Who Might Not Survive the Packers Final Roster Cut in 2011?

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Packers GM Ted Thompson once again put together a solid draft class a month ago, adding more talent to a roster that was already among the best in the NFL.

But with a roster full to the brim in depth, several players that are currently on the roster won’t be making it back for 2011. Here a list of the players who may not be back on the Packers 53-man roster next season.

Also, to keep this post away from free agency, players not currently under contract were excluded from this list.


LB Nick Barnett

His situation remains one of the trickier to assess. Are the Packers going to float his name in trade discussions? And would any team bite at a price that makes sense?

Either way, his $6 million contract and recent demotion makes him an expensive backup. The Packers have a tough decision to make regarding Barnett’s future in Green Bay if they don’t trade him. A straight up release could be in the cards.


T Mark Tauscher

With the Packers taking Derek Sherrod in the first round, Tauscher becomes even more expendable. And even without a high draft pick on the roster, there was a chance the Packers weren’t going to bring him back.

He’s almost 34 years old, hasn’t been healthy in three years and is owed over $4 million next season. The only chance he has of returning is if he takes a substantial pay cut.


RB Dimitri Nance

Nance’s future might be solely tied into the free agent dealings with Brandon Jackson. If Jackson returns, there’d likely be little-to-no chance the Packers could afford using another roster spot on a running back.

But if Jackson isn’t retained, the Packers might be able to squeeze four running backs—Ryan Grant, James Starks, Alex Green and Nance—onto the roster. He’ll have to sit and wait. He could ultimately be a candidate for the practice squad, however.


TE Tom Crabtree

It pains me to say it, as he has quickly become a fan favorite, but Crabtree will have to really fight for his spot during training camp. Of course, that is nothing new to him. But the Packers did take two tight ends in the draft, and it’s possible that both D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor could bring more to the football table than Crabtree.

But that also brings up another interesting discussion. If Crabtree earns a spot, could the Packers really keep five tight ends on the roster?


G/C Evan Dietrich-Smith

Dietrich-Smith was beaten out by Nick McDonald during camp in 2010, which goes to show his roster spot is far from guaranteed. And while his ability to play both center and guard is appealing, the Packers have other options at spots.

He’ll get the chance to win a place on the 53-man roster, but Dietrich-Smith might be a long shot at this point.


DT Justin Harrell

Harrell will always be a black eye on Thompson’s draft record, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to get another chance at proving he can play in the NFL.

It does mean he’s on thin ice, however, and he’s going to need a really good (and healthy) camp to get that chance. Let’s just hope he can stay on the field long enough to prove what kind of player he really is.


LB Brady Poppinga

The fact is simple: soon-to-be 32-year old linebackers who are coming back from blown out knees are long shots to make NFL rosters. Unfortunately, Poppinga fits that mold.

And with an influx of younger linebackers set to make the roster, Poppinga’s time has likely run out in Green Bay.


CB Brandon Underwood

You could put Pat Lee in this same category, but he made enough of an impact during the Super Bowl to warrant another opportunity. Underwood, on the other hand, can’t say the same.

He has all the physical attributes you want in a cornerback, but he’s never been able to put it all together. Now that Davon House is on the roster, Underwood will likely have to beat out Lee for a spot on this team.


LB Diryal Briggs

While Briggs was actually one of the better special teams players down the stretch, he is limited physically and doesn’t offer much potential in the defense. The Packers have better options now that players have returned from IR, and it’d be a surprise to see him make the 53-man roster.

Yet with his showing on special teams late in the season, Briggs might warrant a look on the practice squad.



Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.


26 thoughts on “Who Might Not Survive the Packers Final Roster Cut in 2011?

    1. Crabtree is a geek playing football. It doesn’t get more awesome than that. That’s why I am rooting for him.

  1. With regards to Barnett, you forgot to mention the fact that he isn’t very good. No one is going to trade for him. He will be released.

    Tauscher is also gone. Hopefully he just retires, so we don’t have to release him. But I don’t see anyway he makes the team. He is a RT only, so he offers no versatility as a backup.

    There are hundreds of Dmitri Nance’s walking the streets. RB’s like him are a dime a dozen. If he makes the team, fine. If he doesn’t, who cares.

    I think (and hope) that Crabtree makes the team. He is our best blocking TE, though he is limited as a pass catcher. I believe there is a role for him on this team. I think we will keep 4 TE’s and the Taylor will be signed to the practice squad.

    Justin Harrell is gone. He will not be healthy. I don’t know why anyone would get their hopes up.

    Once we are able to sign undrafted free agents, we will probably have at least 8 OLB’s in camp who are better than Poppinga. Add his injury and age to the equation and he is as good as gone.

    I agree that Pat Lee and Brandon Underwood are competing for the final DB spot.

    Briggs faces an uphill battle. Definitely worth stashing on the practice squad in case of injury.

    I think that Brandon Chillar could also be on this list. I believe he definitely makes the team if he is healthy, but that is no guarantee, especially with shoulder injuries. Just one more guy to consider.

    1. Barnett would have to be willing to take a substantial pay cut to be trade worthy. I do think if he was in a 4-3 he could start for a few teams in the NFL. I would say that he is most likely going to be released, but you never know.

      Disagree with you on Tauscher Cwood. He may retire, but if he is healthy in camp we will keep him on the roster. He has played LT at times in the past when Cliffy went out for short periods of time. If he is healthy, which is a big IF, he is a still a starting caliber RT. If he can rest his body and play limited snaps he could be valuable next year. Having Sherrod and Tauscher as backups will prevent shuffling your entire line if someone goes down. I hope he is healthy and they keep him.

      100% agree with you on Crabs though. He is the type of guy that will make the team. Taylor is PS for sure.

      Harrell and Poppinga have no chance. Harrell would have to be 100% which he has NEVER been since he was drafted AND make a huge impact. You cannot cut Wynn in favor of Harrell. You cannot trust his health.

      I hope Underwood beats out Lee but I doubt he will. Like Zach said he is the more natural player, but he is such a dumbass. Is there any dumber player on the team?

      It would be a shock if Chillar did not make the team in my eyes. He is pretty flexible and probably the best athlete at ILB that the packers have when he is healthy. He is not cheap either, but I would guess he makes the team for sure.

  2. Actually, I’m not sure if Nance is practice squad eligible. Players can only be placed on the practice squad if they have not accrued an NFL season (meaning 6 games on a 53-man roster), and I believe Nance was active in 12 games last year.

  3. A few things. First’s first, Ryan Taylor is not going to beat out Crabtree. He’s already missed rookie orientation to the Packs Offense which is not to be understated and their in the process of missing OTA’s. Thats going to cripple any rookie’s chances of contributing significantly.

    Second, You O-line looks like this barring injury: CC, TL, SW, JS, BB(Not Tauscher like one suggested) & the backups you’ve already got locked in DS, NM, and most likely MN. They probably only keep 9 OL which would mean 1 more G/C combo in ED-S. Have a hard time seeing Tausch on this team and plus he’s the kind of player who is rusty if he’s not playing consistently-I think you can see this when he returns from injury even in midseason.

    Third, the subject of Pat Lee…. He made NO impact! I could have been on the field and made the same impact(!), what impact are you talking of??? That will be an interesting battle for that last Cornerback spot. Remember last year Underwood started the year as the Nickel. Whats gonna be interesting is the development of Josh Gordy, I remember during the year they had a press conference when our CB’s were bruised up McCarthy was talking of them and mentioned the young guy as if he was taking the same route of Tramon. Think he may be a darkhorse!

    Harrell will make the cut if he’s healthy.

    As for Briggs, he’s gone, he couldn’t even get on the field when we had a ton of injuries, be surprised to see him make the P.S.

    Last but not least is Sherrod. I think these OTA’s/Minicamps and rookie orientations are vastly understated! I believe Marshall Newhouse will be your backup LT and may even backup LG unless NM takes that responsibility.

    You will see a bunch of these 6th and 7th round guys on the practice squad for the sheer fact we have a loaded roster and their missing so much right now. There’s no way you can validate a swimming wookie over a veteran and someone who helped take your team to Superbowl XLV. Think maybe one-two of our 5 6th/7th round guys make the squad and the rest are P.S. along with QB-Graham.
    McCarthy all but conformed the fact that teams were actually stockpiling late picks to get their priorty free agents. Thats what these guys were. Priorty FA’s.

    Go Pack Go!!!

    1. who said tauscher would start over Bulaga? if you are referring to me i said, if he is healthy he is starter quality.

      the packers will most likely have plenty of cap space when the new CBA is completed. you do not dump quality depth at OT if they are healthy. if tauscher is not healthy that is a different story. but the shortened offseason makes tauscher even more valuable. if BB goes down, tauscher could stop in easily for a few games.

      on sherrod, he was a first round pick and many said he was the most pro ready of all the o-lineman (along with carimi)in the draft. Rookie OTAs are important no doubt, but Sherrod will be the backup LT, no doubt about it.

      1. Dont think Tauscher who just got signed to a 3 extension is going to reduce his contract to near minimum to play backup. Dont see it

  4. Last year the packers kept 5WR-4TE-3FB-2RB. I could see this year 5-5-1-3. In this scenario Crabtree stays for sure w/ Havner being the odd man out, along w/ Wilhelm, Josh Bell, and Francois. MM hinted Chillar may be done due to 3 shoulder surgeries.

  5. I think its gonna be 5WR, 4TE, 2FB, and 3RB. With what the Packers do on offense there is a need to sometimes have a traditional FB like Quinn. So Kuhn and Quinn both will make it. You can’t short change yourself at such a critical posotion in the Packers Offense as is why they kept 3 FB’s last season.

    1. cannot short change yourself at a critical position? HA! the FB is dead. i would say that FB is the LEAST critical position on the team. I would put long snapper ahead of FB. Keep Kuhn and dump the rest. Williams and Crabtree and even Raji can function as FBs in our scheme/short yardage situations.

      1. ST value. Our ST unit is as putrid as it is already, cutting some key guys in there will only make it worse.

        But with the rookies, we’ll see what happens.

        IMHO Johnson is good as gone. He brings absolutely nothing at ST, and after what will be 3 offseasons, if he can’t provide anything else than being a solid run blocker, he’s gone.

      2. FB is dead(?), well obviously Ted Thompson didn’t get that Memo. I’m glad that Ted was the GM and not you.

        And also TE is one of the hardest positions to learn with all the blocking involved, the routes/catching, special teams, and now you’re gonna count on the rookie DJ Williams to also play FB…. Hmm Seems a bit steep

    2. Some consider Williams an H-Back so w/ him and the other TE’s the FB role is covered. Though I think they keep Kuhn for his versatility.
      They may go 5-4-1-4 If Jackson returns or 4-5-1-4 if he returns and they use Finley et al as WR’s.

      1. No way the Pack goes that thin at WR. Even with Finley back they wont shortchange themselves plus Swain is terrific on ST’s

  6. Hey, what is everyones opinion of Jared Bush? Other then ST, which he is great in, I don’t think he should be on the field in any other situation. I think the QB’s heart starts racing whenever he sees JB gettin his helmet. Whats everyones thoughts.

  7. Fire Jared Bush!! Please do it as soon as we get a CBA.

    Barnett is gone, I hope Tausher is healthy and he stays but in reality I think he will retire. Nance is gone, Crabtree will make it, Dietrich-Smith is gone, it would be hard for the organization to cut a first rounder in Harrell even with the injury issues, but perhaps make him take a pay cut, I hope Brady Poppinga makes it, I think he is a solid player, cut Underwood, and as much as I hate the idea of cutting someone who is good at special teams, cut Briggs.

  8. Does anyone know if Justin Harrell is even attempting to make the roster? After receiving, I believe, around $10mm he might not feel the need to ever play again.

  9. I think most will be gone, chances are Crabtree has a good camp and he stays, it’s not written in stone that all the rookies will make it. Popinga and Jones will probably be cut, Havner could still make team if Briggs and Barnett go. If it weren’t for Bush’s performance covering punts and secondary work in SB, I’d say he’s gone but it’s not clear now, he definitely shown improvement. Harrell’s a gamble-he’s never completed a season without injuries-I don’t see him staying, Jolly is gone and I hope Packers can either keep Cullen Jenkins or come up with reliable starter and backup to hold the position down. I think Underwood stays if Bush goes, also think Nance is gone whether Jackson leaves or not. I see Packers keeping Johnson and Kuhn, not sure if Korey Hall’s ST work will keep him in GB for now, DJ Williams and Havner both can fill in at FB.

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