Over the next few weeks, we will break down each position on the Green Bay Packers' 2015 roster in detail, discussing each player and making our predictions for the final 53-man roster.
Though the offseason saw great turnover in the staff and key players covering special teams, the Green Bay Packers elected to add only a single true "specialist" to the roster this season. That decision was likely based heavily on punter Tim Masthay 's struggles down the stretch, as the punter was disappointing (a nice word for it) after the bye week.
Much like the Packers did with Mason Crosby in 2013, they added a young punter to the squad this year to compete with Masthay. Mike McCarthy, Ted Thompson, and company are likely hoping that their veteran punter will respond much as Crosby did, but they have hedged their bets with a young player who does show some promise.
Cody Mandell, P
H/W: 6'2", 217
Contract status: first year of two-year league minimum contract; 2015 cap hit of $435,000
Mandell enters his first training camp in Green Bay with minimal expectations beyond that of providing some minor competition for Tim Masthay. In a sense, this is a repeat of the 2013 offseason, when the team brought in competition for Mason Crosby. Mandell himself is a pretty big player for his position, and he had an impressive senior season in 2013 for Alabama. That year, he averaged 47.1 yards gross per punt and led all of college football in net average at 42.4 yards.
Last year, Mandell entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent signing of the Cowboys, but was cut early on in training camp. He then waited around for about five months before the season wrapped up and the Packers called to add him to the 90-man roster.
Yes, it is unlikely that an unproven young player like Mandell would be able to unseat a five-year veteran, and APC predicts that he will be the punter left off the final roster. Still, crazier things have happened.