Green Bay Packers Most Likely to Be Roster Cuts
Every year, NFL teams have to cut their rosters to 53 players. This year, it's possible the camp rosters will be at 90 players. Most likely, teams will be cutting the undrafted free agents and late-round picks. But with the level of talent on the Packers, we could see some veterans hit the road.
This slideshow will break down the players at each position who are most likely to get cut when rosters drop to 53.
Quarterback Nick Hill
QB Nick Hill was signed on Jan. 20, 2012. With the loss of Matt Flynn to the Seattle Seahawks, the Packers brought in Hill to compete for the backup job with Graham Harrell. He might not make it that far.
The Packers are high on Harrell, and he will most likely be Aaron Rodgers' backup when the season starts. The Packers will most likely spend a later-round pick on a project quarterback to add a third QB to the backup battle.
Hill, a 6'3'', 215-pound quarterback, spent the 2011 season with the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League. He threw 93 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.
Hill went undrafted in 2008 out of Southern Illinois, but signed a free-agent deal with the Chicago Bears.
Chance of being cut: 95 percent
Running Back Brandon Saine
Ryan Grant is a free agent and most likely won't return, leaving the Packers with James Starks, Alex Green and Brandon Saine as the three backs on the roster.
Although Starks seems to be hit or miss, he is the odds-on favorite to open the season as the starter. The Packers are high on first-year running back Alex Green, though his recovery from a mid-season knee injury will highly influence this decision.
That leaves Saine as the No. 3 back. He showed flashes of speed, vision and cutting ability in his limited time on the field.
It is possible the Packers will draft a running back in the later rounds of the draft. But with Ted Thompson and his best-available-player approach, a running back could fall in his lap.
If that is the case, Saine could be the one cut.
Chance of being cut: 50 percent
John Kuhn was the only fullback on the roster last season and I do not expect that to change. People would storm Lambeau with pitchforks if Kuhn were cut.
Wide Receiver James Jones
James Jones is more of a trade candidate. The Packers love practice-squad wide receivers Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel, and one of them could make the team. Gurley had a phenomenal preseason last year and almost made the team out of camp.
Borel, a converted quarterback, showed that he could be another return threat next to Randall Cobb, and his special-teams ability is needed by the Packers. And let's not rule out Shaky Smithson stealing the show this preseason.
If the Packers feel that one of these three players has better ability and potential than Jones, I'd expect Ted Thompson to explore a trade early in the preseason.
Chance of being traded: 65 percent
Tight End Tom Crabtree
The Packers are stacked at tight end. Behind the roller-coaster Jermichael Finley, the Packers have second-year player Andrew Quarless, who has the potential to be a good tight end but is coming of a bad knee injury, and rookies D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor.
Williams was the 2010 Mackey Award winner, given to the top college tight end, and could be a star.
Taylor is a special-teams freak, plays with a mean streak and can also play linebacker, all traits that Mike McCarthy covets.
Although Crabtree is the best blocking tight end on the roster, the other players' traits may outweigh Crabtree's ability to block.
Chance of being cut: 40 percent
Tackle Herb Taylor
This is simply a numbers game. If Chad Clifton is healthy, it seems that Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy are set on keeping him on the team. Clifton's' veteran presence and his ability to still play well figures to ultimately end Herb Taylor's short stay in Green Bay.
With the Packers almost guaranteed to draft a tackle this April, that would leave the Packers with Brian Bulaga and Marshall Newhouse seemingly set as starters, with Derek Sherrod, Ray Dominguez, Chad Clifton and the draft pick to compete for backup positions at both tackle spots.
With these numbers, Taylor is as good as gone.
Chance of being cut: 90 percent
Defensive End Mike Neal
Bring out the haters. I see Mike Neal as a possible candidate to be cut this offseason. With his injury history, lack of relevance and recent suspension, Neal already may have played his way out of Green Bay, much like Justin Harrell did.
The Packers' top need in this draft is a coin toss between defensive end and outside linebacker. If defensive end is addressed in the top two rounds, I believe that will send Neal packing.
The Packers have Ryan Pickett at left end, and Jarius Wynn, C.J. Wilson, Daniel Muir, Lawrence Guy and possibly Anthony Hargrove to compete with the rookie to start at right end. If the Packers address this in the first round, I fully expect the draft pick to be the starter.
I may be the only person who sees Lawrence Guy as a sleeper to be a force on the defensive line. He was a third-round talent last year who fell to Round 7 due to dyslexia troubles.
Unlike Neal, all these other players have at least proven that they can be on the field when needed.
Chance of being cut: 50 percent
Outside Linebacker Jamari Lattimore
This choice absolutely kills me. I am a huge fan of Lattimore and think that a full offseason to grow would help him tremendously. But he is only 230 pounds, which is a bit small for an outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme.
Plus, it's no secret that the Packers are going to draft an outside backer in the first two rounds. If that pick comes in and absolutely tears it up, Lattimore will be gone.
The Packers have Clay Matthews, Brad Jones, Vic So'oto, Frank Zombo and are seemingly about to add Dave Tollefson to the mix at outside linebacker. With Matthews entrenched as a starter and the rookie draft pick most likely seeing significant time at the other linebacker spot, the other three are more than capable backups.
Lattimore falls casualty to the experience game.
Chance of being cut: 80 percent
Middle Linebacker A.J. Hawk
First off, let me say this. This is not happening because of skill alone. If the Packers are looking to cut bait with someone at middle linebacker, it may come down to money. Hawk has not lived up to the hype of being a fifth-overall pick.
When Hawk went down with the wrist injury last season, rookies D.J. Smith and Robert Francois stepped in admirably. Smith brings better instincts, sure tackling ability and good ball skills to the position.
Ted Thompson may realize his contractual mistake and go with the cheaper, just-as-good Smith opposite Desmond Bishop.
Bring out the angry comments!
Chance of being cut: 20 percent
Safety Charlie Peprah
Regardless what happens with Nick Collins, Charlie Peprah will likely be cut. The Packers are rumored to be looking for a safety early in the draft. That pick would most likely start or be a backup to Nick Collins.
Peprah was a savior in the magical Super Bowl run in 2010-11, but he proved why he is a journeyman safety last season.
His ball skills are severely lacking and he tackles with his arms more often than not. The likelihood of his departure is dependent on the draft.
Chance of being cut: 70 percent