Preseason football is here! Going into the first game this Saturday, I wanted to make an initial prediction of how I think the roster is going to look a month from now. This will be part one of a two-part process; I will come back to this roster prediction and see how much my thoughts have changed after 3 pre-season games. However, I believe that this is a close perception of what the Packers week one 53-man roster plus practice squad will look like.
On offense, I worked under the assumption that left tackle David Bakhtiari will not be ready for the start of the season. However, I believe that the Packers will keep him on the initial roster so they can put him on IR, which they can activate him after three games instead of six if they put him on the regular season PUP. Due to this, I kept 10 total offensive linemen to maximize the options that the Packers will have to mitigate Bakhtiari’s absence. At least week one, I have 7 wide receivers, but one could be cut in favor of Jace Sternberger after he serves his two-week suspension. This may seem like overkill, but it was about keeping the best 53 players, rather than a fourth TE or third QB.
(2) QBs: Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love
(4) RB: Aaron Jones, AJ Dillion, Kylin Hill, Patrick Taylor
(7) WR: Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, Amari Rodgers, Juwann Winfree, Devin Funchess
(3) TE: Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara
(10) OL: Elton Jenkins, Runyan, Josh Myers, Ben Braden, Dennis Kelly, Royce Newman, Billy Turner, Lucas Patrick, Cole Van Lanen, Yosh Nijman
I made some tough choices here, mostly on the backend of the roster. I trimmed what I perceived to be replacement level players that were also expensive like Josh Jackson and Oren Burks. While they are decent players, their contracts make them appealing cuts as compared to their on-field play. Preseason may change my mind but at this point they are on the outside looking in. I also cut special teams cornerstone Will Redmond, I think that young safeties Innis Gaines, Vernon Scott and Christian Uphoff can fill his shoes on special teams and have much higher potential on defense. I wish I would have had room for Tipa Galeai, but I gave Jonathan Garvin the edge because of his tools and draft status. It will be quite the battle for them the next few weeks.
(5) DL: Kenny Clary, Dean Lowry, TJ Sheldon, Tyler Lancaster, Kingsley Keke
(4) OLB: Za’Darius Smith, Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, Jonathan Garvin
(4) ILB: De’vondre Campbell, Kris Barnes, Kamal Martin, Ty Summers
(6) CB: Jaire Alexander, Kevin King, Eric Stokes, Shemar Jean-Charles, Chandon Sullivan, Kabion Ento
(5) S: Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage, Innis Gaines, Vernon Scott, Christian Uphoff
No surprises here. Barring injury, all 3 positions seemed locked up. However, if Bradley or Scott have a particularly poor preseason, the packers could scour the waiver wire for a replacement at cutdowns.
(1) K: Mason Crosby
(1) P: JK Scott
(1) LS: Hunter Bradley
Suspended and Injured Reserve Lists: Jace Sternberger (Sus) David Bakhtiari (IR after cutdown)
Jace has been suspended for the first two weeks by the NFL, so he won’t count initially on the Packers roster. It makes no sense to cut him and he has quietly had a good camp so far. Putting him here buys the Packers time to determine who he bumps off the roster in week 3. David is on injured reserve to complete his recovery from a late season ACL tear. As I said earlier, I assume that the Packers will place him on IR after cutdown so they can bring him back after three weeks instead of six.
Practice Squad(16): Kurt Benkert, Dominique Daffney, Isaiah Mcduffie, Dexter Williams, Jake Hanson, Tipa Galeai, Josh Avery, Carlo Kemp, Isaac Nauta, Henry Black, Willington Previlon, DeAndre Thompkins, Will Redmond.
I tried to keep players that I think have potential to develop and would be a “first man up” in the event of any injuries. While Redmond doesn’t make the 53 at this point, but having a player of his veteran standing on the practice squad would be invaluable. There is still room on the practice squad to look around for additionally pieces that are released throughout the league.
This is a roster that can and will compete for a Super Bowl. I’m excited to see over the next three weeks who continues to impress and be a part of something special in 2021.
Jordan is a lifelong Packer fan who grew up in Idaho and now lives in Seattle, Washington. You can follow him on twitter at @jordantwolf.
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