Acme Packing Company has completed our projections for the Green Bay Packers’ 53-man roster, but the team will have ten more players in the organization and available to contribute on a week’s notice: the practice squad.
This unit, as its name suggests, practices with the team, but these players are not on the active roster. Therefore, this makes them ineligible to play on Sundays, and they do not accrue time served in the league. A player may also be signed off any team’s practice squad to any other team’s active roster, however.
Here is APC’s projection for the players who will make up the Packers’ practice squad after final cuts, taking into consideration our active roster projection. Three of the ten players we chose for the unit spent time on the practice squad a year ago, with one of them even ending up on the 53-man roster for a game.
QB Marquise Williams
In the years that the Packers have kept just two players on the active roster, they have carried a third quarterback on the practice squad. Our bet is that Williams will be the winner of the competition with Joe Callahan this summer, and that he will earn the spot. He is more athletically gifted and has a stronger arm than Callahan, and we feel that will give him the edge.
RB Don Jackson
Like at quarterback, the Packers have tended to keep a rookie running back on the team’s practice squad in the past. This year, they have three options: Jackson, Troy’s Brandon Burks, and recent signee Brandon Ross. Our bet is that Jackson, the biggest of the bunch, earns the spot.
WR Herb Waters
We projected six wide receivers to make the cut this year, with Jared Abbrederis narrowly missing the roster. However, our bet is that Abby gets scooped up quickly by another team if he is indeed cut, and that he will not make it onto the practice squad. Waters possesses average build, but above-average speed and quickness; our guess is that he gets the nod over the taller but slower Geronimo Allison.
G Matt Rotheram
With the Packers projected to keep nine offensive linemen, there will probably be at least one held around on the practice squad. Rotheram still holds eligibility there, after being on that unit all of last season, and with both of the Packers’ starting guards set to be free agents, he could provide some valuable insurance.
DL B.J. McBryde
The Packers have a handful of intriguing young defensive linemen, and nose tackle Brian Price was heavily considered, but McBryde gets our vote in part because he has a prototypical 5-technique build and has a bit of experience with the Packers’ organization from last season.
OLB Reggie Gilbert
Three out of Green Bay’s seven outside linebackers will be unrestricted free agents next year (Peppers, Perry, and McCray), with another being restricted (Elliott). It would be a shock if the team would not at least try to keep Gilbert around as long as he shows progress in camp.
ILB Beniquez Brown
Yes, we project Ted Thompson to hold on to five inside linebackers, but Brown should land on the practice squad for depth purposes. He proved in college that he can be a productive tackler, and should be available after waivers process following final cuts.
CB Robertson Daniel
Daniel snuck onto the active roster for the Packers’ final playoff game last season, and he continues his transition from college safety to corner this year. His size (6’1”) sets him apart from the other Packers corners, and although we projected rookie Josh Hawkins to make the team, Daniel should still have a future in the organization.
CB Makinton Dorleant
Dorleant has not shown quite the same level of ball skills as Hawkins, which is why we have him on the practice squad. However, the Packers’ deep secondary can always use some additional talent in the pipeline, and Dorleant is the best of the rest of the rookie crop.
S Kentrell Brice
A few of us at APC put Brice on the final 53-man roster, but not enough to get him there on the overall projection. Instead, he lands on our practice squad prediction, by virtue of his big-hit ability and good ball skills. Brice would be able to contribute at either safety position, and he rounds out the ten-man squad nicely.
NOTE: The Packers released two players on the day that the organization was to begin training camp; those two players were B.J. McBryde and Don Jackson. So we’re off to a great start here.