Green Bay Packers: Early Projections for the Final 53-Man Roster
Final cuts for the 2012 season are still far away.
Training camp hasn't even started yet. For that matter, neither has the Green Bay Packers' rookie camp, which is set to start on May 11.
The draft is over, though, and rookie free-agent signings are pretty much finished. We have an idea of who'll compete for roster spots and who won't.
Even though it might be way too early to make these predictions, here's what the Packers' 53-man roster may look like come September.
* - Indicates a rookie.
** - Indicates an undrafted free agent.
QB1: Aaron Rodgers
QB2: Graham Harrell
QB3: B.J. Coleman*
While Rodgers and Harrell are set in stone as the top two quarterbacks, Coleman and recently signed Nick Hill will have to battle for the third spot.
The third quarterback is not guaranteed a roster spot, however.
Running Backs (4)
RB1: James Starks
RB2: Alex Green
RB3: Brandon Saine
FB: John Kuhn
The running backs are rather unimpressive. Both Starks and Saine are pedestrian runners, with Starks being better than Saine.
Kuhn, obviously, is the fullback.
We'll see what Green can do and if Saine can hold off undrafted free agent Marc Tyler.
Wide Receivers (6)
WR1: Greg Jennings
WR2: Jordy Nelson
WR3: Donald Driver
WR4: James Jones
WR5: Randall Cobb
WR6: Dale Moss**
Jennings and Nelson are on the outside with Driver and Cobb sharing snaps in the slot. Jones is the third outside receiver.
The big thing this offseason will be whether the Packers decide to carry six receivers.
They gave Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel raises last season and this year they signed freak athlete Dale Moss just minutes after the draft ended.
I'm taking Dale Moss here as he's simply too special an athlete to risk getting claimed off of waivers if he has a good camp.
Driver will have to take a pay cut down to the minimum if he wants to stay.
Tight End (4)
TE1: Jermichael Finley
TE2: Andrew Quarless
TE3: Ryan Taylor
TE4: D.J. Williams
Mike McCarthy loves his tight ends, but there won't be five tight ends making the roster this time.
Finley is the clear starter while Quarless will be fighting for a spot after going down late last season to injury.
Taylor is more of an H-back type player and a special-teamer.
Tom Crabtree will be the casualty here.
Offensive Line (9)
LT1: Marshall Newhouse
LG1: T.J. Lang
C1: Jeff Saturday
RG1: Josh Sitton
RT1: Bryan Bulaga
G2: Evan Dietrich-Smith
G/T: Ray Dominguez
C2: Jaymes Brooks**
T3: Andrew Datko*
Chad Clifton is gone at left tackle. Saturday is in and Scott Wells is out at center. Those are the only changes to the starting lineup.
Datko, a seventh-round pick, will be groomed, as well undrafted rookie Brooks from Virginia Tech.
Dominguez will be an important backup, as he's versatile enough to play both guard and tackle. He's behind Dietrich-Smith but ahead of Datko.
Derek Sherrod will begin the season on the PUP list.
Defensive Line (6)
DE1: Ryan Pickett
DE2: Jerel Worthy*
DE3: C.J. Wilson
DT1: B.J. Raji
DT2: Howard Green
DE/DT: Mike Daniels*
One of the biggest question marks for the roster is the defensive line. This is a deep group that lacks star power outside of Raji and potentially Worthy.
The three starters and Green seem to be locks, but after that it's anyone's guess.
Daniels wasn't drafted in the fourth round to be cut, but his build at 6'0", 291 pounds makes it anyone's guess as to where he fits.
Anthony Hargrove was suspended for eight games earlier and Mike Neal may be shown the door after his four-game suspension.
C.J. Wilson is on the bubble roster and then you have last year's seventh-round pick Lawrence Guy. It's too hard to predict this at this time.
Outside Linebacker (4)
OLB1: Clay Matthews
OLB2: Nick Perry*
OLB3: Erik Walden
OLB4: Vic So'oto
Nick Perry wasn't drafted in the first round to sit on the bench.
He'll be given every opportunity to win the starting outside linebacker job opposite Matthews.
Walden returns as a backup and So'oto gets the nod over Jamari Lattimore, Brad Jones and Frank Zombo.
So'oto isn't an experienced special teams player and that may come in handy for the other candidates, but I'd put my money on So'oto making the team if I had to.
Inside Linebacker (4)
ILB1: Desmond Bishop
ILB2: A.J. Hawk
ILB3: D.J. Smith
ILB4: Terrell Manning*
Hopefully, Green Bay can find a way to get rid of Hawk's terrible contract. That would open a starting spot for Smith, who was serviceable last year.
Manning could develop into a terror as a blitzer though won't see much time this year and Bishop was second on the team in sacks last year.
Robert Francois barely misses out here because of Manning's status as a drafted player.
Converted linebacker and undrafted free agent Sean Richardson may go to the practice squad to add some weight before being given a legitimate shot next year.
CB1: Tramon Williams
CB2: Charles Woodson
CB3: Casey Hayward*
CB4: Sam Shields
CB5: Jarrett Bush
CB6: Brandian Ross
Surprise! While Ross was arguably more impressive than Davon House last year, he got waived because House was a fourth-round pick and he was not. This time he beats out House after a year on the practice squad.
Williams will be the team's shutdown corner, while Woodson will move around depending on the opposing team's personnel.
Hayward will have to battle out Shields, who took a big step back last year, for the third cornerback spot.
Bush, yet again, lands on special teams.
FS1: Morgan Burnett
FS2: M.D. Jennings
SS1: Charlie Peprah
SS2: Jerron McMillian*
Sadly, the team had to cut Nick Collins.
Burnett will open as the free safety while Peprah will open as the starter at strong safety.
McMillian, a fourth-round pick, was a surprise selection for Green Bay. Do not sleep on him though, he'll be starting by year's end.
M.D. Jennings will likely battle with Anthony Levine for the final spot if the team decides to take Levine to camp again.
K: Mason Crosby
P: Tim Masthay
LS: Brett Goode
This is probably the least surprising of any group as these three carry over from last year and have no real chance of being unseated.
Possible Trade Candidates
James Jones, WR
A.J. Hawk, ILB
Jarrett Bush, CB
Charlie Peprah, S