Upcoming Roster Cuts Could Pave Way For Undrafted Free Agents

Fabbians Ebbele

It’s very clear that the Green Bay Packers roster this season is packed with talent. Even more so than last year. Coming up on the first preseason game against the New England Patriots on Thursday, the Packers coaching staff should be making cuts very soon. For the coaching staff, there could be some tough cuts coming.

Unfortunately for Packer fans, it could appear that the hometown hero and fan favorite Jared Abbrederis could be on his way out of Green Bay. Abbrederis would have had a decent chance of making the team had he stayed healthy. A torn anterior crucial ligament last year and a concussion this year have limited Abbrederis to just three and a half days of practice in the last two years.

With other rookies and undrafted free agents performing well in training camp, it may be redundant to keep a sixth receiver if he can’t stay healthy. The Packers have other positions they may want to keep more players at. Green Bay may be deciding on whether or not to keep rookie fullback Aaron Ripkowski on the roster and defensive backs like Demetri Goodson or Ladarius Gunter.

Entering the season, it appeared as if the Packers were preparing for a year with only seven offensive linemen on the active roster. David Bakhtiari, T.J. Lang, Corey Linsley, Josh Sitton, Bryan Bulaga, J.C. Tretter, and Don Barclay were the expected linemen. The line is so solid that the Packers only really have to worry about is injury.

Tretter and Barclay are more than capable to be backups for all five positions. Tretter could play at the tackle and center positions if needed and Barclay can play inside. But we could see the Packers add an undrafted free agent to the roster as the eighth linemen if they don’t feel Lane Taylor or Garth Gerhart fit what they’re looking for already.

Undrafted free agents Fabbians Ebbele and Matt Rotheram have caught the attention of fans and the coaching staff so far this training camp. Ebbele has been noted for his towering size at 6-foot-8 and dominance in pass blocking. Clearly still in a stage of raw talent, we’ll get to see more of what he can do in the faster paced environment of the first preseason game on Thursday.

Rotheram has been battling an ankle injury since the first day of camp. He returned to action on August 7th and will also be participating in the first preseason game.

Both players are eligible for the practice squad if the Packers decide they’d rather go with seven linemen. Although they risk other teams being able to steal them off their practice squad. See Jumal Rolle from last season for a perfect example of that.

The spot reserved for Abbrederis is a valuable one. It could give the Packers the power to retain another key player at a different position. Or it could open up a possibility for another receiver. A possibility for a guy like Myles White.

White has been with the team on and off over the past three years and received a chance to play with the team in 2013 when Randall Cobb went down with an injured leg. So far in training camp, White has been one of the more impressive wide receivers.

Overall, Green Bay has some tough decisions heading their way in the coming weeks. If Abbrederis can’t show that he can stay healthy enough to stay on the field, its doubtful he’ll be around for the season opener. It’s a vicious cycle for some players. The exit of one player opens the door for another. While Abbrederis could be on his way out, someone else could already be ready to take his place in Green Bay.

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Kyle Engman attends the University of Wisconsin and is a writer with PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @KyleEngmanNFL for more Packer news.

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6 thoughts on “Upcoming Roster Cuts Could Pave Way For Undrafted Free Agents

  1. Can’t say I was ever on the ABBY fan train, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they let him go or perhaps find a way to put him on IR again for another year.

    1. I was an Abbrederis fan last season, but when I watched him the first day of training camp this year he looked lost. Didn’t look like he fit in with the receivers at all. Even without the injury, I think his time with Green Bay is up.

  2. You could be an Abby fan if you followed his college playing. I’m not a Wisconsin local. I think Abby will be cut. Things don’t look too good for the other fan favorite, Janis. Miles White is older and may be more mature mentally, so it looks like he may make the 53.
    Some people at 21 or 22 are so young they’re not ready to start a career, especially in the difficult NFL. Look at Thornton, for example.

    1. I agree that you need maturity on the field but White is only one year older than Janis, I’d hardly call that an advantage over him. Not to mention White hasn’t even been on the active roster since 2013. Janis is going to beat him in athleticism 10 out of 10 times. He just needs to continue refining his route running and technique as a receiver. He’ll get there. Patience is a virtue and if the Packers are patient with Janis they’ll get a return on investment and more.

      1. Kyle, I disagree with you. Janis is not as sure handed as White. In fact, Janis is not even as fast as White (accounting for their best 40) and, as you know, Janis is pretty darned fast. But Janis is dropping balls, White isn’t. And it doesn’t hurt to have an extra year as a player.

  3. Abberderis’ best chance of making the roster was last season but the ACL injury erased that hope and now with the level of success of Montgomery that has so far been seen by those at camp,the new injury (concussion) which was a issue on different levels depending on who’s thinking,the yet again camp play of Miles White,again via those views at camp,and still his nemesis as named immediately at the onset of OTA’s and camp last season Jeff Janis,who still offers more than White as a WR via size but also his possible returner ability which White has none of at all via assumption only.

    Whether the Packers believe enough in Abbrederis to place him on IR again is a question but also whether Abberderis would simply let another year go by while another year of college WR’s embark on the path of the NFL.

    Nelson,Cobb,Adams,Montgomery,Janis will be the five and White being the sixth if the Packers decide to go with that many.

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