The Green Bay Packers still have one more preseason bout, but the roster is shaking up, and the front office has a cornucopia of knowledge on what every player is capable of. Teams must have their rosters trimmed to 53 by Saturday at 4pm. As such, it’s my job as a couch GM to provide my take on what the initial 53-man roster will look like.
Quarterbacks (2): Aaron Rodgers, DeShone Kizer
Tim Boyle has looked better than Kizer in the preseason, but Kizer has shown tangible improvement, has the pedigree, has NFL experience, and considerable assets were used acquiring him. Tomorrow’s game will paint a clearer picture, but if the battle is close, I think Kizer gets the job.
Running backs (3): Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, Dexter Williams
Jones is a star, and J. Williams is everything you’d want in an RB2. RB3 largely comes down to Tra Carson and D. Williams. Williams tanked after a solid debut against the Texans, but his upside is much higher. I could easily see the Packers either keeping Carson or adding another RB after initial cuts and IR is taken into consideration.
Fullback (1): Danny Vitale
The Muscle Man will be the handsome poster child for the fullback renaissance.
Wide receiver (7): Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jake Kumerow, Trevor Davis, Darrius Shepherd, Equanimeous St. Brown
Green Bay keeps 7 receivers to start, but quickly put ESB on IR. Adams, Allison, and MVS are the clear top 3. Earlier this season, I called Kumerow and Davis fringe players, and I’m happy to eat a nice crow. Both look like meaningful parts of this offense and play important roles on special teams. Shepherd has impressed with every opportunity.
Tight ends (4): Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis, Robert Tonyan, Jace Sternberger
Probably the easiest position, though Lewis could be a surprise veteran cut. Expect Big Bob Tonyan to play a significant role as the season progresses.
Offensive line (10): David Bakhtiari, Lane Taylor, Corey Linsley, Billy Turner, Bryan Bulaga, Alex Light, Elgton Jenkins, Justin McCray, Lucas Patrick, Cole Madison
Jenkins could earn the starting job as early as Week 1, but keeping Taylor makes sense regardless. He’s can play multiple spots, and having a seasoned veteran is never a bad thing. Madison could be a practice squad candidate, but he’s shown enough to earn a roster spot.
Defensive line (5): Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Montravious Adams, Kingsley Keke, Tyler Lancaster
Another easy group to predict. Not much to add here; the top three are solidified, and Keke and Lancaster have clocked in strong preseasons.
Outside linebacker (4): Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Rashan Gary, Kyler Fackrell
Writing this after news of Reggie Gilbert’s trade made OLB a lot easier for me.
Inside linebacker (4): Blake Martinez, Oren Burks, Ty Summers, Chris Bolton
Burks injury isn’t as severe as thought; the Packers can keep him on the roster and judge his return on a week-to-week basis. Bolton likely goes to IR, which is unfortunate after such an impressive start. James Crawford or a player currently on another team are likely signed quickly to fill his stop. Summers has shone in flashes but still needs work. Raven Greene likely sees dime linebacker work (safety spoilers!).
Cornerbacks (6): Jaire Alexander, Kevin King, Tramon Williams, Tony Brown, Josh Jackson, Ka’Dar Hollman
In spite of King’s injury history, the CB group has promising, young depth to fill in. Tony Brown has been described as one of the hardest working Packers, including by Aaron Rodgers, and made an impressive year-two jump. Jackson flashed against Oakland after missing most of training camp. Hollman is standing out for a Day 3 pick. Williams provides leadership and is still impactful at 36.
Safety (4): Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage, Raven Greene, Ibraheim Campbell
The safety position is completely remodeled this year and inspires hope. Amos is the chaser needed after HaHa Clinton-Dix’s departure: dependable and willing to do the dirty work. Savage will compliment Amos well. Greene will likely play a major role as a dime linebacker. The Packers have their choice between Campbell, Will Redmond, and Natrell Jamerson, but I think Campbell’s upside makes him the top choice, even with last year’s major injury.
Specialists (3): K Mason Crosby, P J.K. Scott, LS Hunter Bradley
Crosby lived up to the challenge, and Sam Ficken likely ends up kicking for the Bears.Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.