My stab at the Packers 53-man roster
Quarterback Scott Tolzien fires a pass during the second quarter of the Packers’ preseason game Thursday. Both Tolzien and Matt Flynn played well. Image by Mark Hoffman
The Green Bay Packers month-long training camp and run of pre-season games are in the rear view mirror. All that is left for the Packers brass to do prior to preparation for their week one battle against the Seattle Seahawks is to settle on the final 53-man roster and 10-man practice squad.
Final roster cuts are due to the league by 3:00pm CST on Saturday, but it's possible the Packers will start trimming on Friday given their Thursday start to the regular season. For what its worth, I've done this exercise the past several years with a very respectable success rate, but this year's prediction gave me an ulcer - there's simply more competition at more positions than I can ever recall.
Without further ado, I present to you my stab at the Packers 53-man roster.
QB (3): Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn, Scott Tolzien
I've been on the three QB wagon since day one. I think both Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien are among the best 53 players in camp. Both deserve a roster spot. Without any other QB in the organization, I believe it would irresponsible to go into the season with less than three.
RB (3): Eddie Lacy, James Starks, DuJuan Harris
Once Rajion Neal ended up on the IR, the intrigue of the running back battle was eliminated.
FB (1): John Kuhn
Easy decision. Fullback might be a dying breed, but there might not be a player in camp with better knowledge of the Packers offense than Kuhn.
WR (5): Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin, Davante Adams, Jeff Janis
Jeff Janis made more big plays in camp than any of the others he was competing with. Moreover, he is a natural receiver of the ball on punt and kick returns and could find a permanent role on one or the other (or both) before too long. Janis has a high ceiling and his size and speed combination are outstanding.
TE (4): Brandon Bostick, Richard Rodgers, Ryan Taylor, Jake Stoneburner
I know Bostick is a little dinged up and will miss at least the first week of the season. If the injury is more serious than we know, I think Quarless sticks.
OL (8): Josh Sitton, Bryan Bulaga, TJ Lang, David Bakhtiari, Cory Linsley, Derek Sherrod, Lane Taylor, JC Tretter
It's possible JC Tretter will end up on the PUP list, but my hunch is that he will not. If Tretter ends up PUP-listed, I think Garth Gerhart is the logical choice to include here. Quietly, the versatile Lane Taylor had a pretty nice camp and pre-season.
ILB (5): AJ Hawk, Brad Jones, Jamari Lattimore, Sam Barrington, Carl Bradford
I had Carl Bradford and Nate Palmer deadlocked before Palmer went down with an injury in the final pre-season game against the Chiefs. The Packers asked Bradford to move from OLB (where he did nothing) to ILB last week...it was a good move. He's got a long way to go, but Bradford's kamikaze attitude could benefit special teams. I'm not yet sure the severity of Palmer's injury.
OLB (6): Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews, Mike Neal, Nick Perry, Andy Mulumba, Jayrone Elliott
There is no way the Packers can cut Jayrone Elliott. He lead the NFL in pre-season sacks with five, and was consistently in the backfield on several other plays. He was nothing short of a disruptive force on the edge. Good pass rushers are hard to find and the Packers may have stolen one in Elliott.
DL (5): Mike Daniels, Datone Jones, Josh Boyd, LeTroy Guion, Mike Pennel
Third round draft choice Khyri Thornton was on crutches in the Packers locker room after injuring his hamstring against the Chiefs. Thornton did not have a standout camp and it will be very interesting to see what the Packers do with him. It's possible he could end up on the IR, or cut, but I'm thinking Ted Thompson will want to keep the third round pick in Green Bay for at least another year. Undrafted rookie free agent Mike Pennel outperformed Thornton and will make the roster.
CB (5): Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward, Davon House, Jarrett Bush
After a solid performance against the Raiders and Chiefs, Jumal Rolle will be on the outside of this talented group, looking in. The versatility and experience of Jarrett Bush wins again.
S (5): Morgan Burnett, Micah Hyde, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Sean Richardson, Chris Banjo
My Lord this looks an awful lot better than it did a year ago.
K - Mason Crosby
P - Tim Masthay
LS - Brett Goode