Predicting the Green Bay Packers' 53-Man Roster and Practice Squad

Matt SmithContributor IIIAugust 29, 2011

Predicting the Green Bay Packers' 53-Man Roster and Practice Squad

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    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.

    As previously mentioned, the teams make their final cuts by September 3rd. The Packers open the season vs. the Saints a few days later on September 8th. 

    With so many players fighting for the last few roster spots, who'll make the cut?

Quarterbacks

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    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. 

Running Backs

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    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.

Fullbacks

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    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.

Wide Receivers

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    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.

Tight Ends

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    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.

Tackles

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    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.

Interior Linemen

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    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.

Defensive Line

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    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.

Outside Linebackers

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    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.

Middle Linebackers

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    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. 

Cornerbacks

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    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. 

Safeties

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    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.

Special Teams

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    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

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    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

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    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.