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Packers Roster Predictions: APC picks the 53-man roster for 2016

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With one more day to go until final cuts, four APC writers give their guesses on the final roster.

NFL: Preseason-Cleveland Browns at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

In just over 24 hours, the Green Bay Packers will have their roster trimmed down to 53 players for the first time in 2016. The team needs to open up 22 spots to get down from the current 75-man roster, and there will surely be several difficult cuts upcoming.

On this Friday afternoon, we have roster predictions from four APC writers who have submitted their selections for the final 53. Let us know in the comments whose picks you agree and disagree with and what changes you would make.

The picks have come in from the following writers: Evan “Tex” Western, Jason B. Hirschhorn, Mike Vieth, and Kris Burke.

Offense

Quarterbacks

Tex, Jason, Mike, Kris: (2) Aaron Rodgers, Brett Hundley

This was about the only position where there was complete unanimity across the board, both with the players making the team and the player who is the starter. Surprised that Joe Callahan doesn’t make our cut and lands on the practice squad? Don’t be. Brett Hundley says he’s ready to go, and though Callahan showed promise, none of us feel that he will be poached before making it to the Packers’ practice squad.

Running Backs

Tex: (3) Eddie Lacy, James Starks, Aaron Ripkowski
Jason, Mike, Kris: (4) Eddie Lacy, James Starks, Brandon Burks, Aaron Ripkowski

Tex: I struggled somewhat with this pick, and ultimately landed on the Packers keeping just two tailbacks - at least on Saturday. Brandon Burks looked decent until Thursday night, when a fumble and ineffective running overall hurt his stock. My guess is that the Packers will let him walk and instead keep an eye on the waiver wire for a backup back. I would not be shocked if he does indeed land on the roster, but this is one of the few places I could cut a player to get seven wide receivers on the roster. On that note...

Wide Receivers

Tex: (7) Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis, Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis, Trevor Davis
Jason: (6) Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis, Trevor Davis
Mike: (6) Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis, Jeff Janis, Trevor Davis
Kris: (6) Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis, Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis

Sorry, Geronimo Allison fans: none of us could find a spot for him on the team at this point. What is a bit surprising are the names of the players that were left off rosters. Jason expects Abbrederis to miss out if Trevor Davis’ shoulder injury is not serious (you can read more about that here) but Kris does expect Davis to go on injured reserve. Meanwhile, Mike had a big surprise with Ty Montgomery not making the team. Could that be the result of a trade? Montgomery probably has as much if not more trade value than any other player on the unit save Nelson and Cobb.

Tight Ends

Tex, Kris: (3) Richard Rodgers, Jared Cook, Justin Perillo
Jason, Mike: (3) Jared Cook, Richard Rodgers, Justin Perillo

Here we were all unanimous about the players who will make the team, but the only difference was who we picked as starters - APC is split 50/50 on whether Rodgers or Cook will be given that honor. Does it matter all that much, since both will play extensively? Probably not.

Offensive Line

Tex, Mike, Kris: (9) David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, JC Tretter, T.J. Lang, Bryan Bulaga, Jason Spriggs, Lane Taylor, Kyle Murphy, Don Barclay
Jason: (8) David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, JC Tretter, T.J. Lang, Bryan Bulaga, Jason Spriggs, Lane Taylor, Kyle Murphy

Jason remains steadfast in his feeling that Barclay will not make the team, skipping on a ninth offensive lineman in favor of another player on defense. Taylor has had his issues this summer, but the team still appears to be okay with him moving forward - plus the only other established backup guard is Josh Walker, who was recently placed on injured reserve. We doubt that rookie Lucas Patrick has elevated himself over Taylor for now.

Defense

Defensive Line

Tex: (5) Mike Daniels, Letroy Guion, Dean Lowry, Kenny Clark, Brian Price
Jason: (5) Mike Daniels, Letroy Guion, Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Terrance Knighton
Mike, Kris: (5) Mike Daniels, Letroy Guion, Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Brian Price

Once again, Jason goes out on a limb here, projecting that the Packers will bring in veteran nose tackle Terrance Knighton to take the fifth lineman spot. The other three writers all feel that undrafted rookie Brian Price will get the job (with Mike Pennel suspended), but we differ slightly on the starters in the base; Tex projects Dean Lowry to start at the 5-tech based on how the last few weeks of the preseason have gone.

Outside Linebackers

Tex: (6) Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Julius Peppers, Datone Jones, Kyler Fackrell, Jayrone Elliott
Jason, Mike, Kris: (6) Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Nick Perry, Datone Jones, Kyler Fackrell, Jayrone Elliott

Tex: Once again the players remain the same, but I see a slightly different starting lineup, with Perry starting in place of Peppers. Ultimately, my view is that Perry is the better all-around player at this point, and that Peppers will be used as mainly a situational pass-rusher - at least early on in the season.

Inside Linebackers

Tex, Kris: (4) Jake Ryan, Blake Martinez, Sam Barrington, Carl Bradford
Jason: (5) Sam Barrington, Blake Martinez, Jake Ryan, Joe Thomas, Carl Bradford
Mike: (5) Jake Ryan, Sam Barrington, Blake Martinez, Carl Bradford, Joe Thomas

Two writers kept four on the inside (with Joe Thomas left off), and we have three different starting combinations represented - only Mike left rookie Blake Martinez out of the starting lineup. Does Joe Thomas’ special teams ability and okay-but-not-spectacular camp leave him on the outside looking in?

Cornerbacks

Tex: (6) Sam Shields, Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, LaDarius Gunter, Josh Hawkins, Robertson Daniel
Jason, Mike, Kris: (5) Sam Shields, Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, LaDarius Gunter, Josh Hawkins

Once again, Tex is the odd man out by keeping six players. Hawkins’ interception last night in Kansas City and strong game overall may have clinched him a spot on the team, but Daniel has been challenged heavily in practice this week and has largely played well. The Packers could like a player with his size, as only Gunter can match up with him physically.

Safeties

Tex, Mike: (5) Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Morgan Burnett, Micah Hyde, Chris Banjo, Kentrell Brice
Jason, Kris: (6) Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Morgan Burnett, Micah Hyde, Chris Banjo, Kentrell Brice, Marwin Evans

If you do keep 11 defensive backs, do you go with six corners and five safeties or vice versa? Brice remains a consistent presence on all our predictions, but Evans had an excellent last few weeks of camp and is threatening to crack the 53.

Special Teams

Tex, Jason, Mike, Kris: (3) Mason Crosby, Jacob Schum, Rick Lovato

Anybody have a complaint about Schum’s performance on Thursday? After just one practice and with the goal of punting to a spot, he had a better night overall than either Tim Masthay or Peter Mortell had at any point in the first three preseason games. Did Ted Thompson just find a diamond in the rough?

Practice Squad

Predicting the practice squad gets tough because there are so many variables to consider. Will other teams claim any of these players? What will the positional breakdown be? Here are our picks.

Tex: QB Joe Callahan, RB Brandon Burks, WR Geronimo Allison, TE Casey Pierce, G Lucas Patrick, DL Tyler Kuder, OLB Reggie Gilbert, ILB Joe Thomas, CB Makinton Dorleant, S Marwin Evans
Jason: QB Joe Callahan, RB Brandon Ross, WRs Jared Abbrederis & Geronimo Allison, TE Casey Pierce, G Lucas Patrick, DLs Brian Price & Tyler Kuder, OLB Reggie Gilbert, CB Robertson Daniel
Mike: QB Joe Callahan, RB Brandon Ross, WR Geronimo Allison, TE Casey Pierce, G Lucas Patrick, DL Tyler Kuder, OLB Reggie Gilbert, ILB Beniquez Brown, CB Makinton Dorleant, S Marwin Evans
Kris: QB Joe Callahan, WR Geronimo Allison, G Lucas Patrick, DL Tyler Kuder, OLB Reggie Gilbert, ILB Beniquez Brown, CB Robertson Daniel

Kris projected just seven current Packers to make the practice squad, with the other three slots being occupied by players currently on other teams’ rosters.