In 2019, the Green Bay Packers’ roster looks very different from how it appeared at the end of the 2018 season. A large group of free agents, draft picks, and undrafted rookies will come to training camp to challenge for roster spots and a role on the team’s regular season 53-man roster. Over two weeks, Acme Packing Company will break down the roster position-by-position and reveal our compiled predictions for the 53-man roster.
APC has hit on every position group over the past two weeks, so now let’s break down the full roster prediction for the Packers in its entirety. The Packers have traditionally kept a few more defensive players than offensive guys after final cuts, and that is our expectation again this year — 24 on offense and 26 on defense.
To get there, however, there were some tough cuts, and at this point there are no undrafted rookies in our projections. Plenty have chances at making the team, particularly at linebacker and offensive line, but right now the odds are in favor of veterans and draft picks making up the entire 53.
Here’s the complete breakdown.
Aaron Rodgers, DeShone Kizer
There are no big surprises here; we can’t find a way to keep a third quarterback given the other needs on the roster, and Kizer gets the nod over Tim Boyle as the number two.
Others receiving votes: Tim Boyle (1)
Running Backs (3)
Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, Dexter Williams
No fullback? That’s right — with the Packers keeping four tight ends, as you’ll see shortly, we don’t have room for Danny Vitale. Instead, three tailbacks make the squad, including rookie Dexter Williams, who should be a great fit for the zone run game.
Others receiving votes: Danny Vitale (4)
Wide Receivers (6)
Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison, Equanimeous St. Brown, Jake Kumerow, Trevor Davis
Once again, we could not keep an extra receiver, so six is the number we’re sticking with. Davis makes the team primarily as a special teamer, while Kumerow gets the last spot over J’Mon Moore due to his apparent chemistry with Rodgers.
Others receiving votes: J’Mon Moore (5)
Tight Ends (4)
Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis, Robert Tonyan, Jace Sternberger
This one was pretty straightforward. Unless Tonyan falls off dramatically in training camp or an injury strikes, this should be the group. There’s flexibility here as well, as a few of these players can line up at H-back as well as split wide or in the slot.
Offensive Linemen (9)
David Bakhtiari, Lane Taylor, Corey Linsley, Billy Turner, Bryan Bulaga, Elgton Jenkins, Justin McCray, Lucas Patrick, Jason Spriggs
The starting five looks solid and Jenkins will be a key backup on the interior. But beyond that six, the rest of the reserves are up in the air. Don’t be shocked if a rookie finds his way onto the team, but we’re going with a trio of veterans to provide backup.
Others receiving votes: Cole Madison (5), Alex Light (2), Yosh Nijman (1)
Defensive Linemen (6)
Kenny Clark, Mike Daniels, Dean Lowry, Montravius Adams, Tyler Lancaster, Kingsley Keke
On a two-man line, Clark and Daniels are no-brainers. The question is whether Lancaster does enough in camp to keep his roster spot, and if one of the other young players can find a way onto the 53. We’re betting on the Northwestern product to improve his pass-rushing abilities and make the team.
Others receiving votes: Fadol Brown (4)
Outside Linebackers (5)
Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Kyler Fackrell, Rashan Gary, Reggie Gilbert
Doesn’t this group look different from last year? It’s exciting to think about the Smiths and Gary bringing an infusion of youth, talent, and energy to this group. Get ready for a four- or five-OLB package on occasion, particularly on third and long. Gilbert gets the last spot in a narrow vote over last year’s 7th-round pick Kendall Donnerson. This could also be a place for an undrafted rookie to sneak onto the team, but we aren’t quite ready to put our faith in Randy Ramsey or Greg Roberts (starting on the PUP list) just yet.
Others receiving votes: Kendall Donnerson (4), Greg Roberts (1)
Inside Linebackers (4)
Blake Martinez, Oren Burks, James Crawford, Ty Summers
With Burks establishing himself as a starter in offseason practices, he is the expected starter this year next to Martinez. Crawford and Summers will provide talent in reserve and special teams roles, but keep an eye out for Curtis Bolton as a sneaky pick.
Others receiving votes: Curtis Bolton (2)
Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage, Raven Greene, Josh Jones, Natrell Jamerson
Another new-look position, the starting lineup will be entirely different this season. Despite Jones being disgruntled, our bet is that he still ends up on the squad — but a trade might not be out of the question. Greene returns with a bulked-up upper body to provide important depth, and after a late-season pickup, Jamerson makes the team as a hybrid safety/slot corner.
Others receiving votes: Mike Tyson (1)
Jaire Alexander, Kevin King, Tramon Williams, Josh Jackson, Tony Brown, Ka’Dar Hollman
Given King’s injury history, keeping six corners seems like a good option — and both Williams and Jamerson can contribute all over the defensive backfield. Alexander will be in line as CB1, but if Jackson can take a step as CB4 and the Packers get any useful reps out of Brown and Hollman, this will be a really solid group.
Others receiving votes: Javien Hamilton (1)
Mason Crosby, JK Scott, Hunter Bradley
We don’t think Sam Ficken can beat Crosby for the kicking job, so the veteran runs it back for a 13th year. The other two players are incumbents working unopposed in camp, and there’s no reason to deviate from them.
Others receiving votes: Sam Ficken (3)