Nothing much changes as far as the starters are concerned. Rodgers, Starks in Platoon, Kuhn, Finley, Jennings, Nelson, Newhouse, Lang, Sitton, and Bulaga. The only change is at Center, where we sacrificed experience and possibly falling skills for a short shelf life and cheap price tag. I’m good with Saturday at Center for a year or two, but I was slightly disappointed in the fact that we did not get a C in the draft.
QB (2+1) – Rodgers is the starter, Harrell is the backup. I see BJ Coleman missing the team, but playing well enough to secure a PS position.
RB (4) – Starks starts in platoon with Brandon Saine. Green locks up the 3rd down back. Kuhn is our Swiss Army knife in the backfield.
TE (4+1) – Finley starts, DJ Williams and Ryan Taylor look to ascend to the top of the depth chart with their versatility. Tom Crabtree makes the team as well, but is low on the depth chart. Williams also spots Kuhn in the backfield in some sets. Andrew Quarless starts the season on the PUP, and will shift over to IR depending on whether or not there is an injury somewhere in the TE/WR corps.
WR(6+2) – Jennings(S), Nelson(S), Cobb, and Jones have their positions locked in. It’s amazing to have such a deep core with experience with their QB. I look to very special things with a 3 WR set with Jennings and Cobb on one side, Nelson stretching the other side. Driver redoes his contract and retires a Packer. Although his skillset is deteriorating, he’s got one more in him to go. I’ve got no problem having Gurley on the roster either, because of his size and ability to go after punts and kicks. Special teams will be his bread and butter this year; hopefully adding some timely catches if needed. Dale Moss and Shaky Smithson make the practice squad providing depth. Smithson would be called up if Cobb is injured primarily as a kick/punt returner. SF showed what not having a solid KR/PR backup can do to a team. Moss is more of an experiment. Basketball players make great football players, and with his size and speed, he could do well… in a year or two.
O-Line (9+1) – by position, since there is some overlapping in the depth chart
OT – Newhouse (LT) and Bulaga (RT) are the starters, with Sherrod and Datko backing up if injuries or if Newhouse has to move inside because of an injury there.
OG – Lang (LG) and Sitton (RG) are the starters, with starting T Newhouse filling in in the event of injuries, and EDS filling in if multiple injuries.
C – Saturday is the starter on Sundays, with EDS filling in as a key interior backup. Sampson Genus rounds out the 9 o-linemen and probably isn’t in the daily active roster unless injuries force him in.
PS – Tommie Draheim has an interesting skillset. He’s not the biggest guy on the field, but he is versatile; playing both C and OT in college, so it is feasible that he could play all three positions in an emergency role if needed. A possiblility to this is to see if he can be a long snapper, take Goode’s roster spot, and fill in all over the line as a backup, thus freeing up Goode’s spot. If this happens, Genus returns to the Practice squad. 9 linemen are fine for the 53 man roster.
Look for massive changes to the defense this season. With the focus of the draft being defense, suspensions, and injuries forcing key players off our team, look for old faces to be in new places and new faces to make immediate starting impacts.
D-Line (6+3) – Worthy takes Neal’s spot as starting DE, Pickett and Raji have help now and won’t have to be on the field so much. Jarius Wynn makes the team initially, but loses his starting spot; Daniel Muir and Mike Daniels plays in spurts, giving Pickett/Raji breathers as needed. Lawrence Guy makes the PS again, with next year a possibility of taking a roster spot from someone. The Packers will keep Mike Neal and Anthony Hargrove on their books until their suspensions are finished before they make a decision. If there are some injuries, they’ll jump right in. If not, Hargrove will get cut, Wynn/Neal would be a tough decision to make as neither have been impressive.
ILB (5+1) – Bishop and Hawk are the starters, but DJ Smith is right on Hawk’s heels. Next year, look for Hawk to have to reduce salary again or find himself looking for a new job. Terrell Manning is versatile, able to play both inside and outside, and will primarily be used in passing downs. Robert Francois barely holds onto his position as the last man on the roster and gives depth/Special Teams play. Sean Richardson will earn a position as a developmental player on the PS. If he can bulk up and keep his speed, next year, look to him to cover those "matchup nightmare" TE’s as a linebacker with cover skills and speed.
OLB (5) – USC represents. Matthews and Perry are the starters. Zombo, Walden, and So’oto, despite being known as often injured or constantly running straight into the loving arms of the LT, are the backups. Let’s hope that they’re not often used aside for being deployed on many kickoff coverages.
CB (5+1) – Williams and Shields are the starters. Shields fights off House and Hayward, who are the primary backups. Bush doesn’t see the light of day on the defensive field, but gives his unique toughness on every Special Teams downs. Brandian Ross makes the practice squad again, as the first man on the PS/last player not to make the team. He could take Francois’ spot, but MM likes TE’s and backers.
Safety (4+1) – Burnett does his best to fill a large shadow at FS. He’s got the skills, and ball skills to make an impact; hopefully his baptism by fire from last year will give him the needed experience. Woodson fills in for a year or two as the SS, providing close support to the line, playing in a similar fashion to where he was last year. In the Nickle package, Jerron McMillian plays SS, while Woodson sits on the slot receiver. I really wanted to get rid of Peprah, but his experience makes him a solid backup. MD Jennings makes the PS for one more year, then takes over for Peprah on the depth chart.
Long Snapper – Brett Goode – I really want to get rid of an assigned LS position. I mentioned it earlier.
Punter – Tim Masthay
Kicker – Mason Crosby
So there it is. My 53 man roster with practice squad elements to boot. Feel free to eviscerate me in the comments section for anything you see.