The Green Bay Packers have made their opening roster decisions following the final week of the preseason. There were a few moves that were less predictable than others, and of course, many that were expected.
Which Wide Receivers Made the Cut?
Looking back to May, I wrote about the Packers being unlikely to add any more veteran wide receivers because of the group that was slated to make the roster. I posed my likely group of seven to be: Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Sammy Watkins, Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Amari Rodgers, and one of either Samori Toure or Malik Taylor. I’ll count that as seven-for-seven, being that Toure made the roster.
Juwann Winfree, the “darling” and a fan-favorite of the last two Packers camps, again failed to make the initial roster. There’s no doubt the decision for the final spot came down to Winfree or Toure. That being said, GM Brian Gutekunst has a certain affinity for keeping most of his draft picks around for at least a year, even if they’re late round guys, so Winfree failed to make the cut. The Packers will likely look for him to clear waivers so they can sign him back onto their practice squad.
Only Two Running Backs
In a somewhat unexpected move, Green Bay kept only Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon in their running back room. Head Coach Matt Lafleur has previously expressed interest in having a third player with a dynamic skill set for the backfield, and three running backs seems like a minimal number to keep rostered, so this move was probably the most surprising to me.
RB Tyler Goodson had a solid preseason, and he looked poised to even beat out Patrick Taylor for a third spot, but unfortunately neither made the final roster. They will likely look for at least one to sign back with the team on the practice squad, but that is yet to be seen.
It’s interesting to consider what the plan is when it comes to this position group, but it is likely that they are just waiting for RB Kylin Hill to return from the PUP list a few weeks into the season.
There was suspense building up about whether or not Crosby would make the initial roster due to his injury. The Packers were trying out kickers not much longer than a week ago, and many feared that Crosby had played his last days with the team. Fortunately, he was activated from the PUP list and he is poised to continue his streak of appearing in games as the Packers all-time leading scorer.
In a somewhat less surprising turn of events, Jack Coco in fact made the roster as the packers long snapper. He had been the last man standing for the last two weeks, so this isn’t shocking news, but it is possible that the Packers aren’t done addressing this position. Long snapper has been a scrutinized position throughout the discourse during the offseason, and I suspect there will be little hesitancy to look into other players if anything goes wrong on special teams.
There were a few other minor standouts on the final roster, but none that were too surprising. Zach Tom, who was an absolute stud on the offensive line throughout preseason, made the final roster, along with third rounder Sean Rhyan and seventh rounder Rasheed Walker.
There weren’t too many surprises on defense, although DL Jonathan Ford made the cut over someone like Jack Heflin, who was released. The Packers also went with five safeties, possibly due to the depth at this position being some of the worst on the roster. The safeties who made it were starters Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos, of course, as well as Dallin Leavitt, preseason standout Micah Abernathy, and seventh rounder Tariq Carpenter.
The Packers seem to have picked a good group of young players on the depth chart with hopes of developing most of them into talented role players and eventual starters. The question remains if there are enough players on the roster who can excel on special teams, but that question may take some time to answer.
For now the Packers have their 53-man roster and they’re looking ahead to September 11th, when they’ll take on the Minnesota Vikings for their week one matchup in Minneapolis.——————
Zack is a college student and cheesehead from California. When he’s not in class or writing, you can find him talking about the Packers on Twitter at @Zack_Upchurch.