Green Bay Packers: Who Is on the Roster Bubble?
As we hit the final preseason game of the year, it's worth looking at some of the players on the edge of making the team.
There will be a few names that, had I told you them just a month ago, you would have laughed at me.
And yet here we are.
There is always a chance that a player sticks when we don't expect them to, and someone gets cut whom we don't see coming.
So by no means is this remotely a complete list—just some of the more interesting names I have seen floating around or thought about myself.
Remember back in 2010 when the Packers won the Super Bowl and Starks had such a tremendous postseason that he was anointed the starting running back by many before the game was really over?
Starks always had injury concerns and they have never been shaken. On top of that he has never really improved his pass blocking to the point where the team was comfortable with it. Then he started fumbling.
The signing of Cedric Benson puts the writing on the wall. It's possible they keep all their running backs—Benson, Starks, Alex Green and Brandon Saine, but they may also want the roster space for people on the defensive side of the ball or depth somewhere.
Starks has talent, but cannot stay healthy and with the issues in pass protection. It's not hard to imagine them letting him go; he certainly didn't help his position this preseason.
Yup, we're getting the two top guys out of the way here.
I don't think this one is that likely since there is nobody else to tap as a backup save seventh-round rookie BJ Coleman, who is even more raw than Harrell.
Harrell has had the uphill battle of playing behind a bad second-string offensive line, but even with that in mind, he's been bad. He is nervous in the pocket, his accuracy is inconsistent and his decisions are a bit migraine-inducing at times.
Is this really the guy who the team wants to be behind Rodgers? We know Rodgers is tough and durable, but it's a risk.
On the other hand, there isn't much choice on the roster, so unless they trade for Colt McCoy, Harrell will probably stay.
Another potential option if the Packers bring in a veteran to hang behind Rodgers is to move Coleman to the practice squad, which would, of course, require cutting him first. It's unlikely he'd get swiped off the waiver wire, but possible.
As a seventh rounder, I would imagine it's a risk the Packers would be willing to take.
He's a project they don't expect him to start anytime soon.
Borel was hot earlier this summer but has had—and there is no softer way to put it—a very bad preseason. Drops, bad routes, injury—he's been far less than the player we expected him to be.
Last December, the team offered him the equivalent of the rookie minimum to stay on the practice squad rather than take an active spot for the same money with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
At this point, it looks unlikely that we'll see a repeat.
The other guy the Packers kept for good money was Gurley, and he too has been underwhelming. If he sticks, it will be because he has value in the special teams unit, but he's been banged up and hasn't played too well when healthy.
It's possible the team tries to keep one of these guys, even both, but that seems unlikely to me that with the depth they have at the position.
With DJ Williams playing well and other options for blocking (Crabtree, Kuhn) Taylor—who had just two targets last season—might find himself on the outside looking in.
A big guy, Taylor is far more of a blocker than a pass-catching tight end, so his chances will always be a bit limited.
Tyler has had his moments this preseason, but the Packers don't need four running backs (much less five if they do keep Stark). He's a big, bowling ball of a back which makes him an intriguing option in the red zone for someone, and it's possible the Packers might try and sneak him onto the practice squad.
With John Kuhn still around, there isn't really a need for a second big guy to hammer at the goal line.
You will note that, with all the uncertainty in camp at the safety position with Nick Collins gone, nobody has mentioned Levine save in passing. He's undersized and not a huge hitter. Since the Packers are moving Woodson back and forth between safety and corner (along with the presence of rookie Jerron McMillian and MD Jennings), there is really no need for him and the extra roster spot he requires.
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