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Packers sign RB Patrick Taylor to roster, 2 to practice squad

Welcome to Green Bay, Dede Westbrook and Tim Ward.

NFL: JAN 09 Packers at Lions Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Following the releases of receiver Amari Rodgers and running back Kylin Hill, the Green Bay Packers announced on Tuesday that they have signed running back Patrick Taylor to their 53-man roster. Taylor started the season on the practice squad, was elevated to the active roster in September and moved back down to the practice squad when Hill was activated off of the physically unable to perform list. After two weeks of Hill, the Packers have chosen to ride with Taylor as their RB3 moving forward.

Green Bay has one open roster spot on their 53-man roster currently, which is expected to be filled by receiver Randall Cobb when he’s activated off of the injured reserve. Last week, quarterback Aaron Rodgers stated on The Pat McAfee Show that Cobb was ready to play in games but his four-week injured reserve stint needed to toll before he was allowed to return to action. As of now, assume that Cobb is going to play against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football, especially now that the team is down a body in the receiver room with the release of Rodgers.

The Packers also announced that they’ve signed two players to their practice squad today: pass-rusher Tim Ward and receiver Dede Westbrook. Ward was an undrafted player in the 2019 draft class who has spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets. In total, Ward has played 248 defensive snaps over 12 NFL games, mostly coming with the Jets last season.

The outside linebacker position is one that Green Bay is struggling to fill in the absence of starter Rashan Gary. Earlier in the season, Jonathan Garvin was a healthy scratch as practice squad outside linebackers were given gameday elevations. Now Garvin is the team’s third pass-rusher behind Preston Smith and rookie fifth-round pick Kingsley “JJ” Enagbare. Practice squadder La’Darius Hamilton, who has played twice in the last four weeks, only has one elevation remaining before the team must use a 53-man roster spot to play him on Sundays. It wouldn’t be out of the question to see Ward get some actual live-action for the Packers this season.

Westbrook has 170 receptions, 1,788 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns in his NFL career. He was originally a fourth-round pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars and played with the Minnesota Vikings for 15 games in 2021. He also has fielded 69 punt returns and seven kick returns in the NFL, which is important context now that Rodgers is out of the return game picture. He joins Juwann Winfree, whose elevations are exhausted, Travis Fulgham and Jeff Cotton as receivers on the Packers’ current practice squad.