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My One and Only 53-man Packers Roster Prediction

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My One and Only 53-man Packers Roster Prediction

It's an annual ritual after the Packers final preseason game - predicting the 53 players Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy will bring into the first real football game of the season. While it's hardly rocket science, there is some complexity to it, as a whole. it would seemingly be a little easier this year with Vince Biegel and Geronimo Allison not counting against the 53 man roster. to start the season. Having just written that, you can pretty much be sure it will blow up in my face. In any case, on to the roster:

2 QB - Rodgers, Hundley 

I don't really see a reason to keep three quarterbacks again. Callahan has regressed from last year and Hill has been a pleasant surprise that could be worth holding on to more than Callahan. And of course, if Rodgers goes down, does any of this really matter?

5 RB - Montgomery, Jones, Williams, Mays, Ripkowski

All of the rookies have shown enough to warrant more development, so I kept them all. The only other possibility I see is they try to sneak Mays onto the practice squad. I say Mays because Jones has outplayed both Williams and Mays in my opinion, and is a dual threat (running and receiving). I think he deserves RB2 snaps, actually.

3 TE - Bennett, Kendricks, Rodgers

Yawn...

6 WR - Nelson, Cobb, Adams, Janis, Davis, McCaffrey

Allison being on the suspended list for the first game could likely mean a temporary spot for Yancey or Dupre, but I'm more inclined to cut them when there is a glut of players on the market, improving their chances to make it to the Practice Squad. I think neither has shown much to entice other teams. McCaffrey, on the other hand, has shown good route running, hands and the reliability Aaron Rodgers likes in his receivers.

9 OL - Linsley, Evans, Taylor,, Bakhtiari, Bulaga, Barclay, Spriggs, Murphy, Patrick

The roster spot I saved at linebacker I used to keep an extra offensive lineman.The Packers have actually started the season with as few as 7 OL in recent years, but with war horses Sitton and Lang gone, all- purpose Tretter gone, Barclay and Bulaga battling injuries, and Spriggs' struggles, there is a need for more warm bodies to start the season.

6 DL - Daniels, Clark, Lowry, Ringo, Jean-Francois, Adams

I toyed with the thought of putting Montravious Adams on recallable IR to keep Price on the roster, but the Packers were really high on Adams (but albeit only in shorts). Price makes it to the PS as decent insurance. Ringo has impressed me this preseason.

8 LB - Matthews, Perry, Brooks, Gilbert, Ryan, Martinez, Thomas, Elliot

This is easily the fewest linebackers I've ever kept, but with the usage of Burnett and Jones as nickel and dime LBs, I think it makes sense. Gilbert impressed me last camp and has upped his game even more. He can really get after that quarterback. Jayrone Elliot makes it as a valuable special teams player. That means bad news for Fackrell, who has really done nothing to distinguish himself in his time at Green Bay. I'll likely be wrong about this - the Packers will keep Fackrell as he is only in year two as a 3rd round pick, but based on what I've seen, my decision makes sense. To me, anyway...

11 DB - Burnett, Clintion-Dix, Brice, Evans, Jones, Randall, Rollins, House, King, Gunter, Hawkins
 
The secondary unit seems fairly clear to me. Marwin Evans has been my favorite player during preseason. he is showing intelligence, the ability to always be in the right position and has made numerous open-field tackles with surety. What a pleasant surprise. Since he was drafted, I've been touting Josh Jones as a potential gunner on the punting teams. We saw him get a shot on Thursday and the results were very good. Fast and aggressive. 

3 SP - Crosby, Vogel, Goode

Before the fourth preseason game, I expected Ted Thompson to be scanning the waiver wire to possibly bring in an experienced punter. Vogel's performance Thursday night likely struck that off of Ted Thompson's to-do list. Happy to have Brett Goode back.

PRACTICE SQUAD: Hill, Yancey, Dupre, Pipkins, Brown, Amichia, Peck, Clark, Price

Suspended: Allison

PUP: Biegel

EDIT: The initial 53-man roster is set. I got 50 right. Missed on Pipkins, McCray and Fackrell.

__________________________

"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (47) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

jh9's picture

I'm in total agreement with you, Al, regarding Reggie Gilbert and Fackrell. Performance should matter, not who was drafted in what round.

Duke Divine's picture

Gilbert's production has been leaps ahead of Fackrell's. That should matter more than not being able to admit a mistake on draft day... Fackrell is Frank Zombo without the cool "Z" from Zorro celebration.

Spud Rapids's picture

Fackrell should be cut, nothing has shown us otherwise... keep in mind Fackrell is old for an NFL second year player and Gilbert is younger... much more upside too

Cheesestradamus's picture

Nailed it AL. This is a good year for some positions. B-up OL is not one of them.

Turophile's picture

DL Price,
ILB Tripp,
FB Kerridge

These would be the toughest of the tough cuts, Al.

Bold choice to keep McCaffrey over Yancey and Dupre - but I like it.

Since '61's picture

Al - agree with everything except that I would keep D. Brown on the 53 and move Gunther to the PS or chuck him. Otherwise a great job including the PS. Thanks, Since '61

GBPDAN1's picture

This is exactly how I see the 53 being played. Allison in week 2 and Biegel after PUP will push a couple of good players off. This looks like a very good roster aside from backup OL depth and as long as the DBs are much better than last year, which I think they will be. Hopefully Ted can find a adequate backup OT after other teams cut down.

L's picture

My Roster Locks

OFFENSE: (21)

QB - Rodgers, Hundley

RB - Monty, Jones, Williams

FB - Ripkowski

TE - Bennett, Kendricks, Rodgers

WR - Nelson, Adams, Cobb, Janis, Davis

OL - Bakhtiari, Taylor, Evans, Linsley, Bulaga, Spriggs, Murphy

DEFENSE: (22) + 2 INJ

DL - Daniels, Clark, Lowry, Francois, Ringo, (Adams - IR)

OLB - Matthews, Perry, Brooks, Elliott, Fackrell, (Biegel - PUP)

ILB - Ryan, Martinez, Thomas

CB - House, Randall, King, Rollins, Hawkins

S - Clinton-Dix, Burnett, Brice, Jones

SPECIAL TEAMS: (3)

K - Crosby
P - Vogel
LS - Goode

BUBBLE: Need to fill 7 spots for the season's start

QB Hill, RB Mays, WR Yancey, WR Allison - Susp, WR Dupre, WR McCaffrey, C/G Barclay, G Amichia, C Patrick, G/C McCray, DE Price, OLB Gilbert, ILB Tripp, CB Gunter, CB Brown, S Evans

I'm leaning towards:

1. C/G Barclay - most versatile O-Lineman, but injured; the injury is the only thing preventing him from being a lock
2. S Evans - has definitely earned it, but roster strains may have somewhat put him on the bubble
3. CB Gunter - I can't imagine the team not carrying 6 CBs and he asserted himself well enough as an emergency starter last year to remain; though, Brown was breathing down his neck this preseason
4. WR Yancey - TT really likes to protect his 5th and up draft picks, but I wouldn't be surprised to see McCaffrey instead; not to mention, the team doesn't need to make a decision on Allison until after week 1
5. C Patrick - if healthy enough he'll provide necessary depth behind injured Barclay; otherwise, maybe we see McCray or Amichia temporarily added instead or if they’re truly confident with their O-line depth despite the injuries maybe QB Hill or RB Mays makes it onto the 53
6. OLB Gilbert - The Brooks addition may cost him this spot for the ability to protect someone else from waivers, but the OLB injuries and his play may boost him just enough to make it -- at least until Biegel returns from the PUP
7. DE Price - they'll eventually move him to PS in preparation for Adams return if still eligible, but his play and the team's desire to have early DL depth allows him to make it

PRACTICE SQUAD: Require 10

QB: Hill (Probably), Callahan (Maybe)

RB: Mays (Maybe)

FB: Kerridge (Maybe)

WR: Yancey (Maybe), McCaffrey (Maybe), Dupre (Probably), Clark (Probably)

TE: Peck (Maybe)

OL: Patrick (Maybe), Amichia (Maybe), Gray (Maybe), Evans (Maybe), McCray (Maybe)

DL: Price (Maybe)

OLB: Gilbert (Maybe), Talley (Maybe)

ILB: Tripp (Maybe), Heiman (Maybe)

DB: Evans (Maybe), Brown (Maybe), Pipkins (Maybe)

Wonder if a trade is swung with O-Line depth in mind? Perhaps a trade involving someone from our quality WR depth? Maybe Allison could be dealt for a versatile O-line vet in the mold of Barclay despite Allison's 1-game suspension?

Jersey Al's picture

I would rate Barclay and Evans as locks. Gunter right behind.

Point Packer's picture

The fact that Don Barclay is a lock is a testament to TTs mismanagement of the O-line

cheesehead1's picture

Would hate to see Taysom Hill let go. He'll picked picked up in no time. Keep three QB'S then trade Hundley whenever possible.

Jersey Al's picture

Packers fans (myself included) regularly overvalue our bubble players and assume they will be claimed if cut. Rarely happens.

croatpackfan's picture

You are totally right Al! Last time when any team took player which was cut by Packers was when Denver signed Mitchell Henry on their 53, just to be cut from their 53 month later.

And, of course I do not count Joe Callahan, because he was cut and signed on PS and was taken by Saints from PS, not immediately after reducing roster to 53...

Before that - I can not recollect in my minds any other player.

Norm's picture

I forget the details but Charles Johnson going to the Vikings also comes to mind, and he had a decent game or two against us. But there's no risk we let go a Hall of Fame when we cut him. I see Carolina cut him recently, and I didn't even realize he wasn't still on the Vikings roster. Would he be a star with Rodgers throwing to him? Possibly, but he's injury prone.

Icebowler's picture

Charles Johnson went to Cleveland first before he wound up on the Vikings. He somehow hid a torn ACL from the Packers for weeks, which was really a dumb thing to do.

Spud Rapids's picture

I hate to say this but why are Packers fans so in love with Hill? Why invest any emotion into a player we all desperately wish will never ever have to see the field?

Jersey Al's picture

He's fun to watch - dual threat. That's it.

RobinsonDavis's picture

Agree in general, but will say that there have been a handful of cuts or PS, players picked-up by teams that have made contributions, albeit not Hall of Fame, but one that I can recall. The biggest name in my mind was Kurt Warner. But, even in Warner's case, he was never a serious consideration for a roster spot during his time here as Favre, Brunnell, and Detmer were well entrenched. In fact, I don't thing Warner played NFL for another year or two afterwards if memory serves me right.

Some of the others coming to mind during this time of year are Sitton, Jon Ryan, Giacomini & Blackmon. And most of these would not have been practice squad eligible. For the most part, when it comes to former Packers making contributions to other teams, it has been through the free agent route. Like your list Al, with two tweaks.

MongoLikePack's picture

Apparently, a team can have 2 players on the PUP this year so I'd stash M. Adams there alongside Biegel and keep Price AND Ringo, since they are both solid back ups & play different strengths and they've played better than some of the OL like Patrick, assuming it's all about keeping the "best 53" - I could see them not keeping Patrick too and try to find the best available OL cut by another team (maybe keep a close eye on Dallas, etc. cuts?)

L's picture

Adams isn't eligible for the PUP

Jersey Al's picture

correct - he got hurt on the second day of practice. Also, I don;t know that there is a limit on players on PUP. You were likely thinking of recallable IR, of which you can now have two players.

Mojo's picture

The biggest reason Callahan 'regressed" this year is because the coaching staff gave him incredibly limited opportunities, at least in the preseason games. Didn't play at all last week. Had six snaps last night with four of them being running plays. With almost immediate pressure in his face he did well to get the two passes he did throw off.

At least Hundley got some time with the number one o-line, but Callahan and Hill both got stuck playing behind one of the worst backup groups I can remember for a long-time.

I like Hill better as a prospect, but I can't say Callahan played poorly because with what little opportunity he got he was under near constant duress.

Regressed, progressed, stayed the same - couldn't tell ya cause the sample size was way too small.

Jersey Al's picture

You would have to think there was a reason Callahan got such few snaps. Maybe his performance in practice, or they knew what they had from last preseason, etc.

lou's picture

Agree except Kerridge over Mays (as you indicated we generally over rate bubble guys), it would be a huge surprise if Mays did not clear waivers and join the practice squad. As always and this happens on draft day as well, a "surprise" waiver claim by the Packers or on draft day a trade that shakes up the picking order can throw all of our projections off, especially this year without the cut to 75 prior to the final cut - stay tuned.

Jersey Al's picture

Kerridge? I think the old days of keeping more than one fullback are gone. So many one-back sets, TE's as H-backs, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if they keep him on the PS, however.

Spud Rapids's picture

Al, let's assume Kerridge is 100% healthy for the purpose of this discussion. He has stone hands but is a mauler in blocking. Rip is the better receiver/runner but far behind as a blocker. What do you think has more value to the Packer offense? I would say the blocking is key going back to when Rodgers hit Cobb to beat the Bears in collarbone year... that play doesn't happen without Kuhn's pass protection. Thoughts?

Jersey Al's picture

some valid points, but it's got to be one or the other - not both.

TXCHEESE's picture

I haven't kept up enough to know how key Kerridge is on special teams, but otherwise, he is probably a good candidate for PS. I do think he is every bit the run blocker Rip is though.

croatpackfan's picture

I read one interesting speculation. It said that Packers are not officially signed Ahman Brooks, because they want to put Adams on 53 and than, day after to put him on IR with designation to return. After that they will sign Ahman Brooks and put him on 53...

Is that realistic?

Norm's picture

I think there is (or used to be) a rule that made it advantageous to pick up veterans after the initial rosters are set, rather than part of the first 53, in terms of minimum salary and hit against the cap. But I'm not sure of the details or if that is even still in effect. Even if it is, if Brooks has other options I'm not sure why he would agree to this, other than the chance to win a championship before he retires. But maybe he doesn't have any better options?

I'm sure someone with better knowledge of the cap rules will correct me.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

It is called termination pay. Vested veterans who are eligible (haven't collected termination pay in the past) who make the roster for game one are guaranteed their entire P5 salary, and it counts against the cap. If the guy makes $200K per game ($3.4M - about Brooks base salary) and is cut after week 1, he gets the full amount and it counts against the cap. If you sign an eligible vested veteran during the season, say game 2, for $200K per game, and cut him after one game, the teams owes him 25% of his P5 salary, or $800K (as opposed to $3.4M above), which also counts against the cap.

Brooks can sign Sept 3 or 4 and still be eligible for termination pay, if he is eligible for it. I don't know if he has ever been cut and claimed it before.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Yes. It is how GB is going to do it. Brooks signs Sept 3 after cut downs. If this harms him as to termination pay, that is no problem, just give him the same amount of base salary guaranteed as the termination pay would have provided. Spot on Croat, IMO.

RobinsonDavis's picture

EDIT: Even some of the NFL.com sites have conflicting information on the "designated for return rules". I was right the first time. So yes, the reason why they will not sign Brooks is because somebody is about to be designated to the IR and they hope he will return.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Except there is no need to designate. I think you are correct, using the term designate is confusing as it uses terminology from the old rules. GB is going to send or place someone on the IR. They all just go on the IR, and the team gets to choose up to 2 of its 3 or 5 guys they sent to the IR. And the reason GB hasn't signed Brooks is some rookie or player with less than 4 years accrued has to make the 53 before the team can put them directly on the IR.

Couch Cleats's picture

This 53 prediction looks pretty solid to me. I'll be a little bit surprised if there isn't a new name in the mix on the O-Line soon which would mean somebody else has to go.

I would gladly take an upgrade on the O-Line in exchange for Gunter right now. Nothing against him - he had a nice game, but some of the other young talent there is more intriguing to me.

I will not be surprised if Hill gets picked up. He has shown some great athleticism and control. I think there are a few teams that would be stronger with him as a backup than what they have now. A back-up QB that can make things happen with his feet is just such a great thing to have.

korbie33's picture

I agree with you Al except I would add Clart to the 53 and release Gunter.

Jersey Al's picture

Can't keep Clark if you have Allison coming on in week 2.

dobber's picture

I don't think Clark (or Dupre or Yancey) has shown enough for a spot on the 53. He's a cut and a PS candidate.

korbie33's picture

Clark

JohnnyLogan's picture

Not a Gunter fan. I cringe when he's out there against a good WR. He's simply too slow to play outside. He's better inside but Rollins is locked there. Another OL who can at least slow the rush is way more important than Gunter.

Since '61's picture

Agree. Gunther looks good in preseason but is awful at CB when the games count. Actually, he did not have that good of a pre-season until last evening's game against the Rams and what does that tell us about the Rams.

Gunther made a sack on a play when he was untouched and a pick on a poorly thrown pass off the hands of the intended receiver. Had the ball been thrown accurately the pass would have been a completion.
However Gunther plays well on ST but we can find plenty of players who can run down the field, e.g., Jeff Janis.

I would rather keep Donatello Brown over Gunther. I like Pipkins also, but off of his performance last evening I think Brown moved a step ahead of Pipkins and a few steps ahead of Gunther. Brown has more upside than Gunther at this point.

I'm sure the coaches have a different view of this than I do and it's difficult to get a clean read on bubble players from a preseason game. The coaches have practice tapes as well as preseason game tapes to work with. We'll know soon enough.
Thanks, Since '61

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Fackrell led GB in special teams tackles in 2016. He has definite value on STs. Elliott has indeed been a STs stalwart over the years as well, leading the team in ST tackles in the past, coming in 2nd in 2016 to Fackrell. I have Fackrell > Elliott as an OLB straight up, and a push when it comes to STs. Also even when Elliott plays he gets listed on the injury report. No idea how serious Elliott's back spasms are; arguably neither do the packers since back problems are incredibly hard to predict. Moot for me: I keep both Fackrell and Elliott and send Gilbert to the PS.

I don't believe there is such a thing as recallable IR anymore. Clearly, there is no need to designate a player for return at the time they are placed on IR. Spoffard wrote that a player no longer needs to make the 53 in order to be placed on IR, but since that was contrary to my understanding of the rules, I spent an hour googling to see if he is correct. Results were inconclusive - as far as I can tell Spofford is alone in that opinion. If you're a rookie ineligible for PUP, you have to make the 53 initially to go on IR, as far as I know. Only option is waived/injured. Adams has to make the 53 if that is correct. (This isn't an issue for me: I wait to sign Brooks until after cut down so Adams officially makes the 53, put him on IR and then sign Brooks, compensating Brooks if that affects his termination pay.)

I like Price > Ringo, but it is a close call. Riingo has more juice and thus is flashier, but Price is the direct replacement for Guion. Depends on what you want out of our 5th DL, a true NT type of a guy or Ringo who could play if Daniels, Clark, Lowry, and RJF all get hurt. I concede that RJF has played NT in the past, and that Daniels and Clark have played 1 tech, but I don't think any of them are really NTs. I am probably just old and am overvaluing NT. Price probably is only an asset against Dallas, maybe Seattle, other run heavy teams.

I don't disagree on the OL, but I don't know how injured Barclay and Patrick are. They aren't very good, but the rest are horrible. Amichia isn't ready to play in the NFL, but has a lot of upside. Priority PS guy.

I would take Peck off the PS, and insert S Taylor. I guess I really want to not have to pay Burnett $9M AAV in 2018 and just take the 4th round comp pick.

M Adams depends on his injury. When is he likely to return? No matter how high GB was on him (and I liked the pick), I doubt that any 3rd round rookie DL who missed all of TC and the preseason games is going to be helpful if he doesn't return until late November (roughly same time as Biegel has taken so far). Might be beneficial to him to give him 75 snaps in real games as a rookie to help him see the real speed and strength of the game, but I am not sure how much it helps.

[Edit: I am reluctant about it, but I was ready to move on from Janis. As a WR he looks a little better, but still only seems to run 3 routes well. But I still put him on my 53. No other WR really pushed other than Max, who is already on my 53. He helps us more in 2017 than the options, but not sure about 2018.]

Jersey Al's picture

"I don't believe there is such a thing as recallable IR anymore. "

If you mean they don't call it that anymore, but any two players on IR can be recalled (without having to designate which ones up front), I agree.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Yes, that's what I meant and we agree. Previously, if a team put player X and Y on IR but designated Y as their one player that could put back on the 53, a short hand grew: the team put x on IR and Y on recallable IR.

I was sort of hoping you'd address the Spofford thing. I believe M. Adams has to make the 53 if they want to put him on IR, but Spofford apparently wrote otherwise. Oh well, it doesn't affect my construction of our 53 since I deal with it by holding off on signing Brooks for a day.

PackEyedOptimist's picture

Very close to my picks Al, but I cut OL Patrick and DB Gunter and kept QB Hill and DL Price. It leaves the OL thin, but I (try to) keep L Patrick, K Amichia, and G Gray on the PS, along with M Clark, D Yancey, J Kerridge, D Mays, J Callahan, L Pipkins, and D Brown.

An interesting thought that occurred to me: What about cutting Jean Francois? With Ringo and Price both looking like players (and ten years younger...), I feel like Francois isn't the "need" he seemed at first.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I am stealing this (okay, I'll give a credit to you). We've paid RJF $350K, so not a money thing. Still, I like that RJF is a known quantity.

Icebowler's picture

Barring major injuries, I think our D is going to be surprisingly improved this year. My major concern is our O-line depth, I hope we can pick up some experience there.

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