With veteran free agency behind us, the Green Bay Packers’ 90-man roster has taken shape. With eight draft picks in the fold, a handful of undrafted rookies under contract, and several new faces arriving via free agency, there are plenty of new faces to get to know on this offseason’s roster.
Once again, Acme Packing Company has compiled a composite ranking of the 90-man roster, combining the rankings from several individual contributors. With the first group of players broken down on Monday, we move on from players 90-86 with the next group of five, players 85 through 81.
Interestingly, while each player in yesterday’s group is an undrafted rookie, this next group consists entirely of players who have already spent a year in the NFL, with most of them landing on practice squads in their initial season or seasons in the league. Combined, they have spent nine seasons in the NFL, but only once has any of these players made an initial 53-man roster out of training camp.
85: Tray Matthews, safety
The Packers acquired Matthews late last season, snagging him for the final month of the season and signing him to a futures contract after the year concluded. Matthews, a 6-foot-1, 213-pound safety from Auburn, signed with the Vikings a year ago as an undrafted free agent before being waived at the end of training camp and later receiving an injury settlement. He had a cup of coffee with the Colts on their practice squad but spent a good portion of the year out of football.
However, Matthews has decent speed and good burst for his size, as his RAS suggests. He also had an interception and either a forced fumble or fumble recovery in each of his four years in college football, and racked up some solid tackle numbers as well. He could challenge for a special teams slot and a deep spot on the depth chart with a good summer.
84: Mike Tyson, safety
Tyson is the newest Packer, claimed on waivers from the Houston Texans on Monday. APC elected to slot him in exactly where Matthew Eaton, the rookie wide receiver who was released to make room for Tyson, had been at the 84th spot.
Tyson spent last season with the Houston Texans, earning a call-up from the practice squad and playing in ten games, largely on special teams. His ball skills (five interceptions as a senior at the University of Cincinnati) make him more of a candidate to help out as a deep safety than Matthews, but as with the other safety above, special teams would be his ticket onto the team.
83: Deon Simon, defensive lineman
The Packers signed Simon, a big 6-foot-4, 332-pound nose tackle, to their practice squad twice last season. But would you believe that last year was actually his fourth season in the NFL?
Somehow, Simon has been around the league since 2015, when the Jets drafted him in the seventh round. However, he only has 16 games of NFL roster experience, all coming in 2016 with New York. Interestingly, he remained with the Jets organization for a fourth training camp in 2018 before being released and landing briefly with the Titans prior to his stints in Green Bay.
However, he’s essentially a big space-eater on the line, with little pass-rush ability to speak of. Given how often the Packers line up with two interior pass-rushing linemen, it’s tough to see him cracking the 53 come September.
82: Anthony Coyle, offensive lineman
Coyle, a product of Fordham University, signed on with the Houston Texans after their rookie minicamp a year ago but missed out on the 53-man roster after camp. Instead, the Packers scooped him up onto the practice squad in late September and kept him there through the remainder of the season. The college left tackle is listed at guard on the Packers’ roster.
Unfortunately for Coyle, the return of Cole Madison and the drafting of Elgton Jenkins in round two puts a further squeeze on the depth players on the interior of the offensive line.
81: Eric Cotton, defensive lineman
Cotton is an interesting prospect; despite being listed at a similar size to first-round draft pick Rashan Gary — Cotton is 6-foot-4 and 272 pounds while Gary is 6-foot-5 and 277 — he is classified as a defensive linemen while Gary got a linebacker designation.
Cotton is no stranger to fluid positions, however. He played tight end for two years at Stanford, catching seven passes for 128 yards and a touchdown, before switching to the defensive line. There, he picked up three sacks in his lone year with significant playing time. Projecting as a sub-package interior rusher, it seems that bulking up this offseason in order to find a position on base downs would be critical for his roster chances this fall.
Stay tuned on Wednesday as we keep the countdown going with players 80 through 76.