Predicting the Green Bay Packers' 53-Man Roster and Practice Squad
Final cuts are less than two weeks away, as teams must shave their rosters down to the final 53 men on September 3rd.
Among the players hoping to make each team's rosters are undrafted free agents, young, promising players and savvy veterans.
On August 30th, the teams must make their first steps in narrowing down the roster by slimming the rosters down to 80 players.
With so many players fighting for the last few roster spots, who'll make the cut?
QB1: Aaron Rodgers
QB2: Matt Flynn
QB3: Graham Harrell
Do I really even need to address what Rodgers will do?
The Packers will likely keep QB Graham Harrell possibly with the idea that Flynn could be traded before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2012.
Harrell has shown improvement and seems like he can handle the prestigious title "Backup of the Future" if Flynn leaves.
RB1: James Starks
RB2: Ryan Grant
RB3/3DB: Alex Green
Simply put, Starks has been more impressive than Grant. Starks should be the Week 1 starter.
On the other hand, the Packers really like third-rounder Alex Green, and it appears as if he could be the third down back coming out of pass-heavy Hawaii.
FB1: John Kuhn
The defending Super Bowl champs re-signed folk hero John Kuhn to a three-year, $7.5 million contract.
Kuhn, interestingly enough, could become the third-down back.
Quinn Johnson reported overweight to camp but could make the roster due to his bone-crushing blocks.
WR1: Greg Jennings
WR2: Donald Driver
WR3: Jordy Nelson
WR4: James Jones
WR5: Randall Cobb
Jennings is the obvious No.1 receiver here.
The WR2, WR3 and WR4 spots are all mere technicalities, Driver will be the slot receiver with Jones and Nelson splitting time opposite Jennings.
Cobb can be a backup slot receiver/return man. It's tempting to put six receivers on the roster though.
TE1: Jermichael Finley
TE2: D.J. Williams
TE3: Ryan Taylor
TE4: Andrew Quarless
TE5: Tom Crabtree
The odd-man-out here is Spencer Havner, as he just won't fit in the Packers' loaded tight end unit.
Finley is the clear-cut superstar, and Crabtree will be the fifth TE for blocking purposes.
For the depth chart, Williams and Quarless are both solid receivers and should see time.
Taylor is a utility man and seeing that he played H-back in college, he could serve as an emergency fullback, thus making Quinn Johnson (see Fullbacks) expendable.
LT1: Chad Clifton
LT2: Marshall Newhouse
RT1: Bryan Bulaga
RT2: Derek Sherrod
Chad Clifton and Bryan Bulaga, last year's starters, return as this year's starters.
Newhouse has looked pretty good at left tackle during training camp. Ted Thompson must be happy, as he took Newhouse in the fifth round last year.
Bulaga, last year's first-round pick, is again the starter.
Sherrod could be a backup at both tackle and left guard.
LG1: T.J. Lang
RG1: Josh Sitton
C1: Scott Wells
C2: Nick McDonald
G2: Caleb Schlauderaff
Here's where things get complicated.
Sitton and Wells are returning starters, while Lang replaces Daryn Colledge.
Sixth-round pick Caleb Schlauderaff has done enough to make the team and should back up the right guard position with Derek Sherrod backing up Lang.
It seems as if the Packers are going to decide between Evan Dietrich-Smith and McDonald at center.
Dietrich-Smith has been more impressive, but McCarthy likes McDonalds build and ability to play guard.
NT1: B.J. Raji
NT2: Howard Green
DE1: Mike Neal
DE2: C.J. Wilson
DE3: Jarius Wynn
DL: Ryan Pickett
Raji is the obvious superstar here and will be backed up at nose tackle by Howard Green. Raji may shift to defensive end sometimes while either Green or Pickett handle the NT job.
Neal, once healthy, will be a starter at defensive end. Either Wilson or Pickett will claim the other starting end position.
Wynn seems to have beaten out Lawrence Guy, a seventh-round pick who may be headed for the practice squad if they deem him developmental.
OLB1: Clay Matthews
OLB2: Erik Walden
OLB3: Brad Jones
OLB4: Vic So'oto
Quite obviously, Matthews will be the starter on the left side. With the Frank Zombo injury, Walden is locked in to the right side.
Jones will back up both sides and take over in case of injury.
So'oto, an undrafted rookie, is my wild card to turn up the heat in the final preseason game, thus convincing the Packers organization to place Zombo on season-ending IR. The other option was to carry Zombo as dead weight.
MLB1: Desmond Bishop
MLB2: A.J. Hawk
MLB3: D.J. Smith
MLB4: Robert Francois
Bishop was a sixth-round pick in the 2007 NFL draft but don't be surprised if he puts up Patrick Willis-type numbers this season.
Hawk will be the leader of the linebacker unit.
Though many overlooked Smith's 525 tackles in college, Ted Thompson didn't, and the former Appalachian State LB has been impressive.
Francois should make his impact on special teams.
CB1: Charles Woodson
CB2: Tramon Williams
CB3: Sam Shields
CB4: Jarrett Bush
CB5: Davon House
CB6: Pat Lee
Woodson and Williams, both Pro Bowl players, will be the starters for what should be an excellent Green Bay secondary.
Shields, a former undrafted rookie, is going to be the nickel back. Bush should then become the No. 4 corner and is a stellar special teamer.
Fourth-round pick Davon House looks to make the roster and should be locked in at No. 5 because of the amount of talent the Packers have.
The last spot is a three-way battle between Lee, Josh Gordy and Brandon Underwood.
Underwood's legal troubles may prove to be too much to keep. Lee, albeit underwhelming, has been kept on to in hopes of him developing. Josh Gordy has been more impressive, but his injury comes at a bad time.
FS1: Nick Collins
FS2: Anthony Levine
SS1: Morgan Burnett
SS2: Charlie Peprah
Collins, a Pro Bowler and one of the premier safeties in the league, returns as the starter at free safety.
Second-year pro Morgan Burnett will handle the strong safety duties.
Peprah, who took over for Burnett last year after Burnett was injured, will back up Burnett and is a solid option if either of the safeties gets hurt.
Levine will win the fourth and final safety spot after duking it out with undrafted rookie M.D. Jennings, who is making his own case for a roster spot.
K: Mason Crosby
P: Tim Masthay
LS: Brett Goode
There shouldn't be many surprises here.
Crosby was recently re-signed as a free agent, Masthay is an underrated punter, and the Packers signed Goode to an extension back in January.
Practice Squad, Part One
Brandon Saine, RB
Ray Dominguez, OL
Tori Gurley, WR
Josh Gordy, CB
Saine flashed ability as a third-down back but is unlikely to crack the roster. He's promising enough to be headed to the practice squad.
Dominguez is a developmental guard who may get a shot here.
The saving grace for Gurley is his special teams ability, as his two blocked punts in practices might be enough to either get him a roster spot or send him to the practice squad.
If he doesn't make the roster as the sixth cornerback, Gordy barely meets the requirements to be a practice squad member. We'll see if he clears waivers.
Practice Squad, Part Two
Jamari Lattimore, OLB
Lawrence Guy, DT
Cardia Jackson, MLB
M.D. Jennings, S
Lattimore is a great candidate to make the practice squad if he doesn't beat out Vic So'oto, Brad Jones and Frank Zombo for a roster spot. It gives him the opportunity to add weight and be better prepared for next year.
A seventh-round pick, Guy has size, and Green Bay may not want to get rid of him so quickly after spending that pick on him.
Cardia Jackson spent part of last season on the practice squad and has been impressive in camp so far. If he can make the plays in an actual game, that would ensure him some sort of spot.
The fifth undrafted free agent on here, Jennings is likely the odd man out at safety. Like Lattimore, Jennings needs to bulk up and prepare to compete next season.