There are few preseason traditions in the National Football League like Family Night at Lambeau Field. There may be some rabid fan bases out there, but I doubt that any of them would sell out their home stadium just to see their team scrimmage. Yet, that is exactly what happened in Green Bay, Wisconsin last Saturday night.
That being said, the Packers are about to let the real preseason bullets fly on Thursday when they will take on the New England at Gillette Stadium. There will be plenty of evaluating done that night as many Green Bay rookies will see live action for the first time. But, before that happens, it seemed like a good time to take the first training camp crack at projecting the Packers 2015 53-man roster.
Quarterbacks (3) – Aaron Rodgers, Scott Tolzien, Brett Hundley
Seems pretty easy here. Hundley has shown improvement in practice and that pretty much locks up his spot for this season.
Running Backs/Fullbacks (4) Eddie Lacy, James Starks, John Kuhn, Aaron Ripkowski
The top three are locks in my opinion. The final battle will come down to Ripkowski, Alonzo Harris and Rajion Neal. Whoever, stands out on special teams may just find their way onto the team. Right now both Ripkowski and Harris on the top kickoff team, so seems like the last spot is down to them.
Wide Receivers (6) – Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis and Myles White.
The first four are self explanatory and Janis has done nothing to lose the spot he won last offseason. The Packers had hoped that Jared Abbrederis would make a run at a roster spot, but injuries continue to hinder him, while White keeps making plays. White can play, he’s caught passes from Aaron Rodgers in real NFL games and he is good enough to be a No. 5 wide out somewhere.
Tight Ends (3): Richard Rodgers, Andrew Quarless, Justin Perillo.
I know the Packers don’t like cutting draft picks, but I am not sure I have seen enough for Kennard Backman to unseat Perillo, who worked his way onto the active roster and played in two games last season for Green Bay. It will be close and it’s possible at the end of the way they keep four tight ends.
Offensive line: (8) – Bryan Bulaga, T.J. Lang, Josh Sitton, Corey Linsley, David Bakhtiari, J.C. Tretter, Don Barclay and Lane Taylor.
Right now, I think these are the eight guys Mike McCarthy and his staff are going with. They are experienced and with Taylor, Tretter and Barclay, the Packers have three versatile backups than can backup all five positions.
Defensive Line – (6) – B.J. Raji, Mike Daniels, Josh Boyd, Letroy Guion, Christian Ringo, Mike Pennell, (Datone Jones will be on roster after Week 1 suspension).
There are some questions along the defensive line due to suspensions to Jones and Guion, but all in all, there will be seven solid players when all is said and done. Khyri Thorton could still make the team if he starts playing up to his talent level, but thus far through camp, it simply hasn’t happened.
LB’s (10) – Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Mike Neal, Sam Barrington, Nick Perry, Jake Ryan, Nate Palmer, Jayrone Elliot, Andy Mulumba, Carl Bradford.
This is going to be a close battle. Palmer, Bradford and Elliot probably hold the final three spots, but Adrian Hubbard, Joe Thomas and James Vaughters are all proving to be contenders. This will be a good battle to watch throughout the preseason.
DB’s (10) – Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, Morgan Burnett, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Micah Hyde, Damarious Randall, Quinton Rollins, Anthony Richardson, LaDarius Gunter and Chris Banjo.
As far as I’m concerned, Gunter is finding a way onto this roster. He has been much more impressive than Demetri Goodson and his ability and physical gifts are too good to pass up. In my opinion, the final spot comes down to Banjo, who has been a core special-teamer and rookie safety Jean Fanor of Standford, who has also opened eyes.
Specialists (3): Mason Crosby, Tim Masthay and Bret Goode.
No surprise there. All three are locks.