In order to make room for more draft choices that are in the process of signing their first contracts, the Green Bay Packers waived three undrafted rookies on Thursday.
Local boy and punter Ken DeBauche was released along with linebacker Marcus Riley and cornerback Kyle Ward.
"The new firm 80-man roster limit made it difficult for teams to keep more than one specialist for training camp," writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "The Packers will go into training camp with only one kicker (Mason Crosby) and one punter (Jon Ryan). DeBauche would have been a long shot to beat out Ryan, but the Packers did like his leg strength and probably would have kept him if not for the new roster rules."
It's a shame that the NFL did not allow roster expansion this year in the wake of the dissolution of NFL Europe. The roster limit has been at 80 players for some time, but an exemption given to those players on NFL Europe rosters gave teams some breathing room.
With only one kicker and one punter in camp, there may be problem of over-using their kicking legs. With competition at the punting position during training camp, even if DeBauche flopped, it at least would have taken some stress off of each other's legs.
The fact that, as of right now, the Packers have still kept two long snapping specialists on their roster in J.J. Jansen and Thomas Gafford show just how close that competition is for that roster spot.
The release of Riley came as a surprise. He looked to have some potential as an outside linebacker. Of course, most of the impression he left is only of a single play in college where he nearly decapitated Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan. Ward's release was not nearly as surprising given the depth the Packers have at cornerback.