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Far Too Early, Pre-OTAs, Packers 53-Man Roster Prediction

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Far Too Early, Pre-OTAs, Packers 53-Man Roster Prediction

Obviously a lot can and will happen between now and the end of training camp when the Packers have to whittle their roster down to 53 players. This is football, and as unfortunate as it may be, injuries have a way of dictating roster decisions. All this is to say, things will change between now and the beginning of September.

In any case, this is a good time to look at how the roster stacks up heading into Organized Team Activities, which begin on Monday in Green Bay.

Brief commentary after each position will focus more on the players on the roster bubble as compared to those who are more sure bets to make the team.


Aaron Rodgers

B.J. Coleman

Commentary: There's still a lot for Coleman to prove, but as it stands now, he's predicted to overtake Graham Harrell as the team's primary backup to Rodgers this season. It's hard to see the Packers keeping a third quarterback on the 53-man roster, but if Coleman wins the backup job, Matt Brown stands a good chance of becoming the de facto No. 3 quarterback on the practice squad.

Running Back

Eddie Lacy

Johnathan Franklin

DuJuan Harris

Alex Green

Fullback John Kuhn

Commentary: The rookies, Lacy and Franklin, are locks to make the roster, and based upon his performance last year, Harris isn't going anywhere either. It would appear as if Green and James Starks could be fighting for one roster spot between them. Perhaps whoever proves he can stay healthy will remain employed. It will be interesting to watch Angelo Pease when the pads come on, given the impression he left on Mike McCarthy in rookie orientation camp. John Kuhn's job would appear to be safe for another year, but don't expect him to carry the ball much any more.

Wide Receiver

Randall Cobb

Jordy Nelson

James Jones

Jarrett Boykin

Charles Johnson

Commentary: Cobb, Nelson and Jones are assured of roster spots, but beyond that, it's up for grabs. Because of his experience last year, Boykin has the inside track on the No. 4 receiver spot. Johnson certainly looks the part from a size and speed standpoint, but he has to prove he can handle it the job mentally too. Jeremy Ross has a chance to stick if he can be reliable as a return specialist. Kevin Dorsey also has an opportunity to win the No. 5 job, but he's going to have to leapfrog a couple competitors along the way. It wouldn't be unheard of for the Packers to keep only four receivers if a fifth doesn't impress, especially if they have enough options at tight end.

Tight End

Jermichael Finley

Matthew Mulligan

D.J. Williams

Ryan Taylor

Commentary: Finley's future in Green Bay might be murky beyond 2013, but as for the season at hand, he'll be looking to make a big-time statement. Mulligan stands a good chance to take over Tom Crabtree's role as the designated blocking tight end. Both Williams and Taylor are entering what could be make or break seasons. As of right now, Andrew Quarless is predicted not to make it on the basis of his very serious injury suffered two years ago, but there will be plenty of opportunities to prove himself between now and September.

Offensive Line

Bryan Bulaga

Josh Sitton

Evan Dietrich-Smith

T.J. Lang

Marshall Newhouse

Don Barcaly

Derek Sherrod

David Bakhtiari

J.C. Tretter

Commentary: It's a big jump going from the seven offensive linemen last year to the nine projected here, but the guessing is that the Packers won't want to risk cutting some of the younger guys like Bakhtiari or Tretter and risk losing them. The open spot at right tackle might not yet be settled, but there's no shortage of candidates. Undrafted rookie Lane Taylor will have a chance to make his presence known, but it will be tough for him to make the roster, because the Packers have more invested into their two fourth round draft choices. Greg Van Roten will have to come on like gangbusters if he's going to beat the odds for a second consecutive year. Garth Gerhart and Patrick Lewis are good practice squad candidates as true centers.

Defensive Line

Datone Jones

B.J. Raji

Ryan Pickett

Mike Neal

C.J. Wilson

Mike Daniels

Commentary: It's assumed Jerel Worthy will at least begin the season on the PUP list. It was going out on a limb keeping only six defensive linemen, especially when Raji, Pickett, Neal and Wilson are all free agents after 2013, but it basically came down to  who would the Packers rather keep on their roster––Josh Boyd or one of their fourth round offensive linemen? Boyd could be stashed away on the practice squad. Johnny Jolly looks like he'll get a fair shake, but he's going to have to really impress if the Packers are going to keep a 30 year old who's been out of football for three years over much younger options who have a lot of good years ahead of them.

Outside Linebacker

Clay Matthews

Nick Perry

Dezman Moses

Nate Palmer

Commentary: Perry is a starter whether he's ready or not, and Moses is the top backup to either Matthews or Perry until someone else proves otherwise. Sixth round draft choice Nate Palmer finds himself in a good position as the No. 4 outside linebacker, but he'll be pushed by undrafted rookies Andy Mulumba and Donte Savage. It wouldn't be surprising if Jamari Lattimore, Rob Francois or even Brad Jones go back to outside linebacker where they've played in the past.

Inside Linebacker

A.J. Hawk

Desmond Bishop

Brad Jones

Terrell Manning

Jamari Lattimore

Commentary: Bishop still has a long road on his way to recovery from last year's hamstring injury, but when healthy, he's the team's best inside linebacker. There's plenty of depth at inside linebacker, at least in terms of sheer numbers. Manning has a chance to make a big jump from last year as long as his health woes are behind him. Lattimore is more of a special teams player than anything, and will be pushed by seventh round draft choice Sam Barrington for the same type of role. If special teams is going to be the deciding factor, it makes more sense that the Packers keep Jarrett Bush rather than Francois.


Tramon Williams

Casey Hayward

Sam Shields

Davon House

Micah Hyde

Jarrett Bush

Commentary: Fans may be down on Williams after two bad games last season, but his job is safe unless anything unforeseen happens. Hayward, Shields and House are all young, up-and-coming corners and will be fighting for snaps. It's a good dilemma for the Packers to have. Hyde makes the cut, but he'll find it tough to find playing time in his rookie year.


Morgan Burnett

Jerron McMillian

M.D. Jennings

Sean Richardson

Commentary: Safety is currently the thinnest position on the team, and it wouldn't be surprising for the Packers to add a veteran presence at some point, for insurance if nothing else. McMillian is the most likely starter opposite Burnett, even if Jennings has more experience. Richardson is a good bet to make the roster if he shows his offseason cervical disc surgery isn't a risk. Jarrett Bush has been an emergency safety in the past and a full-time switch to the position isn't out of the question.

Special Teams

Mason Crosby

Tim Masthay

Brett Goode

Commentary: There's nobody to provide competition to Masthay and Goode, but they don't exactly need it either. The Packers have brought in another kicker to test Crosby for the first time since 2007 with Giorgio Tavecchio. Crosby still has the inside track on the job as long as he doesn't tank it. After last year's performance, however, tanking it doesn't exactly seem beyond Crosby's any more.

Brian Carriveau is the author of "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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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (63) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

QOTSA1's picture

It will be interesting to see how this plays out when training camp starts. I think they will find spots for Boyd and Francois on the roster. I could see them letting go of either DJ Williams or Ryan Taylor, neither has shown much beyond special teams ability so far.

Stroh's picture

Taylor is a ST ace. He'll likely make it. I think the last TE spot will go to Quarless. Williams has been given plenty of time to take the next step and it hasn't happened for him. Its unfortunate but being a training camp star isn't going to cut it this year. The Packers would have to be convinced he will be a strong contributor offense this year.

ArodMoney's picture

Taylor and Kuhn are basically the same player. I'm guessing only one of them makes it.

Stroh's picture

Taylor's not a good lead blocker like kuhn is. Both were on the roster last year. Ithink they'llcarry both again. Kuhn I not as easily replaced as most of you seem to think! He probably on the field for 1/2 of the total plays in a game

ArodMoney's picture

Kuhn was on the field for 437 snaps last year(35%). Of those 152 were as a lone third down back, a role he is widely believed to be relinquishing to Harris/Lacy/Franklin this season. For not being a great lead blocker and making as much money as he does I believe those 285 snaps can be replaced.

When you take out his role as a third down back he basically has the same responsibilities as Ryan Taylor. They are both lead blockers just from different positions. They are both solid on special teams. Neither has shown any more potential than that though. So keeping both just seems redundant when you could keep around a guy with upside like bostick/stoneburner/quarless.

SCFPackFan's picture

Yeah, I can't say I've ever heard anyone accuse Kuhn of being a good lead blocker. He's a decent receiver, good pass blocker and ST guy. Kuhn's not even close to the class of lead FB like Vonta Leach, Bruce Miller, Greg Jones, Harry Hynoski, Jerome Felton. Of course they come from completely different offenses and are asked to be mainly bowling balls, but those guys are true FB.

Man, wouldn't it be nice to have Leach back blocking for this stable of backs. Or, even Quinn Johnson for that matter.

Stroh's picture

Apparently u guys don't get the difference between a FB blocking in the zbs and in a power scheme. What makes Kuhn good in zbs isn't knocking a guy back like Will Henderson did in the power blocking scheme. Kuhn has to read the hole just like the RB then block the correct guy based on how the RB can best cut off his block. Thats why being a former college RB helps Kuhn. Its not just go blockthat guy and knock him back. Is a TE going to read the play developing correctly? Doubtful since he doesn't have the RB experience.

Kuhn plays on virtually all ST plays and until someone PROVES they are better as a 3rd down pass blocker its still his job.

The coaches wont be nearly as quick to be rid of him and his salary given his versatility and the many roles he fills.

ArodMoney's picture

Not advocating one over the other, just saying neither are terribly valuable and keeping both seems like a wasted spot.

Also reading the hole isn't that difficult. Leach is probably the best ZBS fullback in the league and he makes a leaving out of being just a bull.

Stroh's picture

I didn't say kuhn was a monster like Leach. Just that he's good. I disagree about reading the hole, unless they have experience I think its more difficult than youthink. Has to make split second decision on who and How to block.

Both Kuhn and Taylor were on the roster last year I think both will be again. Coaches probably think Kuhn is much more valuable than you do.

Kris's picture

Any thoughts on Datko beating out any of the listed offensive linemen? At the least, he keeps the others competing for a spot! This line should be an upgrade from last year. (Knocking on wood). Go Pack!

Mr.bigg's picture

Datko has a real chance- Marshall may go
Ross will have a tough time if Franklin returns kicks
There will be 1 to 3 surprises as there are every year- who will they be?
The surprises make this time of year interesting

Brooklyn81's picture

I really like Brett goode but is it really worth it to hold a roster spot for a long snapper couldn't one of the linemen we keep fill that void and we use that extra roster spot.

Jamie's picture


PackerBacker's picture

+1 Superwow!

SCFPackFan's picture

So, you like seeing bad snaps and blocked kicks? Long snapper is not easy or else every team would have a lineman do it instead of a specialist.

Point Packer's picture

Wow, dumbest comment of the year so far. And that's saying a lot. Congrats Brooklyn81, you have no idea what you are talking about.

Rymetyme81's picture

He's right, why don't we just have Nick Perry snap the goddamn ball? LOL, still side-splitting over Brooklyn's comment and the response.

Point Packer's picture

"John Kuhn’s job would appear to be safe for another year, but don’t expect him to carry the ball much any more."

Thank god. And when I say "thank god" I'm alluding to the "don't expect him to carry the ball much any more" part of that sentence. Kuhn's value is in pass-pro and as a dump off receiver, the guy should not be carrying the ball....really ever. Kuhn has averaged 2.6 and 2.7 yards per carry the last two season, which is actually more than I thought. The mind-blowing part of that stat is that he got most of his carries on 3rd and short, one of the more pivotal downs in football.

Guy was hideous on third and short last year. Absolutely hideous. Why McCarthy kept going to him last year in that situation was one of my main criticisms of his play calling. First it was often obvious and secondly, it rarely succeeded. Sure "keep the D honest yada yada yada". I'm happy with that line of reasoning when its 1st and 10, not 3rd and short on the opponents 40.

Kills me.

Mrweit27's picture

I think the TE position is going to be very interesting. They have a couple guys they really like. I am not sold on the list above.

Point Packer's picture

I'm surprised Quarless is a likely dump.

Mrweit27's picture

How about Bostick too?

lmills's picture

I think so too. Bostick over Williams and Quarless.

Rymetyme81's picture

I'm really hoping poor Quarless is able to be healthy enough to continue what he started showing a few years back. Poor kid, I really think he would have been TE1 last year (Finley gone) if not for that brutal injury. Now, he's in roster scrum.

I don't feel nearly as bad when some douche holdout like Michael Crabtree gets seriously injured.

Mrweit27's picture

No chance they only keep 4 receivers. Jones and cobb need new contracts and they drafted 2 wide outs. I could see them only taking 3 rb's (plus Kuhn) to make room for a 5th TE or 6th WR

ben's picture

-mdjennings (shouldn't have been on the squad last year anyway, hyde & bush get worked in @ #4 S)
-sharrod (inactive)
+ datko
+ palmer

Mojo's picture

I'm interested what your PS would look like. I agree Tretter and Bahktairi would probably have to be carried on the 53, even if they didn't plan on playing them much.

I think what might help Harrell and Newhouse as they fight for spots is that Datko and Coleman are still PS eligible.

Six seems a little thin at d-line, but if a seventh isn't very good then that's the way it goes.

None of the top three receivers better get hurt because way too many unknowns after that.

And no Bostwick?

ben's picture

53 man
1.rodgers 2.coleman
1.dujuan 2.alex 3.eddie 4.franklin 5.kuhn
1.cobb 2.nelson 3.jones 4.boykins 5.cjohnson 6.ross
1.bulaga 2.sitton 3.eds 4.barclay 5.lang 6.newhouse 7.datko 8.tretter 9.bakhtiari (sharrod-pup)
1.finley 2.bostick 3.muligan 5.taylor
1.jones 2.neal 3.raji 4.daniels 5.pickett 6.jolly
1.clay 2.perry 3.moses 4.palmer
1.jones 2.bishop 3.manning 4.hawk
Cb 2.tramon 3.hayward 4.shields 5.hyde
1.burnett 2.mcmillion 3.richardson 4.bush
K.crosby P.masthay Ls.goode

ben's picture

I see brooklyn81's point. U'd think a professional athlete who gets paid millions to snap the ball every other play would be able to snap it a little further a few time a game. An exra roster spot could be very valuable. Don't some starting or backup centers longsnap for any teams?

Jamie's picture

Better yet, you'd think after payin' Rodgers all that money he should be able to bend over and toss one of them nice tight spi-rolls between his legs.

redlights's picture

Yeah, I knew someone would take it to this extreme. Obviously Brooklyn and Ben, most NFL types see the value in LS. I do however, agree that with all the variables involved in roster spots, that a guy like Van Roten doesn't perfect his snaps in the offseason to gain an edge to stick.

But ahead of goode, would IMO be Kuhn. I like the guy; but if your FB can't pick up 3rd and short on 75% of the tries, I just don't see why a HB or TE can't provide a better option for considerably less $$.

BobUker's picture

One reason that you don't have the center play LS is that he needs to spend his time with the offense, not the specialists. If you start splitting his time between offense and specialists, you get bad QB/C exchanges and bad long snaps. Not to mention a center who isn't in sync with the rest of the O line. And as SCFPackFan said, LS is not an easy position. You have to accurate snap the ball 8 yards between your legs. Go try it.

dawg's picture

IF, we don't make it to the second round or further next year, should we be concerned?
OR, Just content?
NOT including injuries!
OL, DL and both LB groupings need to improve for this to happen!
The Draft, on paper, as usual, always looks good!
Let the coaching begin!
MM and team needs coach up!

Evan's picture

I believe there is a middle ground between concerned and content.

redlights's picture


Gastrologically irritated.

Cranially scoffed.

Eye gouged.

Financially disadvantaged from:
a) replacing TV's
b) installing clear, protective shields between recliner and tv
c) missing work from hang-overs.

Turophile's picture

I see Kuhn's job being at risk with Lacy taking over on 3rd and short. I was expecting a FB type this year (I thought we'd draft the H-Back Juszczyk), but maybe the Packers were thinking Lacy can do short yardage and block for the QB, with Kuhn in camp only as an insurance, in case Lacy gets injured. No FB this year is a real possibility imo.

I can see Brooklyn's point on not keeping a dedicated long-snapper, perfectly logical and not a stupid comment at all.

However, given that other teams all think it worth keeping a dedicated long snapper, it's a change I don't expect to see. Head coaches are innovators, leaders, but especially teachers. If it was fairly straightforward to teach long snapping to a center, they would already be doing it.

Maybe sometime down the road teams will view things differently and actively keep training up a guy to do this. The most likely way for that to happen is if more centers in college regularly practice long snapping. If one or two teams get a true center that CAN do this, the pressure will be on all teams to save a roster spot this way. That might generate a sea-change in how the position is viewed around the league.

For now, despite the huge pressure on roster spots come final cutdown, it is seen as too difficult to teach a center to long snap with virtually 100% reliability.

Turophile's picture

On the O line we have essentially four significant new contenders for spots. Two fourth round draft picks (Bakhtiari and Tretter) are very likely to make the final 53. Then there is first rounder Sherrod coming back from injury with loads of weight room work done. Same with Datko.

I believe Barclay and Newhouse may get pushed right off the team as a consequence. One of Sherrod/Bakhtiari/Datko should take RT and Tretter can be the inside backup.

Bulaga, Sitton, EDS, Lang and let us say Sherrod start. Datko, Bakhtiari and Tretter back up. That is your 8 guys.

Newhouse and Barclay's best chance of sticking, is to beat out Datko for a spot.

Kevin VG's picture

I almoat entirely agree with your potential O-line. Barclay got some big reps during the season, so I'm assuming he has a leg up on Datko. Although I like Datko's potential, I'm thinking it might be Barclay come cut time.
But my question for you is in your potential O-line, who is the backup center? Tretter? Lang? That's where I get stuck when I'm trying to figure the O-line final roster. OTAs and Training camp will give us a better answer but I'm hoping a dark horse candidate emerges to the point where we are forced to keep 9 O-lineman.

Turophile's picture

I see Tretter as backup for all the interior spots, but center most of all. Bakhtiari and Datko could back up the guard and tackle spots. If Newhouse beats out Datko, he will (imo) also be backing up the tackle and guard spots.

Barclay was good for what he was (undrafted FA), but needed help to survive in pass pro. The Packers will not want to keep shading protection to RT if they can help it, it limits the playbook a lot.

In my opinion, they will upgrade from Barclay. I cannot imagine he raises his game enough stick as backup given all the new competition, now. I think his best chance is to outperform both Datko and Newhouse.

MarkinMadison's picture

We have seen fourth rounders fail to make the 53 before. There was the OLB prospect out of Arizona (?) last year, and an OT prospect out of Carolina a couple of years ago. I'm not going to be sold on Bakhtiari until around August 20th.

SCFPackFan's picture

Little fact checking....

Cory Rodgers is the earliest TT pick (2006 Rd 4, 104) to not make the roster, but he was complete tool.

Ricky Elmore, who I believe you were referring to, was a 6th rounder in 2011 along with 6th rd. G Caleb Schlauderaff, who was traded to the Jets.

OT Jamon Meredith was a 5th rd pick in 2010 who was cut and resigned to the PS before the Bills claimed him.

By my count, there have been only 8-9 draft picks who didn't make the 53 in TT's previous 8 seasons. The majority of draft picks that were released ended up back on the PS and most of them were 7th rounders.

Bakhtiari and Tretter were targeted by Thompson. No way they don't make the 53.

Brooklyn81's picture

Thanks to those who actually thought out my opinionated comment instead of blasting some know it all comment on the board. Its an f-ing blog no need to be disrespectful bcas i can guarantee if we were in person and i said that you wouldn't have responded in such a way. Guaranteed!

PresidentRaygun's picture

You're an internet tough guy, too? Impressive.

PackerBacker's picture

Actually, I probably would have said "Wow" to your face as well. I understand your thought process, but you're oversimplifying a complex issue. If it was that easy, every team would do it.

PackerBacker's picture

Enough with the "Any O-lineman can be a longsnapper" crap.

Here are just a few reasons why most-to-all of the o-linemen out there can't be a permanent long-snapper (some are back-up long snappers in case of injury).

1) Logistics. In many cases, the kickers are practicing their craft at the same time that the offense is practicing thiers. The o-lineman can't be in 2 places at the same time, therefore they can't be a starter on both offense and ST.

2) Practice. Like most things in this world, in order to do something well (which we can all agree a pro-athlete is expected to do) you must practice ... a lot. The snap must become muscle memory. It has to be the same, every time, if the process of the snap-hold-kick is going to happen smoothly and fast enough not to be blocked. This takes THOUSANDS of reps with HOURS of practice every week. This can only be done with one long-snapper, one holder, and one kicker if they are going to become perfect.

3) The pressure on the snapper to be perfect is higher than at just about any other position. How many other positions do you know of that can't mess up even once. How many receivers have never missed a catch? How many RB's have never fumbled? How many kickers have never missed a kick? But if a snapper mis-places more than 1 snap in a season, he'll more than likely lose his job. With a position like that, do you really want to leave it up to a normal o-lineman who doesn't have as much time to practice?

I don't think so, thanks for the opinion.

PackerBacker's picture


Since you have a connection with B. Goode, I'd love to hear his opinion on this. Would it be possible to get his opinion on your podcast sometime?

Or is it maybe a bit of an awkward conversation starter? - "Say, defend your career to people who only watch and have never played your position."

Brooklyn81's picture

Yeah i would love to hear that. That's a good idea as long as its done on a respectively bcas i really do think of Brett goode as a really good packer and good at what he does it was just a thought that crossed my mind. But good conversation anyhow.

Brian Carriveau's picture

Maybe sometime during the season I'll try to get Brett Goode back on the show. But if you go back through some of the old podcasts, we talked about the art of long snapping quite a bit. Very interesting stuff to hear.

Brooklyn81's picture

Do you have a link?

Brian Carriveau's picture

Here's every episode of "OH SNAP!" with Brett Goode:

Brooklyn81's picture


al's picture

let the fun began

al's picture


al's picture


Brian Carriveau's picture

You got it, Allan.

Denver's picture

I would absolutely love to see Bush and Kuhn beat out for spots this year. Good guys, but time for upgrades for both IMO.

Johnny's picture

Jarrett Bush is easily the best special teams player on the roster and one of the best in the NFL. That's where his value lies.

Point Packer's picture

You could argue that Kuhn has a larger contract that he is worth, but the guy can pass protect and is a great dump off option for #12. I think he still has a role, just not on 3rd and 1.

Bush is one of those great Special Teams players with great character, who despite his physical shortcomings, makes it up with shear effort. I also believe he still has a role, same role he's had for years.

Too soon to dump both.

madmanJack's picture

is John Kuhn worth the 2 million some bucks he's getting paid? i don't think so. is he taking up a roster spot better used somewhere else? absolutely!

packsmack25's picture

-EDS is clearly only around because he's a center. Would not surprise me at all if he ends up missing the cut - if Tretter or Lang could make a switch and show solid play.
-Jolly has absolutely no shot.
-Wilson's odds are long too.
-Kuhn should be gone. The Benson signing last year was all about having a guy that could play in a single-back set. I think the Lacy pick is the same deal.
-Alex Green is really going to have to wow in camp to stay aboard. I think they're going to keep 3 RBs this year, and the only guy that produced at all last season was Harris.
-Hyde/Bush and Lattimore/Manning are battles for 2 spots I think.
-Tramon looks like dead weight when you see the roster like this. He's going to have to be 2010 Tramon to make the squad.

Walty's picture

With Tretter going down with a major injury I bet he can now be stashed on the practice squad while Lane Taylor makes the roster.

Evan's picture

He'll be stashed on IR if anything.

Fishin Crane's picture

Is Crosby still two? He must become one.

Morgan Mundane's picture

Brain you analysis is as good as anybodies. Obviously this was written before Trettors injury but he will stick.
Wondering about Kuhn though. I think he is a Mac favorite but maybe its time to cut the ties. He takes up a spot and we have running backs who can carry that load. I would not be shocked to see him and Starks go bye bye.

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