Preseason Players to Watch Outside of Green Bay

The Packers likely will be interested in additional players outside of their current 90-man roster. Here are a few names to watch with the 2019 Preseason kicking off Thursday. 

The Packers typically add one or two players to their final 53-man roster that weren’t part of their own 90-man roster during training camp and the preseason. 

Last year, Antonio Morrison was one of those players. The Packers traded CB Lenzy Pipkins to the Colts for the inside linebacker on August 26th. 

In 2017, the Packers signed DL Quinton Dial on September 5th, just five days before the season opener against the Seahawks. 

Although the case could be made that this current 90-man roster is deeper than it’s been in years for Green Bay, GM Brian Gutekunst has proven he’s always scouting and always looking to improve his current group group of players. 

Here are a few names to consider as we kickoff the 2019 preseason in two days:

Alex Barnes, RB, Tennessee Titans

The first thing that pops out is, you guessed it, Barnes’ relative athletic score (RAS). He measured in at 9.81 with great size, great agility, and elite explosion. What’s more, his 34 reps on the bench press gave him 9.99 for that category. 

Barnes is one of six running backs on the Titans’ 90-man roster, which could make him a casualty on cut-down day. At 6-1, 225lbs, Barnes is a bit bigger than Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. 

With Kansas State in 2018, Barnes had 256 rushing attempts and 1,355 yards, good for 5.3 yards per carry with 12 touchdowns. 

The Packers haven’t been shy about acquiring running back talent already during the first week of training camp, and Barnes fits the explosive running back mold that Gutekunst will be looking to add to LaFleur’s offense. It’s possible the Packers could try to keep as many as five backs on the roster, so making a move for a player of Barnes’ caliber wouldn’t surprise me. 

Quinton Bell, LB, Oakland Raiders

The Packers will get up close and personal with Bell in Winnipeg on August 22nd. The 6-4, 253lb linebacker has the height and build that Mike Pettine is looking for on defense. He’s got a long frame with a build that can support additional weight, should the Packers need him to add a few pounds. 

Bell was a seventh-round pick by the Raiders in this year’s draft with a RAS of 9.89, the highest of any linebacker in this year’s draft class. He had an interesting path to the NFL, playing as a wide receiver for Prairie View A&M his first three seasons before shifting to defense his final season. On defense, he had 46 total tackles with 10 for a loss and 7.5 sacks. 

The linebacker ran a 4.53 40-yard dash at his pro day and posted an 11’4” broad jump, giving him a 9.99 for that category. He was also a former college sprinter. As a prospect, he’s on the raw side, but the potential might entice Gutekunst enough to make a move should the Raiders let him go. 

Obi Melifonwu, Safety, New England Patriots

Melifonwu is a fascinating addition to this list, as he was a second-round draft pick by the Raiders in 2017. The 6-4 safety prospect was released by the Raiders in October of that same year, and remained on the open market for a few weeks until being signed by the Patriots on a two-year, $1.4 million contract.

Melifonwu has barely seen the field during his time in New England, and he could be the odd man out in a crowded secondary. He’s also already 25 with only seven games worth of experience in the NFL between his first two seasons. 

He ran a blazing 4.40 40-yard dash at his the Combine with a RAS of 9.86. Safety is one of the more open spots on this Packers roster, so it’s possible the former second-round pick would intrigue Gutekunst. 

Melifonwu has only been with the Patriots since November of 2018, so it’s unlikely they’d be willing to part with him yet, but if he doesn’t survive cut-down day, Gutekunst could snag him for the Packers’ 53-man roster. 

My disclaimer here is that the Packers could very much like all 90 players they currently have in-house. The cut-down to the team’s own 53 will be incredibly difficult given some of the spectacular battles that are already taking place during training camp. That said, teams are always looking to add depth and talent whenever possible, so the scouting of other teams is always relevant. These are just a few of the names that intrigue me specifically, and also meet the athletic profiles of players the Packers would likely be interested in. 

Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and a podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (5)

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ejr450's picture

July 30, 2019 at 02:24 pm

Maggie- Great idea for an article. Interesting choices. I remember Barnes in the draft. Was an intriguing option in the late rounds. Either of the first two would be great PS options.

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BoCallahan's picture

July 30, 2019 at 02:26 pm

Barnes is already turning heads in camp. I doubt he will be available. How is he in pass protection and who would we drop in order to make room?
Bell is going to sit on the practice squad with the Raiders. He is at least a year from being ready. May be we could trade him for J Mon.
Obi seems to be injury prone. No thanks.
Of the 3, I like Bell as a prospect.

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kevgk's picture

July 30, 2019 at 05:20 pm

NY is dangerously thin at WR, Dolphins need players at Dline, and the Tampa needs corners. Maybe the Packers can use some of the depth we possess and flip some roster bubble players for later picks or other pieces. I can't think of many places we could use fringe depth at though, although ILBs tend to cross train with special teams.

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JakeDickerson's picture

July 30, 2019 at 07:19 pm

Not sure any of these guys are an upgrade over what we currently have.

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PatrickGB's picture

July 31, 2019 at 11:02 am

It never hurts to look. I like that and so does gutie.

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