Projected Green Bay Packers Final 53-Man Roster, Training Camp Edition
As it has come to be expected, the Packers have constructed another deep, talent-heavy roster ahead of this coming season. Thompson added 11 total draft picks in April, while also continuing an annual tradition of accepting a number of undrafted free agents.
Thompson's job now is to use training camp practices and preseason games to sort out who his best 53 are.
In the following slides, we'll attempt to predict which 53 players will survive's Thompson evaluation in training camp.
Keep: Aaron Rodgers, B.J. Coleman (Two)
Cut: Graham Harrell, Matt Brown (practice squad)
Analysis: Rodgers is an obvious selection and needs no explanation. However, Coleman gets the nod as the backup based on superior physical talent and the experience of an entire season in Mike McCarthy's offense. The former seventh-round pick could be ready.
With a weak arm and limited mobility, Harrell has little room for significant development. Coleman can become a trusted backup—much like Matt Flynn was able to do—as the game continues to slow down for him.
Keep: Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin, DuJuan Harris, Alex Green, John Kuhn (Five)
Cut: James Starks, Angelo Pease
Analysis: Lacy and Franklin are locks, and Harris showed enough to end last season to warrant a much longer look. The three should carry the majority of the load next season. The Packers don't have a replacement option for John Kuhn (even if 2013 might be his last season), so he sticks.
Considering how young the three keepers are ahead of him, Green—now nearly two years removed from ACL surgery—returns as the veteran of the group. The former third-round pick should have no more lingering problems with the knee.
Keep: Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin, Charles Johnson (Five)
Cut: Jeremy Ross, Kevin Dorsey (practice squad), Myles White (practice squad), Tyrone Walker, Alex Gillett, Sederrick Cunningham, Terrell Sinkfield
Analysis: Nelson, Jones and Cobb return as the top three receivers. Boykin, a surprise of last year's preseason, should have the inside track to No. 4 slot, while Johnson has the kind of field-stretching measurables that would be enticing as the little used No. 5.
Dorsey and White can be stashed on the practice squad, as the Packers like to do with the receiver position. Ross is the difficult cut here, but is he anything more than a returner? He would need to take the return duties and run with them this preseason to be worthy of a roster spot.
Keep: Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless, Ryan Taylor, Matthew Mulligan, Brandon Bostick (Five)
Cut: D.J. Williams, Jake Stoneburner (practice squad)
Analysis: Finley returns as the unquestioned starter, and Ryan Taylor should stick given his contributions on special teams. From there, a number of different scenarios could unfold.
Quarless is still the great unknown, as he's returning from a year-and-a-half absence following knee surgery. If he's 100 percent healthy, he could resume his role as the team's go-to inline blocker.
Mulligan can fill the hole left by Tom Crabtree as the gritty, dirty-work tight end. With his basketball and receiver background, Bostick might be ready to surprise in his second year. He's worth a look. Releasing Williams will be the shocker here, but he's had ample opportunity to prove he brings something tangible to the table.
Keep: Bryan Bulaga, Don Barclay, Marshall Newhouse, Derek Sherrod, David Bakhtiari (Five)
Cut: Andrew Datko
Analysis: For whatever reason, I remain optimistic that Sherrod (broken leg) will be healthy at some point in 2013. The Packers might give up on him if he isn't, but we'll stick with a recovery for Sherrod in this scenario.
Bulaga is penciled in as a starter at left tackle, and Barclay is a dark-horse candidate to start opposite him. The former undrafted free agent surprised as an emergency fill-in late last season and can also slide inside. Newhouse simply has too much experience on the left side to be cut, and Bakhtiari isn't going anywhere as a fourth-round pick. Datko is the odd man out.
Interior Offensive Linemen
Keep: Josh Sitton, Evan Dietrich-Smith, T.J. Lang, Greg Van Roten (Four)
Injured Reserve: J.C. Tretter
Cut: Kevin Hughes, Lane Taylor, Patrick Lewis (practice squad), Garth Gerhart
Analysis: Sitton, Dietrich-Smith and Lang (from left to right) will start on the interior. Tretter, a fourth-round pick in April, suffered a lower-leg injury during rookie camp and is a likely candidate for injured reserve.
While having just one backup on the inside will be a risk, Van Roten is an up-and-comer who can fill Dietrich-Smith's old role as a super sub. The Packers can stash Lewis in case any big problems come up at center.
Keep: B.J. Raji, Datone Jones, Ryan Pickett, Mike Neal, Mike Daniels, Josh Boyd (Six)
PUP: Jerel Worthy
Cut: C.J. Wilson, Gilbert Pena (practice squad), Johnny Jolly, Jordan Miller
Analysis: Raji, Jones, Pickett, Neal and Daniels look like locks, while Worthy (ACL surgery) is likely headed to the PUP list to start the season. From there, the Packers will have to decide if Boyd, a fifth-rounder, is worth keeping over the likes of Wilson and Jolly. Wilson is one-dimensional, and who knows what kind of player Jolly is at this stage. We'll give the draft pick the benefit of the doubt.
Keep: Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Dezman Moses, Nate Palmer (Four)
Cut: Andy Mulumba (practice squad), Donte Savage
Analysis: If healthy, Matthews and Perry will be the unquestioned starters at outside linebacker. Moses showed enough as a primary backup last season to think he's a very good bet to make the team again. The Packers would be rolling the dice by keeping only three outside linebackers, so Palmer gets the nod as the fourth edge-rusher over the two undrafted free agents.
Keep: A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones, Terrell Manning, Rob Francois, Sam Barrington (Five)
Cut: Jamari Lattimore, Jarvis Reed
Analysis: Hawk and Jones both make starter's money, so expect the two to anchor the inside of the base defense. Manning is a sleeper candidate to break out in 2013, while Francois will stick around because of his special teams ability (13 tackles in 2012). Barrington, an athletic seventh-rounder who reminds of a bigger D.J. Smith, edges out Lattimore as the fifth inside linebacker.
Keep: Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward, Sam Shields, Davon House, Jarrett Bush, Micah Hyde (Six)
Cut: Loyce Means, James Nixon, Brandon Smith
Analysis: Williams, Hayward, Shields and House represent arguably the best top-four cornerbacks in the NFL. In some order, they'll make up the top of the cornerback depth chart.
Bush has been a special teams captain in Green Bay for a number of years, which would make him a difficult cut. He can also play some safety. Hyde appears to be cut from the Bush mold, and he should contribute on special teams as a rookie.
Keep: Morgan Burnett, Jerron McMillian, M.D. Jennings (Three)
Cut: Sean Richardson, David Fulton, Chaz Powell (practice squad)
Analysis: Keeping three safeties would be unorthodox, but it helps that both Bush and Hyde have experience playing the position. Some combination of Burnett and McMillian or Jennings will be the starters. Richardson, who stuck on the roster last season as a backup, has recently dealt with a serious neck injury and is now in jeopardy of making the team in 2013.
Keep: Mason Crosby, Tim Masthay, Brett Goode (Three)
Cut: Giorgio Tavecchio
Analysis: For as tempting as it would be to pick Tavecchio, it's very difficult to see Crosby losing the Packers kicking job. Something tells me that a little competition in camp will be good for him. Masthay and Goode are locks as the other specialists.
Last 5 In, Last 5 out
Last Five In: Josh Boyd, Alex Green, Jarrett Bush, Derek Sherrod, Brandon Bostick
Last Five Out: Jamari Lattimore, C.J. Wilson, Lane Taylor, D.J. Williams, Jeremy Ross