With veteran free agency essentially concluded and the 2019 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, Acme Packing Company will once again rank and break down the Green Bay Packers’ 90-man roster.
These rankings represent a composite of the individual selections from several APC contributors. Today, we reveal players 55 through 51, a group that includes several top backups including a potential No. 2 quarterback.
55: Adam Pankey, OL
Since arriving in Green Bay as an undrafted free agent in 2017, Adam Pankey has ping ponged between the 53-man roster and practice squad. His size and positional versatility remain his strongest traits and provide him with a path towards a roster spot this upcoming season. At the same time, he trails much of his competition in terms of athleticism and hasn’t developed to the point where the coaches feel comfortable regularly activating him on game days.
The arrival of Matt LaFleur and the new coaching staff give Pankey a fresh start. If the third-year man can show improvement, perhaps he can vault several backups and become one of the seven or so offensive linemen active each week. Pankey will have to overcome his shortcomings as an athlete, a problem that appears greater in LaFleur’s offense than in that of his predecessor.
54: Tim Boyle, QB
Undrafted rookie quarterbacks face considerable challenges in the NFL. Most don’t receive enough repetitions during training camp and the preseason to adequately demonstrate their abilities to the coaching staff and front office, and even the lucky few that do must work alongside back-of-the-roster talent. As a consequence, most of those signal-callers will find themselves without a job come the September’s final cuts.
In 2018, Tim Boyle went undrafted following a mediocre collegiate career that included stops at Connecticut and Eastern Kentucky. He joined a Packers roster that included three other quarterbacks: two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers, former draft pick Brett Hundley, and then-recent acquisition DeShone Kizer. Accordingly, the odds suggested Boyle would most likely wash out of Green Bay and perhaps the league as a whole.
Instead, Boyle became the rare third passer retained on the Packers’ season-opening active roster. Boyle’s strong arm and athleticism made him arguably the team’s most impressive quarterback after Rodgers during the preseason. That, along with Green Bay’s experience of losing Taysom Hill during final cuts a year earlier, convinced general manager Brian Gutekunst not to risk Boyle on waivers.
This time around, Boyle will enter training camp on more even footing with the other backup candidates and, with a year of experience under his belt, should come better equipped to internalize an NFL offense.
53: Alex Light, OL
Another undrafted holdover from last year’s roster, Alex Light saw limited action in 2018 as he continued to develop his craft. The 6-foot-5, 309 offensive lineman out of Richmond can play multiple positions and fill in on special teams and possesses above-average athleticism, a combination that puts him in strong position to make another run at the roster in 2019.
Though the Packers could open up both guard spots to competition, Light seems unlikely to force his way into either position battle. Lane Taylor and offseason acquisitions Billy Turner and Elgton Jenkins will likely produce the two starters with the third laying claim to the top inside backup job. Still, Light’s ability to play tackle could warrant a long look for a game-day reserve role.
52: Cole Madison, OL
When the Packers selected Cole Madison in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, they anticipated the rookie offensive lineman competing for the open job at right guard. Instead, Madison left the team following rookie minicamp to deal with some personal issues stemming from the suicide of one of his former college teammates. Madison sat out the entire season, leaving the team and many others to assume he had walked away from football for good.
Instead, Madison surprisingly reported to the Packers’ offseason workouts before last month’s draft. Though a year away from the sport could negatively affect Madison’s game, the team remains intrigued by his potential. He should compete for a roster spot immediately and, if he impresses during training camp and the preseason, Madison might win one of the top backup jobs along the offensive line.
51: Ka’Dar Hollman, CB
Before Ka’Dar Hollman became a standout corner at Toledo, he unloaded trucks and worked in a bread factory while trying to attract interest from college programs. His hard work eventually paid off, with Hollman becoming a sixth-round pick last month.
The Packers will lean heavily on Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson, Kevin King, and Tramon Williams as their top cornerbacks this season, at least until injuries intervene. Any other player at the position will have to earn their job by contributing on special teams. Hollman’s athletic tools (73rd percentile in SPARQ) profile well to kick coverages and other such roles, giving the team something to use immediately as well as corner talent to develop in the long term.