 1-8 players though I'm thinking the remaining players really only have a shot at a possible practice squad position and not the 53-man roster.

I think Chase Rettig is a top candidate to be added to the practice squad, so make him number 9.

D-lineman Carlos Gray is young and if he demonstrates that he's someone worth developing then I could see him being another highly thought of practice squad candidate, so make him number 10.

Tackle John Fullington's versatility is probably something the Packers wouldn't mind tapping into and having on the Practice Squad, so perhaps he's someone to consider at number 11... maybe.

After that l suppose the order of the list presented is good enough as I doubt any of the remaining players get added in any way to the team; again, it's just my guess.

JimTaylor31's picture

I'm thinking maybe 2 or 3 out of Brian's top 7 will make the final 53. A few more on PS. Hubbard could be a real steal if he gets a fire lit under his ass. Lyerla certainly has the ability to make the team and actually carve a niche on the offense. Again he needs to overcome issues. I like Doughty and Thomas and think the best of two has a decent shot, same with the 2 RBs. This looks like a pretty good group though. Could make it very interesting.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Does anyone know where to see opening day 53 + PS?

I would be interested to know on average how many UDFA's the Packers kept around for a few years going back.

My guess is 2-3 guys on average. Which is probably why they seem to get a lot of the good ones.

JimTaylor31's picture

Good point. Another OLB who can cover and play well in space would be a real plus.

Clay Zombo's picture

Well his heart problem was enough for the combine people to not let him participate in on field work so they must have thought it was pretty serious.

Here's an idea, maybe you should do less thinking and more reading.

Clay Zombo's picture

Ok scratch that, I guess he did participate in the combine, I thought I read an article stating he did not. My bad.

packeraaron's picture

We don't know what Hubbard is yet. Let's see him take a snap in pads before we start questioning his heart.

Clay Zombo's picture

Once again you are long on opinion Cow but short on facts. Adrian Hubbard is an OLB, that's what he played in college mostly and that's the position he will play in GB. Mulumba may have started 2 whole games at OLB his entire college career and didn't exactly set the NFL on fire last year at OLB either. Not sure why you assume Mulumba is the better or more natural OLB? Based on what?

Hubbard is far more talented than Mulumba and that's a fact not an opinion. Why would you cut a more talented guy in favor of a marginal athlete like Mulumba?

I do like Mulumba, don't get me wrong but if its a choice between the 2 of them, its a pretty easy decision for me.

Clay Zombo's picture

I see your point and I agree with you but Andy Mulumba is not the magic answer to that problem either. No more than any of the other guys you listed.

LIke you said. Matthews and Carl Bradford are probably the only guys GB has that will play well in space at LB so they better make sure at least one of them is on the field at all times if possible.

I know there aren't many good 6'6" LBers in the NFL, that is a reality I can accept but im damn sure going to give the guy every opportunity to prove himself at OLB, one way or the other. Then I may even try him on the DLine before I give up on the guy completely.

Hubbard has a too good to be true vibe about him, I can understand that. While im sure the Heart issue had something to do with his fall out of the draft, I do agree there is probably more to it than just that. I did read about some attitude and entitlement concerns some scouts had about the guy so maybe that's the rub on him.

Whatever the reason for his fall, he is a GB Packer now and I hope to keep it that way for a long time. Surely not going to write him off before he gets a chance to prove himself, like you are trying to do.

Clay Zombo's picture

He is a GB Packer, hes got a uniform and everything. :-)

Im high on the guy because I know football and I know talent and Im not the only person that thinks the guy was a steal for us. Here's one of many articles that help me feel the way I do. http://lombardiave.com/2014/05/13/packers-get-steal-undrafted-free-agent...

You are the only person I have talked to that's basically written the guy off as a nobody before ever seeing him play. Not sure why your so down on the guy but then I remember your the most negative guy that comments on this or any fan site I have read. You may call it being realistic but at best its pessimistic bullshit and everybody knows it.

Otto's picture

After watching a couple of game videos of his, Hubbard seems like a guy that would have benefited from staying in college another year. He seems to need to mature (his game and physically). The question is, can they afford to keep a 'project' on their 53 man roster?

It was interesting, they used him all over the field: OLB, ILB, DE, DL. He was their ILB in their Prevent D. He was good at running stunts, too. He's got plenty of talent. Could be a diamond in the rough.

Imma Fubared's picture

You can say this about a lot of these guys, they were passed over by 31 teams for a reason: size, speed, skill or all of the above.
I'm sure a couple will make the team and a few the practice squad but if we have more than that, that confirms my original take, there is still a some deadwood on this team.

DrealynWilliams's picture

"Hell if Both Hubbard and Mulumba show enough, they'll go light at another position to keep more potential at LB. It would be unusual but they could make a case for keeping 11 LB(s)..."

Yep,I bet they wish they had more LBs on the active roster during that 49ers playoff game. Boy,was that ugly...

JimTaylor31's picture

Hate to say it but I'm not pencilling in Perry for anything until he gets on the field and stays on the field. Until then I consider him MIA.

RCPackerFan's picture

Instead of IR he might be put on the PUP list. If he can't practice in Training camp that could be a possibility.

RCPackerFan's picture

Also add that they are going to be adding the Elephant End position which will be perfect for him, Neal and Peppers.

RCPackerFan's picture

exactly...

For the first time in a while I am actually excited to see the Defense. I love the pass rushing options we have with Peppers, Mathews, Daniels, Neal, Jones, Perry, also add in Bradford, and Thornton.

I am looking forward to seeing how they use players this year.

JimTaylor31's picture

Oh I agree. I'm 100% sure he'll make the roster. I'm just not convinced yet that he'll stay on the field. If he can even play 12-14 games he should make a big contribution. I'm just not sold yet that he can do that.

Amanofthenorth's picture

'your clueless" Really, Stroh? If you are going to insult like a junior high student then at least ask a grade schooler to check "your" grammar.

Clay Zombo's picture

Quarless would cost only 300k(signing bonus) to cut so that's a definite possibility in my eyes. I think him and Bostic are fighting for the right to be the starter, with the loser very possibly getting cut.

Richard Rodgers and Colt Lyerla are my 2nd and 3rd choices and with GB likely to keep 6 WRs and maybe 3 QBs there is only room for 3 TEs total.

Evan's picture

"...with GB likely to keep 6 WRs and maybe 3 QBs there is only room for 3 TEs total."

Not necessarily. Franklin's injury really opened things up.

They could easily keep 3 QBs, 4 RBs*, 6 WRs and 4 TEs.

That said, I'd much rather see that extra roster space used on defense (or, really, anywhere but a 3rd QB).

*Including Kuhn

Clay Zombo's picture

Yeah nobody wants to waste a roster space on a 3rd QB, especially me but after last year they would be foolish not to keep 3,. I can't think of a position more critical to winning in this league than QB and Rodgers and Flynn aren't exactly bulletproof.

Tolzien has to prove he's worthy of a roster spot first but if he does, I don't see how they can let him or Flynn go.

I could see them keeping 4 TEs but Id rather keep an extra OLB than waste a spot on a 4th TE.

L's picture

My suspicion is leading me to think this is how the roster will sort of breakdown; granted only time will tell and my guesses involve no injuries throwing things out of wack which unfortunately seems to occur every single year:

23, 24 or 25 Offensive players:

2 or 3 QBs: A.Rodgers, M.Flynn, -- and probably S.Tolzien*
* maybe only 2 QBs are kept on the 53-man roster if S.Tolzien doesn't look like he's taken the necessary step forward during the preseason and C.Rettig looks to be someone worth developing further on the Practice Squad.

4 RBs: E.Lacy, J.Starks, ________ (my guess: D.Harris), and ________ (my guess: J.Kuhn)

5 or 6 WRs: J.Nelson, R.Cobb, J.Boykin, D.Adams, ________ (my guess: C.Harper) -- and maybe _________ (my guess: J.Abbrederis)

3 or 4 TEs: A.Quarless, R.Rodgers, _________ (my guess: C.Lyerla*), -- and maybe ___________ (my guess: B.Bostick)
* If Lyerla doesn't relapse into stupidity he'll definitely make the 53-man roster IMO.
Just to note: I personally am more high on B.Bostick making the 53-man roster as the 4th TE than I am J.Abbrederis as the 6th WR.

8 OL: D.Bakhtiari, B.Bulaga, TJ.Lang, J.Sitton, JC.Tretter, ________ (my guess: D.Sherrod), _________ (my guess: D.Barclay) , and _________ (my guess: C.Linsley)

25, 26 or 27 Defensive players:

6 DL: M.Daniels, D.Jones, _______ (my guess: K.Thornton), ________ (my guess: BJ.Raji), ________ (my guess: J.Boyd), and _______ (my guess: J.Worthy)

10 or 11 LBs: AJ.Hawk, B.Jones, J.Lattimore, C.Matthews, N.Perry, J.Peppers, M.Neal, _________ (my guess: A.Hubbard), ________ (my guess: C.Bradford), ___________ (my guess: S.Barrington), -- and maybe ________ (my guess: A.Mulumba)

9 or 10 DBs: T.Williams, S.Shields, C.Hayward, M.Hyde, M.Burnett, H.Clinton-Dix, S.Richardson, _________ (my guess: D.House), _________ (my guess: J.Bush) -- and maybe _________ (my guess: D.Goodson)

3 Core Special Teams Players:

1 K: M.Crosby

1 P: T.Masthay

1 LS: B.Goode

--------------------------------------------------------------------

The Position Battles:

QB: S.Tolzien basically is battling himself to prove that he's worth keeping around for the future because I think M.Flynn is probably locked-in as the #2 this year unless he looks awful during the preseason and S.Tolzien looks like a world beater. IMO, the best C.Rettig can probably do this year is to show the team that S.Tolzien is expendable and he's added to the Practice Squad while M.Flynn remains the only back-up QB on the 53-man roster.

RB: D.Harris battling M.Hill and the young undrafted free agents, R.Neal and L.Perkins, for a spot on the 53-man roster. Also, for the young eligible players they'll definitely be battling for a spot on the Practice Squad if they don't make the 53. Maybe J.Kuhn will be included in the battle above, but maybe his battle is more against I.Liaina for the FB job; however, with several of the TEs capable of filling in a hybrid FB role I'm not sure that a true FB position is really all that important, so it'll come down to pass blocking and special teams which most likely favors J.Kuhn.

WR: The last spot or two will be one helluva battle between C.Harper, J.Abbrederis, K.Dorsey, M.White, and J.Janis. I'm not going to give A.Gillett much of any shot at overcoming those in front of him to earn a spot. The Packers will probably be trying to keep at least 2 of these young promising WRs on their Practice Squad after the final 53-man roster is announced and only 5 WRs are kept; however, if 6 WRs are kept then maybe only one is kept on the PS... maybe.

TE: R.Taylor and J.Stoneburner will probably be battling B.Bostick for that final TE spot, but if C.Lyerla relapses into stupidity then maybe it's a battle for two spots; however, I'm guessing if C.Lyerla does f' up then probably only 3 TEs are kept and an extra (6th) WR is kept. It'll be interesting to see if B.Bostick's or even J.Stoneburner's special teams capability will be enough to dethrone R.Taylor from the 53-man roster; Bostick clearly has the bigger upside as a Tight End than R.Taylor so it'll be interesting indeed.

OL: Obviously, JC.Tretter and C.Linsley are the top two players battling for the starting Center spot and I don't think G.Gerhart really factors in, but depending on how capable D.Sherrod appears -- if he doesn't impress enough to steal a starting spot will he at least establish himself as the top back-up at both Tackle positions? If so, maybe D.Barclay finds himself in a heated battle with L.Taylor as the top back-up at both Guard positions and a final roster spot on the 53-man roster; however, I just think D.Barclay's versatility plays to his favor over L.Taylor given that he can cover so many positions on the line in an emergency. I really don't think anyone else is in the fight for a spot on the 53-man roster, but certainly a spot or two on the Practice Squad isn't out of the question.

DL: The most interesting battle IMO is going to be between J.Worthy, J.Boyd, L.Guion, and maybe even long-shot M.Pennel for the last 2 D-linemen spots on the 53-man roster. I think BJ.Raji will bounce back this year and I don't think the Packers will risk trying to get K.Thornton onto the Practice Squad. So, the real question IMO is can J.Worthy bounce back from his injury to be worthy of his second round billing? If so, and he appears ready to go right away the team will elect to keep him on the 53-man roster leaving the battle for one additional spot between J.Boyd and L.Guion, plus maybe long-shot M.Pennel. I know the Packers like keeping their own players (drafted or signed as undrafted free agents) so I think the edge goes to J.Boyd over L.Guion. If J.Worthy isn't available or even 100% maybe there's a chance he goes onto the PUP and L.Guion is kept as the 6th D-lineman.

LB: While J.Lattimore and B.Jones battle to see who will get more playing time alongside AJ.Hawk on the inside I think the most interesting battles will probably be between N.Palmer, A.Mulumba, A.Hubbard, and C.Bradford on the outside and S.Barrington verses S.Lewis and the undrafted free agents J.Thomas and J.Doughty on the inside. IMO A.Hubbard has too much potential to risk leaving off the 53-man roster and so the battle will probably narrow down to N.Palmer, A.Mulumba, and C.Bradford, but with Bradford being a new draft pick he to will be afforded some luxuries the other two will probably not receive so in reality the battle probably narrows further down to N.Palmer verses A.Mulumba for a final outside linebacker spot on the 53-man roster. As for the inside battle I just don't see Shaun Lewis or the undrafted free agents putting up enough of a challenge to S.Barrington to take the final back-up inside linebacker spot; though, I'm pretty sure one of them will at least receive some interest in being added to the Practice Squad if they show well enough during training camp. I'm not sure S.Barrington is able to push for starting minutes unless injuries occur, but maybe I'm wrong on that. Also, in order to add further depth to the inside linebacker position I think C.Matthews versatility increases and he gets trained to play the position some, plus the team will use special formation package that'll see someone like M.Hyde or even S.Richardson playing in a hybrid inside backer role too.

DB: It'll be interesting to see how much time M.Hyde sees at Safety and whether he gets some time in the Nickel as the slot corner over C.Hayward, plus if he's used as a hybrid inside backer within certain formations which in turn limits the need for ILB depth too. Outside of that intrigue the battle to make the 53-man roster will probably come down to CB D.House, CB/S J.Bush, S C.Banjo, CB J.Rolle, rookie CB D.Goodson, and undrafted free agent S C.Clay. I think D.House is in a pretty good position to make the team, but only time will tell because I wonder if holdover CB J.Rolle can take that next step to earn a spot on the 53-man roster and as such does he take D.House's spot? Will J.Bush's special teams play be enough for him to earn a spot over another younger player who has proved himself as a pretty good special teams player (C.Banjo)? Will the Rookie CB show enough to warrant being kept on the 53-man roster? Will the undrafted free agent S C.Clay prove to be the next C.Banjo, but with better measurables? My guesses are that with the loss of special teams specialist TE R.Taylor from the 53-man roster along with M.Hyde cross-training to fill-in at Safety plus with the selection of Safety H.Clinton-Dix in the 1st round of the draft and undrafted free agent Safety C.Clay being someone worth further developing on the Practice Squad that Safety C.Banjo is considered expendable and doesn't make the team; also, with all of that happening I think the team will highly consider the value in keeping the special teams specialist and versatile backfield guy J.Bush around for his final year. I also think that D.House is able to continue his growth and remains on the 53-man roster over someone who might challenge him like J.Rolle. IMO, a final spot may come down to potentially requiring one additional spot on defense or offense for protecting a draft pick and if it's defense I think it'll involve preventing the risk of losing rookie draft pick D.Goodson to another team if they have to try getting him onto the Practice Squad.

PS:
#1 QB C.Rettig
#2 RB R.Neal
#3 WR J.Abbrederis or WR J.Janis
#4 WR J.Janis or OL L.Taylor
#5 OL L.Taylor or S C.Clay
#6 S C.Clay or CB D.Goodson
#7 CB D.Goodson or DL M.Pennel
#8 DL M.Pennel or CB J.Rolle or IL J.Thomas

There's also a very good chance that the Packers will seek out players from other teams to add to their PS instead of simply retaining all the borderline guys from their preseason team, but as for now this is how I've setup my suspicions on the roster breakdown.

Evan's picture

He just signed his 2 year deal, but only $350,000 guaranteed.

I think he's the starter heading into training camp and it would take something major for him to get cut - but it's certainly not impossible.

Guisado's picture

His absence during OTA's can't be sitting well with MM. He continually fails to be available, which is a MM mantra. Q is lucky so much inexperience is behind him because he *should* be cut. But I agree he's likely to stick since it would be a gamble to go into Week 1 with Bostick, Stoneburner, or Rodgers as your starter. In 2015 that trio (and Lyerla) might be ok.

Mojo's picture

Before I get into a commentary on AQ, I'd like to state I was very pleased he was able to come back from the horrific knee injury from a few years ago. He seems like a good guy, but.... I still can't figure out why Quarless is considered a lock and the number one TE coming into camp.

He ranks near the bottom of TE's with significant playing time last year: http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/TE

And this from Imig on his blocking last year: "Upon further review: Perhaps it was related to his knee injury, or maybe not, but Quarless was a good run-blocker a couple years ago. In 2013, not so much. He went from being the best among the tight end group then to arguably the worst now (and no better than the inexperienced Brandon Bostick, which is saying something)."

Let's see; his athleticism is diminished from that devastating knee injury, he doesn't block well and he's never been a big target as a receiver. Outside of his experience what is there to get excited about?

Also consider he missed OTA's with what I'm guessing are medical concerns. I say his spot is ripe for the taking.

Evan's picture

I totally agree.

Guisado's picture

Hubbard, Lyerla, Neal and Rettig to the PS. Maybe Clay. I don't see how any crack the 53 for Week 1. Maybe as the season rolls on and injuries take place, they can get added to the 53. They were undrafted for a reason, and every team has their guys they want a good look at. They can get safely stashed on the PS while last year's crop gets a chance to show their mettle.

Clay Zombo's picture

They were undrafted for a reason but in the case of Lyerla and Hubbard, a lack of talent was not the reason. Lyerla may be toxic enough to pass to the PS but GB was not the only team that pursued Hubbard as an UDFA and according to Lyerla's agent, at least 3 other teams offered Colt a tryout sp he wasn't completely off other teams radar.

You think these guys are suddenly forgotten about by those teams after GB signed them? There are 31 other teams in this league and every year some of them claim final cut guys off waivers. I bet if either guy is cut they don't make it to the PS, some team will take a chance on them.

Guisado's picture

Sure that is the risk taken by every team every year. But neither Hubbard nor Lyerla are ready for the Packers' 53. Hubbard played 3 years in college, but looked completely lost and ineffective in Bama's pro system. Lyerla played part time for 2.5 years and managed a dozen highlight plays, but finally quit when a freshman started to upstage him. If these guys want to be worthy of the Packers 53, they need to get their $hit together in a hurry. Best thing for them is to chill on the PS for a year and learn how to be professionals. Do they want it or don't they? It has nothing to do with their talent. There's a lot of talented guys selling cars because they couldn't handle the mental rigors of the NFL.

BTW, Hubbard is a stand up, high character guy. But to succeed in the NFL, he'll need to get some nasty.

4thand1's picture

Sign em all

Imma Fubared's picture

Thanks for the write up Brian. I was wondering, the d backs mentioned played at top schools and yet were undrafted. Either they lacked speed or lacked size. You didn't mention how bid these guys are.
We can't have any more 5'10 dbacks trying to cover all those 6'5 guys in the North.

I see a couple of these guys making it first team and obviously some going to the practice squad but most of these guys wont

DrealynWilliams's picture

Sam Shields (5"11) seems to hold his own against Calvin Johnson...

If you can cover. You can cover.

DrealynWilliams's picture

This "3 QB" talk has to stop. If the backup was more than capable this wouldn't even be an issue. I knew none of you were comfortable with either Flynn or Tolzien.

Evan's picture

I'm perfectly comfortable with Flynn as the sole back-up.

RCPackerFan's picture

Really, the biggest issue is because of what happened last year. We lost Rodgers then we lost Wallace to injury, and we were stuck with a 3rd string QB who just signed with the team however many weeks before.

No one wants to go through what we went through last year so everyone wants to be prepared for the worst thing that could happen. That's why a lot of people think we will keep 3 QB's.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yeah, i completely agree..
In the league how many times has a team had to go to a 4th QB. Not much if i had to guess...

I don't think they will keep 3 QB's, but i won't say it won't happen either.

RCPackerFan's picture

what the hell COW????

Just about everything you have posted today, I have agreed with or really can see what your saying.

What is this about?

DrealynWilliams's picture

I wish we could take a poll on here. I bet the results would be close.

Bear's picture

RC, I agree

Bear's picture

RC, I agree.......redundant.

Icebowler's picture

Which Jacksonville castoff is going to make our team this year?

4thand1's picture

Blake Bortles

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