Year in and year out, the Green Bay Packers have one of the most competitive training camps in the NFL. Routinely, the Packers have to let talented players go on the final cut-down day and this year will be no different.
While the Packers have always done well in rookie free agency, this year takes the cake. Free-agent finds like Kentrell Brice, Marwin Evans, Geronimo Allison, Brian Price, Brandon Burks and Josh Hawkins have been tremendous finds.
Brice has played like an early-round draft pick. Evans has also been extremely impressive, particularly in the last two preseason games. Allison has opened eyes all camp at receiver and the others have all moved their way up their respective position’s depth chart.
Yet, when it’s all said and done, general manager Ted Thompson can only keep 53. So here is the Packers Guru’s final projection of what Green Bay’s 53-man roster will look like.
QB’s (2) – Aaron Rodgers and Brett Hundley –
Yes, Joe Callahan has played very well. But as long as Hundley is healthy and he was back at practice and looks ready for Week 1, Callahan won’t make the team. Hopefully, the Packers can sneak him onto the practice squad as the third quarterback.
RB/FB (4) – Eddie Lacy, James Starks, John Crockett, Aaron Ripkowski –
Burks pushed Crockett for a spot on the final roster and he’s a guy the Packers would love to keep on their practice squad. Yet, he just hasn’t done enough to overtake Crockett, who actually has had a solid camp and preseason.
WR (7) – Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis, Jared Abbrederis, Trevor Davis –
Allison has opened eyes and played impressively. But unless Thompson can make a trade of some kind, which I highly doubt, there just isn’t enough room to keep eight receivers. Allison will play on Sunday’s though, just not for Green Bay.
TE (3) – Jared Cook, Richard Rodgers, Justin Perillo –
The first two are obvious. Perillo has also cemented his spot on the team. Kennard Backman is another in contention, I just don’t see that he’s done enough to warrant cutting someone at other position of need.
OL (9) – Bryan Bulaga, David Bakhtiari, JC Tretter, TJ Lang, Josh Sitton, Jason Spriggs, Don Barclay, Lane Taylor, Kyle Murphy –
Corsey Linsley will start on the PUP. So for now, this looks like the group. Murphy will stick cause of his draft status and the 600k signing bonus he got. If anyone is in jeopardy, it might be Lane Taylor.
DL (5) – Kenny Clark, Mike Daniels, Letroy Guion, Dean Lowry, Brian Price –
The final spot comes down to Price and Christian Ringo. The different is that Price is a bigger player and can play both nose and end. With the injury status of Clark, the Packers could use another big body early in the season until Mike Pennel, who stood out this summer, returns from suspension.
LB (10) – Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Nick Perry, Datone Jones, Kyler Fackrell, Lerentee McCray, Sam Barrington, Blake Martinez, Jake Ryan, Joe Thomas –
Carl Bradford made a run at a roster spot, but just didn’t do enough. Jayrone Elliot also misses out in a close battle with Lerentee McCray. At the end of the day, special teams was the deciding factor.
CB (5) – Sam Shields, Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, Ladarius Gunter, Josh Hawkins –
Hawkins has impressed throughout camp and even though he’s a little short (5-10 1/2), he hasn’t backed down from Green Bay’s wide receivers all summer.
S (5) – Morgan Burnett, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Micah Hyde, Kentrell Brice, Marin Evans.
Not there is no typo, I am advocating that the Packers cut Chris Banjo. He’s been solid and is good on special teams, but Brice and Evans are simply too talented and have too much potential to cut. If either is let go, they would be picked up by other teams immediately. Time for Thompson to take the plunge on these two.
Specialists (3) – Mason Crosby, Tim Masthay, Rick Lovato –
Many thought Masthay would lose his job. I was not one of them. He’s been solid and his directional punting is his strength. Crosby of course, is money and Lovato has been talked about, which means he’s doing a good job.