Full Training Camp Roster Breakdown for the Green Bay Packers
Expectations remain high for one of the best coach-quarterback duos in franchise history. But before the two attempt to lead the Packers to another Super Bowl, general manager Ted Thompson has to figure out his best 53 players from a group of 90.
Over the next month or so, Thompson will use practices and preseason games to determine which players will make the cut and which won't. It's a long, tedious process that is typically difficult on everyone involved.
In the following slides, we'll break down Green Bay's 90-man roster and what each player needs to do to make the team as the Packers head to training camp.
Note: Uniform numbers are provided after every player's name.
Aaron Rodgers (No. 12)
Few in the history of the game have put together a more impressive three-year stretch than Rodgers, who won a Super Bowl MVP in 2010 and a regular-season MVP in 2011 before becoming the first quarterback to throw 35 or more touchdowns and eight or fewer interceptions in back-to-back seasons (2011, 2012). At 29 years old, Rodgers is in the prime of his career. He's also the NFL highest-paid player after agreeing to five-year, $110 million extension in April.
Graham Harrell (No. 6)
The 28-year-old Harrrell has just four career NFL attempts, which puts his roster spot on the bubble for 2013. While well-versed in the Packers offense, he has a noodle arm and isn't mobile in or out of the pocket. Harrell needs a strong camp to stick as Rodgers' backup.
B.J. Coleman (No. 9)
Coleman appears to be in an ideal spot to win a spot on the 53-man roster. A former seventh-round pick in 2012, Coleman now has experience in the system and the physical talent to beat out Harrell. He still needs to prove it on the field, but this job is certainly up in the air.
Matt Brown (No. 1)
Brown put together an impressive four-year career at Illinois State, but he's behind the curve in terms of learning the offense and earning coach McCarthy's trust. He might not challenge for a backup job, but Brown could certainly land on the practice squad as the team's third quarterback, especially if Coleman wins the No. 2 spot.
James Starks (No. 44)
The elder statesman of the Packers running back group is clearly at a career crossroads. A playoff hero during Green Bay's Super Bowl run, Starks has struggled to stay healthy over his three-year career. He's now missed 26 of 48 possible games since 2010. He needs to avoid the training table to have a chance at sticking around another year.
Alex Green (No. 20)
The drafting of Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin was a clear sign that the Packers want to get better at running back. Green, a third-round pick in 2011, received an opportunity to lock down the starting job last season but failed over 12 games. He's now two years removed from ACL surgery, which should give Green a chance revive his career. The Packers need to see explosion and versatility from a healthy Green in camp.
DuJuan Harris (No. 26)
Harris took his opportunity and ran with it late in 2012. While outproducing the rest of the Green Bay running backs down the stretch, Harris has put himself in a prime position to continue his career with the Packers in 2013. It might take an injury for the 5'7" back to be left off the 53-man roster come September.
Eddie Lacy (No. 27)
The Packers didn't select Lacy in the second round without thinking the former Alabama star was capable of being a starting running back in the NFL right away. At 230 pounds, Lacy is the kind of workhorse back Green Bay has lacked with Aaron Rodgers under center. He'll be expected to lead the team in rushing right away.
Johnathan Franklin (No. 23)
With Franklin still on the board in the fourth round, the Packers hedged their bets and completed the running back re-haul. A shifty, explosive back who compares to a young Frank Gore, Franklin is an promising fit for the Packers offense. He could be a versatile weapon early on as a rookie. At the very least, Franklin will compete to be the team's punt returner in 2013.
Angelo Pease (No. 39)
While mostly an afterthought for Kansas State, Pease enters a crowded but young backfield in Green Bay. A spot on the practice squad is certainly within reach, especially if he continues to impress during training camp.
John Kuhn (No. 30)
Kuhn will turn 31 years old in September and is owed over $2 million in the last year of his deal, but there's no replacement for the versatile fullback on the roster. As one of the team's "glue" guys, and one the best pass-protecting backs, Kuhn should stick around. However, 2013 could very well be his last season in Green Bay.
Jonathan Amosa (No. 48)
A former walk-on at the Universtiy of Washington, Amosa was signed after a rookie tryout this spring. He's large (5'11" and 247 pounds), but Kuhn presents a stiff challenge for a roster spot. A strong summer could mean a practice-squad spot.
Jordy Nelson (No. 87)
Nelson has over 2,000 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns over 28 games the last two seasons. If he can stay healthy for a full season (missed four games in 2012), there's no reason why Nelson can't crack 1,000 yards and 10 scores in 2013.
James Jones (No. 89)
Once prone to mind-numbing drops, Jones broke out in 2012 with career highs in catches (64), yards (784) and touchdowns (14). His 14 scores were tied for the most among receivers last season. However, the 29-year-old Jones is entering a contract season.
Randall Cobb (No. 18)
Few receivers seem closer to the edge of stardom than Cobb, who morphed into Percy Harvin 2.0 in 2012. He caught (80 receptions), ran (132 rushing yards) and returned (over 1,250 combined return yards) during a breakout season. The only question mark surrounding Cobb will be if he returns punts and kicks in 2013. He might be too important offensively to risk on special teams.
Jarrett Boykin (No. 11)
The 6'2", 217-pound Boykin was signed after a rookie tryout last spring and then made the 53-man roster with a strong preseason. He appears to be the front-runner to win the No. 4 receiver job, although he'll have competition from a hoard of young players.
Jeremy Ross (No. 10)
His botched punt return in San Francisco during the postseason is the lasting memory, but Ross will have an opportunity to win a job as a returner and depth receiver this summer. He first needs to regain trust from the coaching staff while ensuring that his disastrous mistake remains in the past. And can he contribute as a receiver?
Charles Johnson (No. 17)
No young receiver on the Packers roster is as enticing as Johnson, who stands 6'2" with impressive measurables. His biggest challenge will be the transition from small-school Grand Valley State to the NFL. If he shows polish early, Johnson could certainly see opportunities as the No. 4 receiver.
Kevin Dorsey (No. 16)
The Packers other seventh-round receiver, Dorsey has impressive size but struggled to post big numbers at Maryland while dealing with poor quarterback play. He'll need a strong month of August to earn a roster spot, but a year on the practice squad wouldn't be the worst scenario.
Terrell Sinkfield (No. 5)
UPDATE: The Packers have waived Sinkfield from the roster.
Sinkfield went undrafted in April despite a few blazing 40-yard dash times during the pre-draft process. He now needs to prove in camp that he's more than just a track star. Still, the Packers have to be intrigued by Sinkfield's impressive straight-line speed.
Myles White (No. 19)
White isn't a big receiver at 6'0" and 182 pounds, but he possesses game-changing speed and the ability to make plays as a vertical option. In the Packers system—and especially with the end of the depth chart up for grabs—White has a chance to make the final 53. He'll first need to showcase his field-flipping abilities in camp.
Sederrick Cunningham (No. 13)
Cunningham appears to be a long shot after a year out of football in 2012. He only caught 17 passes during his senior season at Furham, too. Cunningham's best chance to make a splash is as a kick returner, where he has experience.
Tyrone Walker (No. 83)
The all-time leading receiver in Illinois State history, Walker was signed by Green Bay following a rookie tryout in May. He isn't a burner or a physical specimen, but Walker can earn an increased look by running crisp routes and catching everything thrown his way.
Alex Gillett (No. 7)
A former quarterback at Eastern Michigan, Gillett will now continue his transition to receiver in Green Bay. His limited experience at the position makes him a long shot to stick, even on the practice squad. He'll need to be a quick study.
Jermichael Finley (No. 88)
Despite possessing more talent than any of the team's tight ends, Finley will enter 2013 with an uncertain future in Green Bay. He is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent next spring and needs a strong season to warrant consideration for a new deal. The Packers' payment of a $3 million roster bonus this offseason is a signal of the expectations being placed on Finley's vastly important 2013 season.
Matthew Mulligan (No. 85)
Mulligan was signed as a free agent to take the place of Tom Crabtree, who departed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A strong blocker, Mulligan can carve out a role in the Packers offense by proving that he can help aid an improving running game. His roster spot isn't guaranteed, however.
D.J. Williams (No. 84)
The former fifth-round pick is staring a make-or-break season square in the face. While he annually impresses in shorts and shells, Williams now needs to put it all together when the lights come on. He has just nine career catches in 26 NFL games. A poor month of August could pave the way for his departure.
Ryan Taylor (No. 82)
Taylor may never be an asset in the passing game, but it's doubtful the Packers expect him to be. He's on the roster for his ability to play special teams (seven tackles in 2012) and block for the running game. Those skills should make it likely that he sticks around another season.
Andrew Quarless (No. 81)
How the Packers tight end position ends up might just hinge on Quarless, who is finally recovered from a nightmare knee injury suffered in 2011. Before he went down, Quarless was developing into Green Bay's go-to blocking tight end. If he's all the way back, Quarless could certainly win the No. 2 tight end role behind Finley.
Brandon Bostick (No. 86)
A year spent on the Packers practice squad should give Bostick a real chance to win a spot on the 53-man roster in 2013. A former receiver with basketball history, Bostick is a potentially intriguing receiving option. He now needs to continue his development to win a spot.
Jake Stoneburner (No. 45)
Stoneburner figures to be one of the Packers' 2013 undrafted free agents that has a real opportunity to make the final roster. Over 23 collegiate starts, the former Ohio State tight end caught 13 scores. The practice squad is another possibility if Stoneburner can't make the jump right away.
Bryan Bulaga (No. 75)
The Packers are moving Bulaga, the team's best offensive tackle, from the right side to the left. The idea is that Bulaga's natural talent can better protect Aaron Rodgers' blindside, while several other players can handle the right tackle duties. How Bulaga handles the transition could be a defining point to Green Bay's season.
Marshall Newhouse (No. 74)
Newhouse has been stripped of his starting job at left tackle, but he'll be in the running to play on the right side. The worry now is that the finesse nature of Newhouse's game isn't a great fit for the strong side of the offensive line. He'll have plenty of competition for the job, but his ability to play both sides and experience on the blindside should ensure he sticks.
Derek Sherrod (No. 78)
Sherrod remains the great unknown of the Packers offensive line. In an ideal world, Sherrod would get to training camp healthy for the first time since 2011 and then win the right tackle job. But the Packers have been mostly quiet on Sherrod's status this offseason. If he's not healthy by the end of camp, Thompson might have a tough decision to make on the former first-round pick.
David Bakhtiari (No. 69)
The Packers fourth-round pick in April's draft appears to be headed towards a backup role as a rookie. He might get a shot to win time on the right side, but there's nothing wrong with keeping him on the bench and grooming him to be a left tackle.
Don Barclay (No. 67)
Barclay, who hasn't received enough credit for the job he did in an emergency situation to end last season, might just be the dark horse of the right tackle competition. He fits the profile of a tough, nasty player to anchor the right side. If Barclay can improve in the passing game, there's no reason why he can't win the starting job.
Andrew Datko (No. 77)
Datko fell in the 2012 NFL draft because of chronic shoulder issues, but those ailments appear to be in the past. He's now received work inside at guard, which gives him a more versatile game. However, the practice squad still seems to be his best chance to staying in Green Bay.
Josh Sitton (No. 71)
Like Bulaga, Sitton is moving to the offensive line's left side. He's been a stalwart for Green Bay at right guard since 2009 and was finally named a Pro Bowler in 2012. The Packers should now be able to run the football better when attacking the left side, and Rodgers should be more comfortable about backside protection.
T.J. Lang (No. 70)
Lang will move from right to left guard as a part of the Packers' offensive line shuffle. It shouldn't be a difficult transition for Lang, who has experience playing on the right side. He's a certain starter, but the Packers need him to be better in 2013 than he was last season.
Greg Van Roten (No. 64)
Van Roten figures to be an important backup for the Packers offensive line, much as new starting center Evan Dietrich-Smith has been in recent seasons. A strong camp will ensure he's a part of the final 53-man roster, especially after J.C. Tretter's offseason injury.
J.C. Tretter (No. 73)
It's very likely that Tretter, the Packers' fourth-round pick, will miss the 2013 season after suffering a serious lower leg injury during rookie camp. He would have pushed Van Roten for a backup job on the interior of the offensive had he avoided the injury. Now, a trip to injured reserve looks like the most likely scenario for his rookie season.
Lane Taylor (No. 65)
Taylor made 47 career starts at Oklahoma State, giving him the kind of high-level experience few have as an undrafted free agent. Considering Tretter's status, it's possible that a big camp could give Taylor a real chance at making the roster.
Kevin Hughes (No. 68)
Hughes has bounced around from St. Louis to San Diego after entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He has an uphill battle to stick, but the uncertainty at the end of the depth chart presents an opportunity for somebody to emerge.
Evan Dietrich-Smith (No. 62)
After serving as the offense's go-to backup on the interior of the line, Dietrich-Smith overtook Jeff Saturday as the starting center to end last season. His job should be secure, especially when looking down the depth chart. The Packers would be in trouble without him.
Garth Gerhart (No. 72)
Gerhart made 35 starts at Arizona State before landing with the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent in 2012. He spent time on the Packers practice squad to end last season. He'll compete to be Dietrich-Smith's backup with a number of inexperienced options.
Patrick Lewis (No. 60)
A 48-game starter at Texas A&M, Lewis enters the NFL after helping anchor an explosive offense in College Station last season. He has experience at both center and guard. The Packers might have to keep a backup like Lewis after Tretter's injury.
B.J. Raji (No. 90)
While a rare athlete for his size, Raji hasn't developed into a consistently dominant defensive lineman in the Packers three-man front. He flashes the first-round talent, but also disappears. In a contract year, both the Packers and Raji needed to see more consistency. More talent around him on the defensive line could help.
Datone Jones (No. 95)
The Packers haven't had a lengthy, playmaking defensive end like Jones since Cullen Jenkins left in free agency before the 2011 season. His collegiate experience playing in a 3-4 defensive should give Jones a chance to be an impact player right away. He could be a Week 1 starter with Raji and Ryan Pickett.
Mike Neal (No. 96)
Few on the Packers roster (outside Clay Matthews) possess as much natural pass-rushing talent as Neal, who has battled injuries and a 2012 suspension early in his career. The Packers are now giving the former second-round pick more defensive responsibility, including reps at outside linebacker. Neal figures to be an important part of the pass-rush package in 2013.
C.J. Wilson (No. 98)
A seven-game starter in 2012, Wilson likely enters this season on the roster bubble. He's a run-stuffer solely, and only an average one at that. His experience in the base defense gives him a legitimate chance to stick, but the Packers now have the depth at the position to do better.
Mike Daniels (No. 76)
As a sub-package rusher, Daniels was actually the Packers best rookie defensive lineman in 2012. His size will always limit his usage in the 3-4 defense, but he's effective as a rusher because of his off-the-ball quickness and motor. Daniels should be safe.
Jerel Worthy (No. 99)
Worthy remains on the comeback trail after surgery to repair his ACL. It's entirely possible he ends up on the PUP list to start the season, which would cost him at least the first six games. His injury was a stroke of bad luck, as Worthy was finally starting to look more comfortable in the three-man front late in 2012.
Josh Boyd (No. 93)
Boyd, a fifth-round pick from April, provides ideal length (6'3") and weight (315 pounds) to be a versatile piece on the defensive line. He needs to look like a contributor early on to guarantee a roster spot, but it would seem unlikely for the Packers to give up on the fifth-rounder so quick. Worst-case scenario, Boyd lands on the practice squad.
Johnny Jolly (No. 97)
Jolly is a great training camp story, having overcome a string of run-ins with the law and a brief jail stay to return to football. But at 30 years old and without any NFL experience since January of 2010, Jolly faces long odds. It certainly doesn't help that two rookies were added to the mix on the defensive line. He'll need an injury or an overwhelming camp to win a spot on the 53-man roster.
Ryan Pickett (No. 77)
He'll turn 34 years old in October, but Pickett remains the Packers best run-stuffing defensive lineman. There's little credit or fame in such a job, but who knows where the Packers defense would be without his contributions. The only worry with Pickett is a steep drop-off during his 13th NFL season.
Jordan Miller (No. 91)
The Packers promoted Miller from the practice squad in December, but he saw action in just one game. The additions of Datone Jones and Josh Boyd have really put a squeeze on his roster chances, and he'll now need to have a great camp to stick around for another season.
Gilbert Pena (No. 63)
At 6'2" and 330 pounds, Pena is a monster of a man who fits the profile of a 3-4 nose tackle. The Packers don't have many like him, so it's certainly possible that he could find a home on the practice squad during his first NFL season.
Clay Matthews (No. 52)
No player on the Packers defense provides more impact than Matthews, who has a team-high 42.5 sacks since the start of the 2009 season. Only a hamstring injury cost the former first-round pick from posting a new career high in sacks (he finished with 13.0 in 12 games). Now the highest-paid linebacker in football, Matthews' role on the Packers defense is secure.
Nick Perry (No. 53)
Perry may have more say on how the Packers defense ends up in 2013 than any returning player. Despite missing most of his rookie season with wrist and knee injuries, Perry still has the kind of size and speed to be a real force opposite Matthews. He now needs to get comfortable as a 3-4 outside linebacker. If he does, and stays healthy for 16 games, there's no reason why he can't post 8-10 sacks and be a big improvement against the run.
Dezman Moses (No. 54)
Filling in while both Perry and Matthews missed time last season, Moses tallied four sacks over six starts as a rookie. He's an above-average athlete who appears to have some natural pass-rushing skills. Another year working with Kevin Greene could help him take a big step, even as a backup.
Nate Palmer (No. 51)
The Packers will hope Palmer, a sixth-round pick from Illinois State, can spend the 2013 season learning the position on the bench. Any other outcome likely means that injury struck for either Matthews or Perry, or both. He's making the transition from college defensive end.
Andy Mulumba (No. 46)
Mulumba registered just 4.5 sacks over his final two collegiate seasons, so there's obviously room for growth in the pass-rushing department. However, the Packers will like his size (6'3", 260 lbs.) and upside. Landing on the practice squad seems like an ideal scenario.
Donte Savage (No. 94)
Savage blocked three kicks over his final three years, making it possible he could win over some supporters with his special teams play. Palmer seems like a good bet to win the second backup spot, but this is still an open competition for a roster spot.
A.J. Hawk (No. 50)
Hawk is an annual whipping boy for the fanbase, but he's still a starter for the Packers defense because of reliability (only two missed games over seven seasons) and consistency (80 or more tackles in each season). He lacks big plays and now comes out of the game in passing situations, but an NFL defense could do a lot worse than Hawk.
Brad Jones (No. 59)
The Packers re-signed Jones to a starter's level deal in March, which should have been the first sign that Desmond Bishop's place on the roster was in question. Now that Bishop is gone, Jones is the unquestioned starter. He faded somewhat down the stretch, but his contributions after making the switch inside were invaluable to Green Bay's late-season success.
Terrell Manning (No. 56)
One really has to wonder if Manning and his potential played a role in Green Bay letting Bishop go. The Packers did move up in the fifth round two Aprils ago to get him, and he's now completely healthy coming into camp. Likely a top backup to start 2013, Manning has the look of a starter down the road.
Rob Francois (No. 49)
Francois was retained in free agency, mostly as a special teams asset. His 13 special teams tackles were second on the team to only Jarrett Bush. In an emergency situation, Francois can hold his own inside.
Jamari Lattimore (No. 57)
Originally an outside linebacker, Lattimore has shifted inside. His contributions have also come on special teams, where he made seven tackles last season. To win a roster spot in 2013, he might have to beat out seventh-round rookie Sam Barrington.
Sam Barrington (No. 58)
Barrington reminds me of a more athletic and slightly bigger D.J. Smith, who the Packers released earlier this offseason. He also brings pass-rushing ability (6.5 career sacks at South Florida) to the table. He'll need to win a spot with a strong camp, however.
Jarvis Reed (No. 48)
You never want to count out any undrafted free agent in Packers training camp, but Reed looks to be fighting a losing battle. There's sound depth ahead of him, and it will take an impressive showing throughout August for Reed to jump the others at his position.
Tramon Williams (No. 38)
Now two years removed from suffering nerve damage in his shoulder, Williams could be a veteran with something to prove. The big plays have mostly evaporated from his game, and he sometimes gives half effort on tackle attempts. Don't count out a rebound season with all the youngsters breathing down his neck.
Casey Hayward (No. 29)
Second-round rookies are always expected to contribute, but few could have envisioned the impact Hayward provided in his first year. His six interceptions led the team, and he all but mastered covering the slot. Hayward's responsibilities will rightfully expand in Year 2.
Sam Shields (No. 37)
There's an argument to be made that Shields was one of the two or three best cornerbacks to finish last season. He hasn't received his long-term extension yet, but another season like 2012 will keep Shields in the Packers' plans long term.
Davon House (No. 31)
A shoulder injury robbed House of the opportunity to make good on his promising training camp. With health returning to the shoulder, he'll get another shot to make a big impression. House is the kind of the long, pressing corner Dom Capers loves.
Micah Hyde (No. 33)
Hyde enters a crowded group of cornerbacks, but he's an instinctive player who figures to see action on special teams as a rookie. He might even get a crack as a returner. Eventually, he could replace the next player on this list.
Jarrett Bush (No. 24)
Bush led the Packers and finished eighth in the NFL in special teams tackles with 15. He's been a special teams captain in each of the last three playoff runs, so his spot should be mostly secure. His ability to help at safety is an added plus, too.
James Nixon (No. 25)
Nixon, 25, spent the majority of last season on the Packers practice squad. His return experience is enticing, but there's too much cornerback depth to get too excited about his chances of making the final roster.
Loyce Means (No. 35)
Means was last seen in the CFL during the 2011 season. He also has experience returning punts and kicks, but a year out of football makes him unlikely to get a sniff of the 53-man roster.
Brandon Smith (No. 34)
Smith, a former receiver, bounced around a few teams after going undrafted in 2011, but spent 2012 out of football. While he has nice size at 6'1" and 210 pounds, he needs to be a quick study at cornerback to have a real chance.
Morgan Burnett (No. 42)
The Packers rewarded Burnett's reliability and consistency with a four-year extension that will keep the safety in Green Bay through 2017. He has appeared in 35 straight games (including playoffs), and led the Packers in tackles in 2012. He needs to make more impact plays, however, to enter the top realm of NFL safeties.
Jerron McMillian (No. 22)
Dom Capers must love McMillian's energy, size and toughness. However, his mental lapses in the passing game limited how often he was used as a rookie. In Year 2, you'd expect those mistakes to decrease. If they do, McMillian could win the starting job alongside Burnett.
M.D. Jennings (No. 43)
Jennings split snaps with McMillian in 2012, mostly playing on passing downs. He's a rangy safety against the pass, but his size makes him a liability in stopping the run. In an ideal world, Jennings is the top backup for both McMillian and Burnett.
Sean Richardson (No. 28)
A severe neck injury has put Richardson's career in Green Bay on the ropes. He needs to be back for camp to win a roster spot for the second-straight season, even with the Packers lack of depth at safety.
Chaz Powell (No. 42)
Powell was signed to the team's practice squad in December of last year. At Penn State, the 25-year-old played receiver, cornerback and returned kicks. Might that versatility give him a chance to stick?
David Fulton (No. 40)
Signed out of tiny Chowan University (N.C.), Fulton would appear to have a long road to winning a roster spot. He intercepted six passes over 34 collegiate games.
Mason Crosby (No. 2)
No kicker with at least 15 attempts had a worse kicking percentage than Crosby's 63.6 in 2012. Seven of his 12 misses came from 50 or more yards, but Crosby needs to be much better all-around (five misses from 30-49 yards). He finally has competition in camp.
Tim Masthay (No. 8)
Only 24 of Masthay's 70 punts in 2012 were returned, which displayed his improved ability to situationally kick. His 43.5-yard average wasn't great on paper, but he was an asset for the Packers for most of last season. There's a reason he's the only punter in camp.
Giorgio Tavecchio (No. 7)
Tavecchio, an undrafted free agent, spent the 2012 preseason with the San Francisco 49ers. He was unable to beat out David Akers for the job. Can he now unseat Crosby in Green Bay? He represents the first competition Crosby has had in camp since his rookie season.
Brett Goode (No. 61)
It's very rare that you ever hear Goode's name, which is the ultimate compliment for a long snapper. His spot is secure.