We are not through the first round of cuts and not too far away from the last set of cuts to get the roster down to the final 53. Pretty soon we are going to be ramping up the discussion for the upcoming game against the Kansas City Chiefs, but first let's take a moment to look back. You may remember during "The Lull" Kevin, Tex, and I came together to give a projection on the roster. Much has changed for the Packers since many of these predictions were made and so many of them have proven wrong (stupid Peprah cut at the start of camp). The bright side is that many of them still have the strong possibility of being right in the end.
So let's take a tour down memory lane. First we'll look back a the various predictions and "final" 53 we foresaw back in June. Then we'll highlight the moves that has poked holes in that prediction through the various roster moves that have happened since then.
First the roster projection:
QB Projection: Aaron Rodgers, Graham Harrell
HB Projection: James Starks, Alex Green, Brandon Saine
FB Projection: John Kuhn
WR Projection: Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb, Donald Driver, Tori Gurley
TE Projection: Jermichael Finley, Tom Crabtree, D.J. Williams, Ryan Taylor
OL Projection: Marshall Newhouse, T.J. Lang, Jeff Saturday, Josh Sitton, Bryan Bulaga, Derek Sherrod, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Andrew Datko
DL Projection: B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, Jerel Worthy, Mike Daniels, Daniel Muir, Jarius Wynn
CB Projection: Tramon Williams, Charles Woodson, Jarrett Bush, Sam Shields, Davon House, Casey Hayward
S Projection: Charlie Peprah, Morgan Burnett, M.D. Jennings, Jerron McMillian
Special Teams Projection: Mason Crosby, Tim Masthay, Brett Goode
Where we were wrong through Monday, August 27th:
Packer training camp started with a surprise cut that took down the prediction for the safeties. After failing a physical Charlie Peprah was cut, so obviously he's not going to be a starter week 1. Similarly, Desmond Bishop is not going to be a starter as well after suffering a torn hamstring in the first preseason game. He has since been put on IR and is now lost for the season. Finally the defensive line projection took two black eyes with the first round of cuts. Jarius Wynn (who was expected to beat out C.J. Wilson) was cut on Monday. Anthony Hargrove, who people assumed would be kept until his suspension was completed, was cut shortly after the third preseason game.
Where things are looking a bit bleak for our projections:
The biggest unforeseen event throwing off our projections is the signing of Cedric Benson. The Packers gave every indication that they were going to stand pat with the running backs they had, but after the injury bug bit the RB position hard in camp the Packers signed Benson. Benson's strong display in his one preseason performance not only puts one of the backs predicted to make the roster in jeopardy of losing his spot, it also may result in the assumed starter, Starks, in losing his primary back designation.
We writers were very much sold on the notion of Tori Gurley or Diondre Borel before the start of camp. The discussion of which one would be the sixth receiver, or if the Packers would keep seven, was a strong topic through the lull. Now that we have had most of camp and preseason though that is not looking as strong a possibility. Both Gurley and Borel have disappointed and the Packers may only keep five receivers after all.
The last area really in jeopardy of being incorrect is along the offensive line, specifically who is going to be counted on as a backup offensive lineman. Here another newcomer could throw off some of the predictions, Reggie Wells. The other part that could throw off the prediction is the current injury to Andrew Datko, who was predicted to be the backup swing tackle while Sherrod got healthy. If Datko can't go then guy not thought much of earlier in the year may sneak on the to the final 53 such as Don Barclay or Shea Allard.
It's been an interesting offseason for the Packers. There have been more veteran signings during this camp than during whole offseasons in the past. Mix this with a major injury to a starter and your garden variety disappointments and the final 53 roster looks a bit different than it would of looked back in June. I guess that's why the play the preseason after all.
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