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.
After examining the running backs in detail today, we at Acme Packing Company are ready to release our predictions for the players who will make the 53-man roster. One of the tougher decisions to make here was how many players to keep at tailback and fullback, and figuring out the numbers was more difficult for some of us than deciding which players would make the team.
As it stands, we have projected three running backs and a pair of fullbacks to start the 2015 season on the 53-man roster. Here are our predictions:
Starter: Eddie Lacy
Backups: James Starks, Rajion Neal
"Starter": John Kuhn
Backup: Aaron Ripkowski
I'm disappointed to say the APC crew thinks that John Kuhn is basically as big of a lock to make the roster as Eddie Lacy. That said, he knows the offense can still catch the occasional swing pass, and was a plus in run-blocking in 2014. We will, for at least one more year, be treated to cries of "Kuhhhhhhnnn" that will once again rain down from the stands of Lambeau Field, followed immediately by the disappointment associated with the knowledge that you now have to punt.
Eddie Lacy will obviously be the starter, barring injury. He remains an elite talent at the position. James Starks is the consensus backup for at least one more year, as he continues to offer solid contributions in all factors of the game. He can even still bust off a 40+ yard carry every now and then.
Rajion Neal is also an overwhelming favorite to make the roster. He fits the Thompson profile of a well-rounded undrafted free agent to a T. While his injury-plagued first season may have looked like a daunting obstacle at first, it also allotted him some time to study the offense, work with the practice squad, and learn the nuances that may give him an upper hand on some of the other similarly situated players in camp.
Finally, Aaron Ripkowski is likely to make the squad. Not many teams carry two full backs in the modern era, especially two true fullbacks like Kuhn and Ripkowski, but he is likely, at the very least, to be a special teams contributor and eventually replace Kuhn when his time is finally up.
Running back is probably the most volatile, fungible position in the NFL and I would not shocked to see a few surprises by the time the season starts. There is no reason John Crockett couldn't beat out Neal, and Alonzo Harris is an intriguing prospect in his own right, The practice squad will probably feature a few of these guys, and I wouldn't even assume that anyone save Lacy is 100% safe.
Tomorrow we continue by examining the wide receiver position.