It has been an interesting offseason for trying to forsee the Packers' final roster. Some areas of the team have a deep well of talent to draw from, while other areas have been very thin. The Packers have more than enough talent at wide receiver, but running back is looking mighty thin. Both of the linebacker corps look stacked, but safety might be a concern. It's an interesting balance and one which makes it difficult to predict which players on the bubble make it to the final 53. Complicating this process more is the sheer amount of new faces the Packers have acquired this offseason. Between the expansion of the roster to 90 players and Ted Thompson's atypical dive into the free agent waters this past offseason, many roster battles have been shaken up.
Beyond the headaches that await the powers that be come cut down time will come a second round of cut downs for the Packers. The Packers have three players who would have a good shot of making the roster currently waiting on the active PUP; Frank Zombo, Andrew Quarless, and Derek Sherrod. Can any of these guys make the roster after losing so much practice time? The question becomes even more interesting when you consider that each of these three players have either held a prominent role on the team in the recent past or figures to be a key figure for the team in the near future. After the jump each I'll focus on each one of the three and his chances to make the team despite his long lingering injury.
Derek Sherrod - Likelihood of making the team at week 6: Very Strong. It's surprising to me how many people are kicking around the term "bust" with Sherrod. He didn't tear things up his rookie season, but he wasn't overwhelmingly awful either. After a disappointing camp he had a decent performance in Atlanta coming off the bench. He also had a tough game in Kansas City where he got injured. Regardless of this past performance though, Sherrod is all but guaranteed a spot on this roster when he gets healthy for two reasons: 1.) his draft status and 2.) the depth at tackle right now. A team shouldn't give up on a first round pick after one year, especially when he does show some promise. He will also be a definitely upgrade from Andrew Datko or Reggie Wells as a swing tackle as the year goes on.
Andrew Quarless - Likelihood of making the team at week 6: Strong. While I would be surprised if Quarless does not make the team, his roster spot is not as certain as Sherrod's spot. Unlike tackle, the backups at tight end are not quite as frightful. D.J. Williams has had a good camp so far and may provide as much production as Quarless would this year. The other two TE's, Tom Crabtree and Ryan Taylor, each have a niche that is different from what Williams and Quarless perform. It's possible one of them gets the ax to make room for Quarless, or the Packers could make the cut at a different position and keep five TE's again. Either way, Quarless has enough promise and ability to warrant keeping around. He is not the match up nightmare that Jermichael Finley can be, but he does have enough speed to be a force in the receiving game. He also is a sound, if not proficient, blocker and core contributor on special teams when healthy.
Frank Zombo - Likelihood of making the team at week 6: Weak. It's unfortunate, but Zombo will probably not make the cut. Right now OLB is looking like it has a healthy amount of talent for a change. Erik Walden is having a very good camp and should flourish in a back up role. Nick Perry looks to be making the transition to OLB well enough right now. Clay Matthews is still, Clay Freakin' Mattews and should be for the foreseeable future. Brad Jones even looks to have found a home floating between ILB and OLB and taking special team reps. Zombo's one hope is that Dezman Moses does not live up to his hype once the season starts. If Moses goes the route of Vic So'oto then Zombo may be able to turn enough heads to sneak on the roster. This is doubtful though considering Zombo's injury history and low talent ceiling. Zombo is very good and could be a capable complement to Matthews on the other side, but he just can't stay healthy. He is going to have a tough time catching on this year if he can get his body right once more.
Related stories ahead of Packers vs. Bengals
Packers vs. Bengals: TV, radio and streaming information | Winners and losers from Week 2 vs. Browns | Thursday morning links | Nickel safety battle | Five backups to watch | Five starters to watch | Five Bengals to watch | Packers injuries | Observations from last practice
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