The final 53 members of the 2011 Green Bay Packers roster has been set, and per usual, there were many moves that were expected, and many that were a surprise, as well.
While some positions have questions surrounding them, others appear to be set, but of course, injuries or other setbacks could change this dramatically throughout the course of the season.
In this article, I will grade the Packers' final 53 roster by position and how strong or weak they appear to be going into Thursday's opener against New Orleans.
Made the Roster: Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn
Cut: Graham Harrell (practice squad)
Analysis: Obviously, any quarterback depth chart deserves an 'A' when Aaron Rodgers is on it. Matt Flynn proved himself to be a very reliable starter in his start against the Patriots last year, and in the preseason this year.
The only surprise here is that Harrell didn't make the roster, as he had a solid preseason and seems to be a player the Packers want to develop as a future backup to Rodgers if Flynn were to move on in free agency.
Made the Roster: Ryan Grant, James Starks, Alex Green, John Kuhn
Cut: Brandon Saine (practice squad), Dmitri Nance, Jon Hoese, Quinn Johnson (traded)
Analysis: The running back position has many question marks, but its potential could be great. It is hard to know how Grant, Starks and Green will perform, as Grant is coming fresh off an injury, and Starks and Green are both young players who have great potential, but we haven't seen them play a full 16-game season yet.
Grant and Starks could prove to be a great runningback tandem, as long as both perform to their potential. But even if one performs, well but the other doesn't, the Packers running game will still be an improvement on last year.
Made the Roster: Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Shaky Smithson (IR)
Cut: Tori Gurley (practice squad), Chastin West (practice squad), Diondre Borel (practice squad), Antonio Robinson, Kerry Taylor, Brett Swain
Analysis: Many of the receivers that were cut were clearly on the bubble going into roster cuts, but due to the depth of the the receiving corps, the Packers were forced to send many of them to the practice squad.
Despite this, the Packers receiving corps is perhaps the best in the league, and the fact that Tori Gurley and Chastin West were cut illustrates this, as they would have likely made the 53-man roster of any other team with a weaker receiving corps.
Made the Roster: Jermichael Finley, Tom Crabtree, Andrew Quarless, Ryan Taylor, D.J. Williams
Cut: Spencer Havner
Analysis: The tight end position adds to the depth of receivers that the Packers have, as Finley, Quarless, Taylor and Williams are all receiving threats, as well. But what is most interesting about this tight end corps is the diversity it has.
Finley and Quarless are primarily receivers, while Crabtree's specialty is blocking, and Ryan Taylor seems to be a natural fit for special teams. All five of these players add even more versatility to the Packers' offense that is sure to make them a challenge for defenses.
Made the Roster: Chad Clifton, Bryan Bulaga, Josh Sitton, Scott Wells, Derek Sherrod, T.J. Lang, Evan Deitrich-Smith, Marshall Newhouse
Cut: Ray Dominguez (practice squad), Sampson Genus (practice squad), Caleb Schlauderaff (traded), Nick McDonald
Analysis: The offensive line might be the biggest weakness of the Packers coming out of training camp. The fact that they only kept eight linemen is certainly a cause for concern. While the line has solid starters in Clifton, Bulaga and Sitton, the depth needs to be greatly improved on, as Deitrich-Smith, Newhouse and even first-round pick Derek Sherrod had a difficult camp.
The Packers need to bring in more linemen to add depth, or else, they better be hoping that none of their starters go down with an injury.
Made the Roster: Ryan Pickett, B.J. Raji, Howard Green, Jarius Wynn, Mike Neal, C.J. Wilson, Lawrence Guy (IR)
Cut: Chris Donaldson, Eli Joseph, Jay Ross
Analysis: The loss of Cullen Jenkins in the offseason definitely leaves a minor question mark for the defensive line, but overall, it appears to be a solid group. However, much of the line's success may be hinged on Mike Neal, who is expected to be Jenkins' replacement, but because of injuries, he hasn't had much of a chance to prove himself.
Made the Roster: Clay Matthews, Desmond Bishop, A.J. Hawk, Erik Walden, Frank Zombo, D.J. Smith, Vic So'oto, Jamari Lattimore, Brad Jones, Robert Francois
Cut: Elijah Joseph, Ricky Elmore
Analysis: The linebacking corps in the preseason was so deep that the Packers kept a staggering 10 linebackers on the roster. Matthews, Bishop and Hawk are very reliable starters, with Walden, Zombo and Jones being veteran players who have shown potential in the past, and Smith, So'oto and Lattimore being rookies who proved themselves worthy of making the 53-man roster.
It is unclear how many of these linebackers will actually see an extended amount of playing time, but it seems that the Packers appear set at the linebacking position for 2011.
Made the Roster: Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Davon House, Pat Lee, Jarrett Bush
Cut: Brandian Ross (practice squad), Josh Gordy, Brandon Underwood
Analysis: Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and Sam Shields help make up perhaps the best starting cornerback tandem in the league. However, the backups are either unproven or have struggled in the past.
House is a rookie who didn't see a lot of time on the field due to injuries, while Lee and Bush have both struggled on defense throughout their tenure in Green Bay. However, Bush has shown a knack for special teams, whereas Lee has shown flashes of great play, from last Feburary in the Super Bowl to the final preseason game in Kansas City, where he had a great game despite a difficult training camp.
If Woodson, Williams or Shields were to go down, the Packers may struggle in the secondary with unproven depth.
Made the Roster: Nick Collins, Morgan Burnett, Charlie Peprah, M.D. Jennings
Cut: Anthony Levine, Anthony Bratton
Analysis: Nick Collins may be the most talented safety in the league, despite the fact he is very underrated. Morgan Burnett hasn't had a lot of playing time due to a season-ending injury early last year, but he has shown tremendous potential during his playing time.
When Burnett was out last year, Peprah stepped up and performed at a very high level, proving himself a more than viable backup. In addition, M.D. Jennings was one of the more impressive undrafted rookies of the preseason, setting up what should be a quite deep safety position.
Made the Roster: Mason Crosby, Tim Masthay
Cut: No one.
Analysis: Mason Crosby's numbers as a kicker aren't necessarily stellar, but he has proven to be a reliable, consistent kicker for the Packers. This was demonstrated on Week 3 of the preseason, where he kicked a 50-yard game-winning field goal against the Colts.
Punter Tim Masthay has also proven to be a very reliable punter after having a very strong rookie season and an even more impressive preseason camp. The Packers are certainly better off at special teams than they were a few years ago, and much of this is due to Crosby and Masthay.