It’s the time of year every NFL general manager seems to dread. Selecting your final 53 man roster to bein the regular season.
Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson has arguably the toughest job in the league with perhaps the deepest team in the NFL. It’s tough to predict what is going through the mind of the mysterious Packers GM, but I’ll give it my best shot.
Quarterback -3: Rodgers, Flynn, Harrell
I think you have to keep Graham Harrell around. The trade speculation around Flynn doesn’t want to go away and the more time he spends learning from McCarthy, the better. He showed promise against the Colts. I’d be willing to bet this time next year Flynn is elsewhere and Harrell is the number two with a rookie on the practice squad.
Running Back -5: Grant, Starks, Green, Kuhn, Johnson
Pretty easy to see here. The only question remaining is which order Ryan Grant and James Starks are in on the depth chart against the Saints. It will start as a shared load but who knows what else will happen as the season unfolds.
Wide Receiver -6: Jennings, Driver, Nelson, Jones, Cobb, West
West locked in his spot after his display of talent against the Cardinals. Tori Gurley will definitely get some looks from other teams. After seeing both in practice personally, I knew it would be a tough call for Ted Thompson to make. This remains the deepest position for the Packers and they go with six instead of five to enable McCarthy to use even more multiple packages.
Tight End -4: Finley, Crabtree, Quarless, Williams
Speaking of tough decisions, it was obvious the Packers were not going to hang onto five tight ends to start the season. Finley was the only lock and the other spots were up for grabs. Crabtree has proven his worth in blocking and on special teams and Quarless showed flashes in the passing game last year. The final spot then comes down to DJ Williams and Ryan Taylor. Much was said about Williams after the draft and Thompson sticks to his initial convictions and Taylor is gone.
Offensive Line -9: Wells, Sitton, Clifton, Bulaga, Lang, Newhouse, Sherrod, Smith, McDonald
Besides the starting five, there is a serious lack of depth here. Sherrod is a work in progress and Newhouse is still raw despite showing promise throughout camp and the preseason. Dominguez is the odd man out despite his solid preseason. The Packers may need to add a free agent here midseason should a catastrophic injury occur to a starter. Mark Tauscher anyone?
Defensive Line – 6: Raji, Pickett, Neal, Green, Wynn, Wilson
This order seemed set from the beginning of training camp. Neal’s starting to earn a label as an injury risk, but there was really no one else is camp that threatened to steal a roster spot.
Linebacker – 8: Matthews, Hawk, Bishop, Walden, Francois, Smith, Zombo, So’oto
Zombo’s injury aside, this group basically remains intact from the end of last season save So’oto. He barely beats out Cardia Jackson for a roster spot that was previously held by Nick Barnett.
Defensive Back – 9: Woodson, Williams, Shields, Bush, House, Collins, Burnett, Peprah, Underwood
All I’m going to say is Pat Lee blew it. His rough preseason did him in and he has had his chances. He may be tough to replace on special teams, but with depth an issue at this position the Packers couldn’t afford for him to be a potential liability
Specialist -3: Crosby, Masthay, Goode
No challenges for any of the three in camp.——————
Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke