Saturday Morning Roster Predictions

Well, everyone else in the Packers webisphere is predicting the roster for the 2017 season, so I’ll do it as well. At the end of Saturday afternoon, here is who I think will be on the 53-man roster and 10 guys who I think will be on the practice squad come Sunday.

QUARTERBACKS (2)
Aaron Rodgers, Brett Hundley

This one is a no-brainer to me. Rodgers is the Best of All Time (not the greatest…yet) while Hundley is good insurance and an expert clipboard holder. And while Taysom Hill is extremely close to making it, the Packers will take the chance that no other team will want a 27-year old rookie who has an extensive injury history. He makes the practice squad.

RUNNING BACKS/FULLBACKS (5)
Ty Montgomery, Jamaal Williams (R), Aaron Jones (R), Devante Mays (R), Aaron Ripkowski (FB)

All three rookies showed that they belong during the preseason. Williams is an exceptional pass protector and a great safety valve. Mays is a hammer who runs harder than anyone. And Jones is the best pure runner of the three and is a receiving threat as well. They’ll back up Ty Montgomery in different ways effectively. Ripkowski is John Kuhn mixed with William Henderson and he and his beard will be back for season 3.

WIDE RECEIVERS (7)
Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Trevor Davis, Jeff Janis, DeAngelo Yancey (R), Malachi Dupre (R)

There will be a lot of clamoring for Max McCaffrey to make it and it’s easy to see why. He is sure handed and a savvy player, but his upside isn’t near what Yancey’s and Dupre’s are. That’s why the Packers take the chance of stashing him on the Practice Squad. He’ll be the first call-up if an injury strikes. The other choices are easy. The big three will be the big three. Davis is the punt returner, Janis the kick returner. But the question is what will the team do in Week 2 when Geronimo Allison returns from suspension?

TIGHT ENDS (3)
Martellus Bennett, Lance Kendricks, Richard Rodgers

No surprises here, except that Aaron Peck showed enough to make the practice squad.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
David Bakhtiari, Lane Taylor, Corey Linsley, Jahiri Evans, Bryan Bulaga, Jason Spriggs, Kyle Murphy, Don Barclay

This is based on my hope that Don Barclay will be ready for the regular season, otherwise we may see Justin McCray or Lucas Patrick here as well. But if Don is alright, they’ll roll with these eight. And while the bench has struggled mightily, they’ll be much better and learn quicker if they have to work with the starting five. Kofi Amichia and Geoff Gray struggled during camp but they showed enough potential for a year of seasoning on the practice squad.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6)
Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Ricky Jean-Francois, Montravius Adams (R), Brian Price

Adams is a potential IR/Designated to Return guy, but I think he’ll just be a GameDay inactive instead of the team using an IR return on the promising rookie. That leaves the final defensive line spot between Price and Christian Ringo. Ringo is the better pass rusher, but Price was more stout and a natural interior lineman which is needed in the 3-4. He makes it with Ringo going to the Practice Squad again.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (5)
Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Ahmad Brooks, Kyler Fackrell, Jayrone Elliott

Reggie Gilbert was my last cut. It was extremely tough, but with the signing of Brooks, he becomes a luxury. And while I know that Fackrell is a favorite target of fans who aren’t thrilled with his camp, he is a dynamite special teamer and was productive last year in limited action on defense. Don’t give up on him just yet.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS (3)
Jake Ryan, Blake Martinez, Jordan Tripp

Buckle up folks, we have a surprise cut! Joe Thomas has been a good player for the Pack the past couple of years, but with Morgan Burnett and Josh Jones moving up in the Nitro package, Thomas has become obsolete as the coverage linebacker. Those safeties can now do that. So he gives way to the guy who will be the special teams leader in a year, Jordan Tripp. Plus, don’t forget that Matthews and maybe even Fackrell can moonlight inside.

CORNERBACKS (6)
Davon House, Damarious Randall, Quentin Rollins, Kevin King (R), Josh Hawkins, LaDarius Gunter

If all these guys play to their potential, tell me a better sextet of corners in football. Randall and Rollins look to be back to their rookie forms with great camps and preseason tape, while King is learning quickly. Throw in the natural speed and instincts of Hawkins and the physicality and heart of Gunter and this could be a great group.

SAFETIES (5)
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Morgan Burnett, Kentrell Brice, Marwin Evans, Josh Jones (R)

Again, five safeties locked into the roster, all of which are versatile. Brice is the hammer of the group, but don’t sleep on Evans. He was the training camp MVP to me and could see some time on defense.

SPECIALISTS (3)
Mason Crosby (K), Justin Vogel (P)(R), Brett Goode (LS)

Another year, another Brett Goode long snapping clinic. One of the best in the business, he will make it easy for the rookie punter to become a good holder for the best Packer kicker ever. And speaking of that punter, Vogel was dominant against the Rams, showing the leg and placement to become a stalwart on this special teams unit.

SUSPENDED (1)
Geronimo Allison (WR)

PUP (1)
Vince Biegel (OLB)

PRACTICE SQUAD (10)
Taysom Hill (QB)
Max McCaffrey (WR)
Michael Clark (WR)
Aaron Peck (TE)
Geoff Gray (OL)
Kofi Amichia (OL)
Christian Ringo (DL)
Reggie Gilbert (OLB)
Lenzy Pipkins (CB)
Donatello Brown (CB)

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Mike Wendlandt is originally from Iola, Wisconsin and graduated from Drake University in 2015 with a degree in History. With a significant journalism background both in writing and broadcasting, Mike can be heard as the play-by-play voice of Central Wisconsin High School sports on WDUX FM 92.7 and on Twitter @MikeWendlandt.

Mike Wendlandt is a writer covering the Green Bay Packers for PackersTalk.com.

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