Finally, a roster prediction that causes one of us writers to have to make a bold prediction or two. Not that it isn't fun to be right about predicting that Aaron Rodgers will be the starting QB or that James Starks will be the starting HB, but that's not really what this exercise is about...is it?
I get the opportunity to predict who is going to be our receiving corp for the 2012 year. This prediction is probably more about the question of "how many" than "who" particularly since right now the Packers probably have seven viable NFL receivers. So let's just start right away with some of the obvious choices and move to the actual controversial stuff.
Starters: Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson - It's tough to say who is a "starting" WR for this team considering the myriad of subpackages and substitutions that go in and out at the position. Traditionally the number should be two. I was going to throw in three, but decided to hold off and just say two. I know scheme it might not fit, but for personnel reasons that will be discussed in a bit it seems to work better.
Job Security: Ironclad. Yes, snaps can go down, but there really isn't any doubt that these are the best two guys the Packers have at WR right now. This is also why Jones doesn't quite make it as a "starter" since his job security is no where near as close as Nelson.
Backups: James Jones, Donald Driver, Randall Cobb and Tori Gurley - There are two things that I am going to state for the record here: 1) the Packers keep six WR's and 2) Gurley beats out Diondre Borel.
First of all six seems about right this year. Five is probably too few considering the current amount of talent. Why not keep as many as reasonable? It keeps the group fairly young as well as insure against injury. On the other hand keeping seven is not very practicable. Yes we have the talent, but roster building needs to take in the full picture of the team instead of looking at only one position or just one side of the ball. Keeping seven receivers is going to strip some of the depth of the defense and probably take viable players away from the special teams. At the same time the extra players that we are going to put on the team probably won't make it on the roster too often on gamedays. The Packers aren't going to need 7 receivers on the 46, I don't care how you spin it....that's simply not going to happen.
Job Security: Strong - Between the affordability of Jones, the promise of Cobb, and the new money to DD these three aren't going anywhere. Yes, yes, you can trade Jones...but don't count on it. Trades at this time of year don't offer much value and so teams rarely pull the trigger. James Jones probably is not going anywhere. The only job question is Gurley or Borel.
Practice Squad or PUP: Dale Moss (practice squad), Shaky Smithson (practice squad) - Moss is a raw talent that is going to need a few years to develop. I don't think another team signs him to their 53 at this point and I don't think he wants to leave an organization that has a reputation for developing WR talent. Smithson is similar. He has promise as a WR and KR, but probably isn't ready for prime time yet. He is still eligible for the PS and could develop into a promising player.
Cut: Diondre Borel - I could be really wrong here, but predictions aren't fun if someone hedges their bets. I say Borel doesn't make it for the reasons above against keeping 7 as well as the fact that Gurley can just provide things that Borel can't. Gurley can provide a unique role on special teams, showing some ability to block punts and field goals. He also has a body type that isn't really there in the position, making what he brings interesting. As for all those who will point to the comments from Aaron Rodgers about Borel's improvements? Well, Rodgers said almost the exact thing about Chastin West last year. West had a fantastic camp and preseason and still got cut. Borel hasn't shown anything West hasn't so far and so I'm not expecting him to edge out Gurley.
Roster spots left: 37