The Green Bay Packers will face some tough decision after this week’s final preseason game and to determine what the final roster will look like. That will fall largely on General Manager Ted Thompson and Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
It’s possible that one of these young players could flash in the preseason finale and jump ahead on the depth chart, but as of today, let’s take a look at who I see on the team’s final 53-man roster.
Quarterback (2): Rodgers, Young
With Graham Harrell out of the equation already and with Coleman not taking the step forward that the Packers had hoped, they go with the experienced Young behind Rodgers.
Running Back (5): Lacy, Starks, Green, Franklin, Kuhn
With DuJuan Harris headed to season-ending injured reserve, that opens the door for both Green and Starks to stay. Lacy is a lock to be the team’s starting back. Franklin adds some depth in the return game while he continues to integrate into the offense. And Kuhn’s pass blocking and savvy is too valuable to let go just yet.
Wide Receiver (5): Cobb, Nelson, J. Jones, Boykin, Ross
Cobb, Nelson and Jones were locks from day one. Boykin has shown very well during the preseason and locked up his roster spot early. Ross can also flash in the return game and edges out Walker. With a few injuries to both Nelson and Cobb in recent seasons, depth at this key position is a priority.
Tight End (5): Finley, Quarless, Taylor, Mulligan, Stoneburner
DJ Williams has done nothing to establish himself amongst the above and it’s time to cut the cord. Same with Bostick. Stoneburner is very green and probably not ready to contribute much on offense, but he has the pedigree that the Packers like in a tight end. It’s a bit of a gamble with all but Finley playing on special teams so the team has to hope they can all stay healthy.
Offensive Line (8): Barclay, Lang, Dietrich-Smith, Sitton, Bakhtiari, Newhouse, Van Roten, Taylor
We all know who the starters are. With rookie JC Tretter and veteran Bryan Bulaga both out to start the season, Newhouse is too valuable as an experienced backup to let him go. Van Roten backs up EDS at center but is very green. Taylor has shown some “nasty” this preseason, something the offensive line can use more of with their physical opponents.
Defensive Line (8): Pickett, Raji, D. Jones, Neal, Wilson, Daniels, Jolly, Boyd
Raji and Pickett were locks. Rookie first-round pick Jones will be expected to contribute right away. Wilson, Neal and Daniels provide solid depth. Jolly just makes plays. The Packers have to find a way to keep him. Boyd has not shown much so far, but Thompson is not likely to dump a fifth rounder this soon.
Linebacker (8): Matthews, Perry, Hawk, B. Jones, Francois, Mulumba, Manning, Barrington
The starters became clear when the team released DJ Smith and Desmond Bishop during the offseason. Francois is a good special teams player and a solid back up on the inside. Mulumba and Barrington will both contribute on special teams and should grow well into the team’s defense. Lattimore loses the numbers game as the team continues to evaluate what they have in Manning.
Defensive Back (9): T. Williams, Shields, Hayward, House, Hyde, Burnett, McMillian, Jennings, Banjo
The usuals return this season and are joined by rookies Hyde and Banjo. Hyde has been impressive in every phase and while he has been beat in coverage, he is well ahead of the rookie curve at a tough position to learn at the NFL level. Banjo plays hard, fast and is not afraid to stick his nose into any play. He offers valuable depth at safety and will also contribute on specials teams. Bush can’t get on the field as a DB and these roster spots are too valuable to keep a one-dimensional guy.
Specialist (3): Crosby, Masthay, Goode
The usuals are back but this position grouping was not without its drama. Crosby faced competition from two other kickers during the presason but was able to out-kick each and has the stronger leg. Hoping the worst is behind him or it will likely cost the team 1-3 games this season.
Practice Squad (8): QB Coleman, CB Nixon, RB Amosa, WR Johnson, OL Datko, WR Walker, LB Palmer, OL Lewis
After surviving the initial cut, Nixon edges out Fulton on the team’s PS. They have to see what they have in Johnson and he sticks as well.
PUP: Worthy, Tretter, Richardson, Sherrod
Sherrod is unfortunately still not ready to return to football action after nearly two years. The others are no surprise. No one new can get added to the PUP after Tuesday’s roster moves. Any other injured players would have to be put on IR if moved from the active roster.
IR: WR Cunningham, OL Bulaga, WR Dorsey, RB Harris, LB Reed
The Packers can still put a player on IR with a “Designated for Return” label, which would allow the player to return later in the season. They can only do this with one player, one time so they may not use this option until after the season starts.——————
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: