A Way-Too-Early Packers 53-man Roster and Depth Chart Prediction

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Here’s my way-too-early Packers 53-man roster prediction and depth chart. It’s presented without comment because I’d rather see what all of you have to say about it in the comments section.

(And spare the “it’s way too early to be talking about this” comments). I know it’s way too early. Hence the title. In my opinion, this topic is much better than rehashing the same old stories that come out of OTAs every year.)

QB
Rodgers
Harrell
Coleman

RB
Starks
Saine
Green

FB
Kuhn

TE
Finley
Taylor
Crabtree
Williams

WR
Jennings
Nelson
Jones
Cobb
Driver
Gurley

LT
Newhouse
Sherrod

LG
Lang
Dietrich-Smith

C
Saturday
Genus

RG
Sitton

RT
Bulaga
Datko

D-line
Raji
Pickett
Worthy
Wilson
Daniels
Guy

OLB
Matthews
Perry
Walden
So’oto

ILB
Bishop
Hawk
Smith
Jones

CB
Williams
Woodson
Shields
Hayward
House

S
Burnett
McMillian
Peprah
Bush
Jennings

P
Masthay

K
Crosby

LS
Goode

Does not count against 53-man roster:

Physically Unable to Perform
Quarless

Suspended
Neal
Hargrove

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam\\\'s writing on the Packers here.

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  • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

    Quick comments:

    Packers to carry 3 QBs on the roster? That would be a change in direction.

    No Terrell Manning? I think he wins a job as a guy that can play multiple LB positions and excel on special teams.

    Which two DL go when Neal and Hargrove come back?

    • Oppy

      My first thought was Terrell Manning is going to stick. I keep on hearing various football players and scouts saying “I really like this kid”.

  • JimR_in_DC

    Pretty good first stab at the roster, Adam. I figure Coleman is slated for the practice squad.

  • http://uk-packer-backers.co.uk/ Dan

    Hi Adam,

    Mike McCarthy’s record suggests that Coleman is likely to start on the practice squad.
    I find it very hard to imagine fifth round draft pick Terrell Manning not getting a place on the roster, especially with his ability to contribute on special teams.
    I also find it hard to believe Jarrett Bush will take a roster place as a safety, I do however expect him to return as a special teams leader and backup cornerback.

  • FireMMNow

    I agree with the guys above that coleman will be slated for the PS.

    I think dominguez would take that spot.

    When Neal and Hargrove come back, and they are both going to make the roster (Neal will have to prove that he is better than last year to make the roster) i think one of the safeties would be released and/or wilson.

    i think they will keep a pretty deep DL rotation. Also we would be assuming that no one on the DL gets injured before week 8 which would be somewhat surprising.

    I do not think the packers will keep 6 WRs. if Gurley proves that he is ready to play a role on special teams and contribute to the offense I think DD will be cut. There just simply will not be enough snaps for him to justify keeping. sad i know, but on a team loaded with talent there will always be casualties.

  • FireMMNow

    oh yeah, and manning will make the roster over jones. jones is not a natural ILB and will not have an easy time competing at that spot with the other guys. if he does not make the team as an OLB he is gone.

  • FireMMNow

    also, do not forget about merling. he is a talented guy that will compete for a spot. i could see the pack finding a way to keep 7 or 8 DL this year.

    • Schmidty

      Id rather have Merling and Muir than Wilson and Wynn, Guy better really impress if he’s going to take a spot over Muir and Merling. Other than the DL and QB its spot on. I hope The more athletic Jennings starts at safety over the slow footed Peprah. We saw how much Collins speed was able to hide Pep’s limitations. MD Jennings 2012!

      • Schmidty

        ALthough not healthy I think we can all agree that Zombo and Jones are better options than the invisible man Walden. He won the spot due to injuries last year and was a street free agent until injuries in 2010. Jones or Zombo (hell, even Lattimore cant be as ineefective) over Walden at OLB and Manning will be the 4th ILB. I never want to see Walden on the field again cause if he is that means everybody else is hurt. Did you know that in 9 games played in 2011 Hargrove had more sacks and QB presures than the ENTIRE GB DL had over the corse of 16 games!?!? Thanks for finally acknowledging the weakness Ted!

      • Oppy

        You’d rather have Muir than Wilson??

        Seriously?

        What is it that you see in Muir that makes you believe he’s worth scrapping Wilson?

    • Oppy

      At the moment, Merlin is the closest thing to a prototypical 3-4 DE in terms of stature that we’ve got, I agree, he can find a way to stick. CJ Wilson, while not necessarily having the proto build, certainly has the 3-4 DE skill set.

      I think Brad Jones, while not exactly an 3-4 ILB, has far more versatility to play multiple positions that most of our other options. That gives him value that can give him an edge at cut down. He’s also one of only two LBs on the Roster who can play run, coverage, and rush the passer in a balanced way from the edge- the other being Matthews (although at a much higher level). I think both Walden and Zombo are on the way out most likely with the introduction of Perry and if the lights go on for So’oto even in a modest fashion (based purely on his size/speed). Zombo is just a guy, don’t know why the fans went ga-ga over him, no overt talent or attributes to make him stick, and Walden is another one-trick pony (pass rusher) at OLB who fell on his face last season.

      • FireMMNow

        yes jones can play run,pass and rush the passer in a balanced way. poorly. he may be able to beat out the second tier OLBs on our team, but he HAS to make it as OLB. no way he gets a spot over hawk, bishop, smith or manning on the inside. he may get the nod over zombo for his flexibility, but not over an ILB.

        • Oppy

          I don’t agree he plays OLB poorly. He isn’t a stud, but he’s sound. He’s the type of player you are happy to have, but you’re still looking to upgrade.

          I agree that he’s not going to play ILB better than our ILB’s.. The point is the fact he can play OLB and, in a pinch, play ILB… That flexibility gives him the type of value that the Packers covet, it allows you to perhaps run a little thinner numbers over the LB corps to make room on the roster for a player at a different position that is dynamic, but they otherwise wouldn’t be able to keep due to the numbers game.

  • FireMMNow

    haha, one more. i think datko goes to the PS. give him some time to get that shoulder rested.

  • Terry

    Who backs up Sitton? I think only two quarterbacks. I like the six receivers, but don’t think it will happen. I like the competition this year. Also watch out for that guy who won’t be cut. Every year someone stands out and won’t let the coaches cut him.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Dietrich-Smith would probably backup both guard spots in this scenario.

  • Kevn

    I think M.D. Jennings will somehow make the roster. After Collins went down he was the primary backup at both safety positions and they didn’t try to replace him. Obviously the coaches like something about him.

    • Oppy

      Kevin, Adam listed Jennings in his roster.

  • Adam Czech

    Good call on the qb’s. Oversight on my part. I also agree that Manning will be there, probably over Jones. Another oversight on my part.

  • Ron LC

    You’re right Adam, it is way too early. But, thanks for kicking off the discussion anyway. It’s easy to pick the top guys, it’s much more difficult to predict the last roster picks. That makes the pre-season all the more interesting.

    At this point I choose to sit back and watch how things develop. I learn a lot by the comments made supporting individual preferences.

    The one thing I will predict at this time is, there will be significant changes made in the D’s scheme this year. Also, look for some new wrinkles in the O. As it beomes more apparent the direction MM and staff is taking, the personnel choices will become clearer.

    God, this is fun!

  • PH

    Nice work- always fun to take a look at this. Some tough choices to be made this year.

    As others have said, I see Coleman and Datko to the PS.

    Dominguez takes Datko’s spot.
    I’d say Merling sticks over CJ Wilson, and Manning over Jones.

    I believe both Lattimore and Guy have PS eligibility left, so I would put them on the 53 and keep them inactive (best laid plans…) until Neal/Quarless/Hargrove start coming back, when I’d try to “sneak” both off the roster and onto the PS. That would leave just one more cut to get all three back. I could see it being a safety (MD Jennings), OL (Genus or Dominguez) or honestly could see it being DJ Williams unless he takes a big leap early in the year.

    • PH

      Or, I could also see Neal or Hargrove getting released instead of activated- that wouldn’t surprise me at all, especially in Hargrove’s case.

      • Oppy

        I think your idea about keeping Lattimore and Guy inactive as place holders (or any other two players the Packers may be on-the-fence about who have PS eligibility left) makes great sense.

        I could also see the Packers possibly cutting either Neal or Hargrove, or any other kind of semi-unknown who isn’t available early on- perhaps due to PUP,etc- if the tweener talent they carry in their place ends up looking extremely good during weekly practice. Primarily talking about defensive talent, since we have such a glut of it.

        It’s kind of the MO of the Packers to really think about how to maximize their roster. THey analyze all the details- who can we keep at no roster cost on PUP? Who’s still got PS time left? How can we buy more time to really get a grasp on what this player’s true skill/value is without sacrificing another player right now?

        Very well thought out, PH.

  • Mojo

    Wonder if Genus is eligible for the PS. If he is, they might stash him there and use EDS to back-up at guard and center. Or they could use Genus as the backup at both guard and center and stash some other FA type guy on the PS after cutting EDS. Either way it would open up another roster spot.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Yes, Genus is PS eligible, and I think that is where he’ll end up at best.

      • Adam Czech

        Last I heard the Packers felt good about Genus as a project-type of player…..or was that Campbell?

      • Oppy

        Al, you are probably right that Genus goes PS again, based on the fact the EDS will probably make the roster as a back up guard who can also play C in a pinch. His versatility makes him hard for the Packers to cut again, even if he is limited in terms of talent.

        That being said, Genus was one of the OL that actually jumped out at me in drill work during TC last year.

        While I believe he probably will end up PS (at least to start the year), I wince that you ended your statement with “at best”. I think the Packers would love to make him a part of the 53 to get him on the sidelines with Saturday, but things would have to align correctly- he’d probably have to show he could play G effectively in a pinch.

  • Steve S.

    Excellent first take Adam. Like others here, I think it’ll be two QBs, Coleman on PS. Don’t see Driver making it. I think Dominguez has a good chance to be the swing guard instead of EDS. On the DL, if Merling shows anything, he could make it over Guy. At OLB, agree Walden over Zombo. If Lattimore shows pass-rush potential, he could beat out So’oto. Like others, see Manning over B. Jones at ILB. The eventual practice squad may be most talented we’ve ever had.

  • Adam Czech

    My thought on Driver is this: If he was going to be cut, he would have been cut by now. Of course, there’s always a chance his skills have diminished so much in the offseason that the Packers will need to see him camp before realizing it, but everything else being equal, I think Driver makes it.

    • Bart

      Hey, Adam. I think it is less a question of Driver’s diminishing skills (he can still play), I think it’s more about the Packers needing to see if one of the young guys is truly ready to take the fifth spot. ‘It’s a young man’s game’. That sort of thing.

      • FireMMNow

        agreed. drive is a great safety valve. if borel or gurley is not ready then they will keep driver. if they are ready, and gurley sounds like he is a very good special teams player, blocked 3 or 4 punts in practice last year he will have the edge over driver and borel.

  • Adam Czech

    Also, I realize Guy on the 53 might be a bit of a stretch, but I have a feeling about him for whatever reason.

    Who goes when Neal and Hargrove are back? I’d be surprised if all the d-lineman are healthy at that point, but if I had to predict, I think they could axe a linebacker that doesn’t fit to make room.

    • Oppy

      Guy is truly an unknown. None of us know how much he progressed on PS last year, and his name has not been brought up by coaches or media.

      He was a calculated risk when he was drafted- the Packers brought him into the fold purely on potential. He is raw and played unmotivated in college. They are looking at the fact he is large and fast and had moments where he plays up to that potential his stature makes a possibility. If you look at Guy on paper and compare it to Cullen Jenkins, it’s hard to find a tangible difference. Ht, Wt, reach, 40time, vert.. They’re the same body.

      I’ve had a feeling about Guy as well, I know he’s a long shot, and he’s probably a two year PS project, but his potential is almost intoxicating.

      • Kevn

        I’d bet that he progressed even less than you think. I thought he was on IR last year with a head injury, not the practice squad. I don’t think guys on IR area allowed to practice with the team, so the majority of his improvement will have come in the weight room and meetings, not practice. Plus, doesn’t he have a learning disability. Will be interesting to see how he’s progressed for sure. Would have loved to see him be able to practice, but I guess it’s another way to kind of slip guys through without taking up a practice squad roster spot.

        • Oppy

          You are right, Kevin, he was placed on IR last season, my mistake.

          Have to believe that placing a guy on IR with a concussion was simply a matter of the Packers deciding that Guy would benefit more from a year of working out and getting his body right than some other players whom the Packers thought would benefit more from actual practice (being closer to a final product than Guy).

          Does placing Guy on IR before the season starts mean that he still has full eligibility for PS in the future? Or does IR negate one year of PS eligibility?

          If it’s the prior, it means that Green Bay successfully added a full year to develop Guy without taking up a roster spot, and that’s genius. If it’s the latter, it means the Packers don’t necessarily think that highly of his abilities at that time, and they didn’t want to waste a PS spot on him, but they haven’t given up on him, either.

          Thanks for the correction/info, Kevin

  • BubbaOne

    Great opening salvo. Since this is the time to speculate you heard it here first.
    DD will not make the team. I think the team and him have a handshake agreement that preceded his tweet. Since he doesn’t play ST if he can’t beat out JJ and Cobb for the 4th receiver he retires and the Packers sign him to a personal services contract similar to what Murphy offered BF. Of course if he does make the team the contract goes into effect when he’s done playing hence the “Packer for life” comment.

    • BubbaOne

      The spot opened up by DD goes to Borel.
      Dominguez in, Coleman goes to PS.
      Levine in, Peprah gets traded or cut.
      Unless Hawk lost more weight than just his hair I feel they have to find a way to move him esp b/c I believe Manning and Lattimore make the team at ILB.

      Here’s my dark horse. The team sees enough from Taylor and Williams and feels confident Q will be okay coming off the PUP at midseason that Crabtree is the final cut. If so they keep an extra DL.

      • Adam Czech

        I went back and forth on Crabtree. I also think there’s a good chance he gets cut.

        • Oppy

          I’m well known in some internet circles as “that one guy who doesn’t think Crabtree is all that great”, but with Quarless injured and likely to be IR’d, I just don’t see Crabtree getting cut. Behind Quarless, he’s the best blocking TE. Taylor definitely has the mean streak, but he’s still not as good of a blocking TE as Crabtree.. Yet.

          DJ Williams flashed in camp early last year, but completely disappeared. If a TE goes, I feel the early favorite to cut would be Williams. He’s the only TE that did absolutely nothing worth talking about last season. Young player, though..

          • FireMMNow

            crabtree is a better blocker than quarless.

            • Oppy

              Completely disagree, actually watch the games last season, Crabtree wasn’t a great blocker, QUarless was often a beast.

              • Adam Czech

                Agree with you Oppy. Crabtree was average at best as a blocker last season.

      • Bart

        I think I agree with these modifications the most. Had not thought about Peprah getting the axe one way or the other, but it makes sense now that you mention it. They already know what they are going (and not going) to get from him, so why not go with a younger guy who might eventually be an improvement?

  • Ed

    I’m going to agree with Al about the QBs. Coleman is a serious prospect with a track record of going somewhere he is wanted; he will not make it to the practice squad if the Packers try to stash him there even in September. McCarthy is not stuck on one way of doing things, this is the year to keep 2 backup QBs.

    And now in the spirit of undounded presearon predictioons:

    I don’t think Guy nmakes the squad. They either keep 5 DL anticipating Neal and Hargrove coming back, or Merling or Muir beat out Guy. If no one is on the DL by the time Hargrove comes back he replaces whoever is already be on the DL.

    Whether they keep 5 or 6 DL, Neal never makes it back (he will hurt himself training after the suspension) and they get an FA or waiver wire guy to fill the spot (or wait for Hargrove).

    Manning makes the team at ILB and they carry 9 LB overall — Brad Jones becomes a swing player betwen inside and outside.

    If Greg Jennings renegotiates, Gurley or Borel show enough to make the team and (crucial) Driver shows he can still play, they trade James Jones instead of curring Driver. They keep 5 WR and stash Moss on the PS for more than the PS Salary.

    • Ed

      I wish i could spell.

    • Oppy

      Ugh, I don’t know why the Packers would, to keep Driver on the team, trade a young WR who outperformed Driver last season… Plus, I don’t think JJ has much trade value… no one seriously kicked the tires in his FA last season, don’t think a team would give up much of anything via trade for his services.

      Doesn’t compute with me.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Here we go with the let’s trade James Jones again. it’s not that simple. They have tried – there has been no interest. He’s worth more to the Packers as injury insurance to give him away for next to nothing.

  • Roach

    I put Jennings ahead of Bush and Peprah.
    In fact I see Peprah being cut, Bush is great on special teams but lost in the secondary.

    • Oppy

      Bush is THE ST’er, and he plays both corner and safety, has been cross trained for over 3 years now.

      Get ready for the deluge of thumbs down after I repeat this statement I made a few months back:

      Jarrett Bush is the closest thing the Charles Woodson the Packers have on the roster. If Wood goes down, Bush will be taking his responsibilities. Looks like the Packers might agree with me; reports out of OTAs were that with Wood sitting out, Bush took his spot while Shields stayed at Nickle. It’s because Capers uses Woodson almost like a LB around the LOS, and Bush is simply the most physical presence the Packers have at CB.

  • Larry

    I think Coleman will get signed from the PS…he may need to be on the 53. I don’t see DD making the cut. Merling might replace Wilson or Guy.

  • Larry

    Ed thinking outside the box…I like the his take. I could live with Hawk and JJ being traded. TT’s a wheeler-dealer these days!

  • Mark

    I agree with Coleman to PS. Most of the NFL follow the unwritten rule to not try to sign guys from other teams to their practice squad – at the time of final cuts. Within the season, because of injuries, practice squad guys from other teams are free gAme.

    If Borel and Gurley show well, I think DD will be a casualty and JJ will be cut or traded. The reality is, with a healthy JerMichael, our 4th WR is actually a number 5, and assuming Cobb wins the number 3 job, JJ is then in effect our number 5.

    dL I really think Muir makes it, along with CJ. I just don’t see Merling making the team. Neal will have to show something in training camp, and I hope he does, we need him.

    • gman

      Would not be surprized if both DD and JJ were both gone (hate to see DD go he’s such a great leader for the receiver group and team).

      They provide no help a special teams and 4, 5, or 6th rec. have to do ST. I do not want to see Jordy running down on any more kicks.

      If replaced by younger league min. salaries and depending on what DD would restructure his cap number to, the Pack would have 3-5+mill to aid in resigning G Jennings and others.

      Those wanting JJ traded I’m guessing we’d be very lucky to get a 6th more likely a 7th or nothing.

      If DD is done I think we’ll all miss the smile and competative fire. To bad the league couldn’t give us a extra roster spot for the DWTS Champ (just dreamin’)

      • FireMMNow

        There is no chance that James Jones is traded or does not make the team. He has no trade value. If he had trade value a team would have stepped up and signed him to something more than the very modest contract he signed. He is a great #3 WR. He has had his issues at times, but he is probably a top 3 number 3 WR in the league. He is also a great bargain at his salary.

        I would like to see Hawk traded, but it will not happen. Once again with that contract he has not trade value.

        • aaronqb

          JJ will be the #4 WR and was at the end of last season. Cobb is #3 now. No way JJ is one of the top #3s in the league. Having said that, I think he will be back

  • Chad Lundberg

    Pretty much my fantasy team, but it ain’t gonna happen. It never does…

  • PH

    Coleman would be a moron to sign with another PS instead of the Packers, a team that has no established back up and a nice track record for developing QBs. And there is no way other teams would be tripping over themselves to sign him to their 53 when they wouldn’t spend a late round pick on him just last month. I think he slides to the PS very easily.

    The “trade JJ and AJ” crowd aren’t being realistic. Nobody wants these guys, especially not at their current contracts while also having to give up a draft pick for them. If they were to get cut (not happening) teams would look to sign them for sure, but nobody’s giving up a pick for either of them AND taking on their contracts.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      the voice of reason…

  • PackersRS

    Better than the typical OTAs posts? Absolutely. Would I have done the same? No, only because I wouldn’t have thought about that (so, yes, in a way).

    Still, nobody has seen these guys in pads, let alone at a football field competing against NFL caliber players. There are roster spots that are pretty much guaranteed (baring injuries), but everything else is just guess. Somewhat fundamented, I’m positive, but they’re still guesses.

    Like Chad said, it never goes like that. Never. There’s always at least a couple of surprises that nobody saw coming.

    P.S.: I didn’t read the parentheses part.