Packers quarterback Kurt Benkert has taken Green Bay and social media by storm in his first preseason with the franchise. From riding around in a Halo costume to joining the locals for Fourth of July festivities to his personable stories in post-practice pressers, Benkert has already proven to be a fan favourite since moving to Titletown in late June. His Halo costume won’t influence his standing on the 53-man roster, though. And the Packers’ depth at other positions begs the question – is there any room for Kurt Benkert?
The Virginia product joined the Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2018 and spent most of his two seasons on the practice squad before being waived in February.
He signed with the Packers on May 15 and outlasted Blake Bortles and Jacob Dolegala following OTAs, joining Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love as the only rostered quarterbacks entering training camp.
In his time at Packers training camp, Benkert hasn’t got much opportunity to showcase his skillset.
Reports say Rodgers and Love receive the majority of the snaps, leaving Benkert with a couple of table scraps to finish drills.
This means Benkert will have to make his case for a roster spot in preseason games.
He should get plenty of opportunities as Rodgers, presumably, plays very few snaps, leaving him and Love with valuable playtime.
The 26-year-old possesses good size (6’3” 220lbs) and reportedly “throws a nice ball,” according to Andy Herman.
There haven’t been any notes about him struggling in camp thus far, but, he hasn’t seemed to blow anyone away with his limited snaps either.
Benkert will have three games to show what he’s got. But, even with an impressive preseason, would he convince the Packers to keep a third quarterback on the active roster?
The answer may not depend on his ability to play. Like in many cases in the NFL, it could be a numbers game.
The Packers have seven legitimate candidates battling for a spot at wide receiver.
Tradition would say keep five receivers on the final 53, but the prospects of a Devin Funchess or Juwaan Winfree might be too enticing for the Packers to risk another team scooping them up.
This could point to the team keeping six receivers to start the season.
The Packers also have thirteen solid candidates at defensive back and six at linebacker.
The ability for many of them to play on special teams will make keeping more DBs or LBs than usual likely this year.
Supreme depth on the offensive line also bodes poorly for Benkert as ten linemen are battling for spots on the roster.
The reality is, there are roughly 45 players with a spot secured on the active roster already, leaving about eight spots open to the remaining 45 players.
Keeping three quarterbacks isn’t completely unusual for the Packers, but Jordan Love emerging as a serviceable backup option and the Packers’ depth at other areas may leave no room for Benkert on the final roster.
The fan favourite hopefully wouldn’t have to say goodbye to his second NFL team, though.
The Packers could bring him back on the practice squad.
But as the Baltimore native cited in his most recent press conference, there’s a big difference between the cheque for a practice squad player and the cheque for an active roster player.
Cheese Heads will be routing for Benkert in August as he looks to make the first opening week roster of his career.——————
Joshua Frey-Sam is a journalism student and aspiring sportscaster hailing from Winnipeg, Canada. A Packers fan since 2005, Josh has worked to master the financial and scouting aspect of the NFL over the past few years. Josh remains a firm believer that Dez did not, in fact, catch the ball. You can follow him on twitter at @jfreysam.
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