Building a Champion: The Green Bay Packers Final 53, Part One
The Packers have been flying through the preseason and are especially high coming off a 59-24 rout of last year's AFC champions. Contributions are coming from everywhere: some expected, some not. With so many players making plays, Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson have a tall order on their hands deciding who will make the final 53.
Obviously, McCarthy and Thompson have a much better idea of a players' ability than someone on the outside looking in. But still, it's fun to speculate.
So without further ado, here is my prediction of what the Packers' opening day roster will look like.
Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn
Having three quarterbacks on the roster used to be a given in the NFL. But lately, more and more teams are keeping only two, opening up a spot for the skill position players. While I love Graham Harrell, keeping three quarterbacks on the roster seems to be a waste of space. Harrell will make the practice squad this year leaving him available to be called up if the unthinkable happens.
Halfback: Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson, Kregg Lumpkin
Last year, we saw preseason standout Tyrell Sutton get sent to the Panthers to the tune of DeShawn Wynn. While James Starks has a lot of potential, Lumpkin has done too much this offseason to get cut. Look to see Starks on the practice squad this year.
Fullback: John Kuhn, Quinn Johnson
John Kuhn is the perfect fullback for McCarthy, he's a great blocker, great pass catcher, and great power runner. Kuhn is a lock for the roster and the starter. Three fullbacks on the roster seems also like a waste of space. While Korey Hall is a great fullback, Quinn Johnson is the best pure blocker on the team and should get the nod. The only thing that might hinder Johnson is pass catching ability.
Tight end: JerMichael Finley, Donald Lee, Spencer Havner, Andrew Quarless
The tight end position has evolved immensely in the past decade and keeping four on the roster will prove that. Finley is a beast and will be a top three tight end this year so he's a lock. Donald Lee has had a solid camp and should make the roster for his blocking ability. Havner is probably the most versatile player on the Packers' roster, playing wonderfully on offense, defense, and special teams. Quarless is a Finley clone and will just add another great target for Aaron Rodgers.
Wide Receiver: Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones, Jordy Nelson
There is a massive logjam for the fifth wideout on the Packers' roster, but I believe the best route for MM and TT to take would be to only keep four. The reason being is because of the depth at tight end. I know McCarthy loves his five wideout spread offense, but Quarless, Havner, or Finley could easily fill that fifth spot.
Offensive line and Defense coming soon...
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