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An updated Packers 53-man roster projection

Take a look at what your Packers might look like against the Chicago Bears in Week 1.

Green Bay Packers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The preseason is one of the best times of the year for football fans. You get to see the depth of the roster for three games and get a glimpse at the names that your team is thinking about keeping come September.

Taking into account of our training camp notes, the snap counts of players in the preseason opener — including special teams — and the players who have been flashing on the field, we’re going to take our best crack at nailing down what the Green Bay Packers’ roster will look like in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears.

We’ll go position-by-position, noting who we think will make the roster and mentioning the notable names — if there are any — who just missed the cut. Follow along and drop a note down in the comment section below if you see the roster shaking out any differently.

Quarterback (2)

In: Jordan Love and Sean Clifford

There’s really little to talk about on the quarterback front for the Packers, at least in terms of the players who are going to make the roster. Jordan Love is going to be the starting quarterback for the team after they traded Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets this offseason and rookie fifth-round Sean Clifford has a clear path to win the backup job.

Just a week ago, the Packers’ number two quarterback throughout the spring and summer — Danny Etling — was released so that Clifford and then fourth-string quarterback Alex McGough could be bumped up a line on the depth chart. Against the Cincinnati Bengals in the preseason opener, Clifford had 26 dropbacks to McGough’s one, which officially ended in a sack. While the third-quarterback rule has changed, allowing teams to bring an extra quarterback off the inactives list in limited situations in-game, general manager Brian Gutekunst has already stated that the rule change will not impact the team-building of the team until the postseason.

Running Back (3)

In: Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon and Patrick Taylor

Just Missed: Lew Nichols and Tyler Goodson

Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are roster locks, as they should share the load of the backfield for a third straight season. The question here is who the third running back will be, an issue the Packers have had since Kylin Hill went down with an ACL tear against the Arizona Cardinals in 2021.

Over and over again, head coach Matt LaFleur has stated that the third running back position will come down to who can add value as a pass blocker and special teams player. While no other back other than Dillon and Jones saw first-team offensive snaps in the Packers’ preseason opener Patrick Taylor did start on two special teams units, while Tyler Goodson only saw a “starting” snap on the kick return team. Goodson was the actual kick returner for Green Bay versus Cincinnati, a role that cornerback and 2022 First-Team All-Pro kick returner Keisean Nixon will likely fill during the regular season. As of now, I have the tie-breaker between Taylor, Goodson and rookie seventh-round pick Lew Nichols — who has battled with an injury, as of late — going to Taylor for his special teams contributions.

Wide Receiver (5)

In: Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Samori Toure and Dontayvion Wicks

Just Missed: Bo Melton, Malik Heath and Grant DuBose

The number of receivers that the Packers carry into Week 1 will be interesting. We know that special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia loves to roster many safeties, as the team carried as many as six at the position during Bisaccia’s first year with the team, but the cornerback position is also deep. If you’re thinking about similar body types, rostering 10 or more defensive backs comes at the cost of more receivers.

It would a pretty big upset if any of Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Samori Toure or Dontayvion Wicks were released at cutdowns. All but Wicks, who was the fifth receiver on Family Night, saw snaps with the first-team offense against the Bengals.

The sixth receiver spot could go to any of Bo Melton, Malik Heath or rookie draft pick Grant DuBose, who only recently was activated from the non-football injury list after dealing with a back issue. At this point, though, do they warrant a roster spot? That’s something to keep an eye on as the preseason unfolds.

Tight End/Fullback (4)

In: Luke Musgrave, Josiah Deguara, Tucker Kraft and Austin Allen

Just Missed: Henry Pearson

Rookie second-round pick Luke Musgrave looks to be the Packers’ starting tight end, though, Josiah Deguara is now officially listed as a “fullback” on the team, even though it would be surprising if his off-ball tight end role changed in 2023.

With the recent injury to Tyler Davis, who reportedly tore his ACL in Cincinnati, that moves third-round rookie Tucker Kraft up a line on the depth chart and gives a legitimate chance for Austin Allen, a member of the 2022 practice squad, to earn a 53-man roster spot. Davis started on every single one of the Packers’ core special teams units in Week 1 of the preseason, which means they need another special teams player of a similar frame to fill in Davis’ role. Allen, who blocked a punt earlier in training camp, has a clear path to make this roster now.

Offensive Line (10)

In: David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Jon Runyan Jr., Zach Tom, Yosh Nijman, Royce Newman, Rasheed Walker, Sean Rhyan and Caleb Jones

Just Missed: Jake Hanson and Luke Tenuta

Seven offensive linemen have worked in with the first-team offense thus far through training camp: David Bakhtiari (LT), Elgton Jenkins (LG), Josh Myers (C), Jon Runyan Jr. (RG), Zach Tom (LG, C and RT), Yosh Nijman (LT and RT) and Rasheed Walker (LT). You can safely bet that they and Royce Newman, who appears to be the first guard off the bench if there’s an injury, will make this team.

Behind them, Sean Rhyan and Caleb Jones, a pair of 2022 debuts, are next in the pecking order. With how the Packers have been moving around players to center — including Runyan — this summer, it’s uncertain if the team needs a true second-string center. That puts Jake Hanson’s job in jeopardy. Luke Tenuta was a player who Green Bay stashed on their roster last season, but was carted off the field in Cincinnati with an injury and seems to be slipping behind the likes of Walker and Jones on the tackle depth chart.

If the Packers only roster 10 offensive linemen at the cut deadline, which is very possible, then Hanson and Tenuta might become tough cuts for Green Bay.

Defensive Line (6)

In: Kenny Clark, Devonte Wyatt, TJ Slaton, Colby Wooden, Karl Brooks and Jonathan Ford

The defensive line is arguably the position where the Packers have the least amount of depth on the roster. Kenny Clark is moving from the nose tackle position to the defensive end position this year, allowing Devonte Wyatt (end) and TJ Slaton (nose) to become first-time starters in their NFL careers.

Behind that front line, Green Bay has two Day 3 rookies in Colby Wooden and Karl Brooks and a second-year seventh-round pick in Jonathan Ford, who didn’t play in a single game in 2022 — despite being on the 53-man roster for the entire season. The only question here is if the team wants to hang onto Ford or go light with their defensive line numbers and only roster five of them.

Outside Linebacker (5)

In: Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, Justin Hollins, Lukas Van Ness and Kinsgley Enagbare

Just Missed: Brenton Cox

With Rashan Gary coming off of the PUP list, it seems like the Packers’ five-man outside linebacker rotation is set. Gary and Preston Smith will start for the team, while Justin Hollins, Lukas Van Ness and Kingsley Enagbare come off the bench when the starters need a breather.

Hollins and Enagbare were both surprising contributors for Green Bay in 2022, and they — along with Van Ness, a first-round rookie — have all worked in with the first-team defense in training camp. Undrafted rookie Brenton Cox has flashed this summer, but it’s highly unlikely that the team will hang onto six players at a two-starter position. If Cox continues to perform the way he did against the Bengals, though, he almost certainly will be picked up by another team on the waiver wire.

Inside Linebacker (5)

In: De’Vondre Campbell, Quay Walker, Eric Wilson, Isaiah McDuffie and Tariq Carpenter

Inside linebacker is a pretty cut-and-dry position. De’Vondre Campbell and Quay Walker are the starters, while Eric Wilson and Isaiah McDuffie are competing to be the next man up at the position. Wilson and McDuffie are also significant special teams contributors, as is Tariq Carpenter — who is moving from safety to inside linebacker this year.

Cornerback (5)

In: Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas, Keisean Nixon, Carrington Valentine and Corey Ballentine

Just Missed: Shemar Jean-Charles

Injured: Eric Stokes (PUP, ankle)

No one is really sure when Eric Stokes is going to return to the field, which could cause a ripple effect throughout the roster. Currently, he’s on the PUP list with an ankle injury that ended his 2022 season prematurely, making him the final player on the Packers’ injury list — until Davis is officially placed on IR.

At outside cornerback, the current plan is to play Jaire Alexander and Rasul Douglas near the sideline, while Keisean Nixon handles the slot duties. Rookie seventh-round pick Carrington Valentine has stolen the show this preseason, though, which might make the Packers reevaluate their secondary, eventually.

On top of that Corey Ballentine is a significant special teams player for the team, giving the roster pretty close to five cornerback locks. Even with Stokes out, that leaves Shemar Jean-Charles, who had a nice game against the Bengals, on the outside looking in.

Safety (5)

In: Darnell Savage, Jonathan Owens, Tarvarius Moore, Rudy Ford and Dallin Leavitt

Just Missed: Anthony Johnson Jr.

Up until two weeks ago, it looked like Rudy Ford was going to be the safety who started opposite of Darnell Savage in 2023. Just prior to Family Night, though, Jonathan Owens overtook him for the second safety role. In the preseason opener, Ford was fourth in the pecking order behind Savage, Owens and Tarvarius Moore. Ford also didn’t start on a single special teams unit, which is where he made most of his money over the course of his NFL career.

Maybe Ford has been put on notice, but Owens, Moore and Dallin Leavitt are notable special teams contributors for the Packers right now. Looming behind this group of five is rookie seventh-round pick Anthony Johnson Jr., who impressed versus Cincinnati. Green Bay probably cannot keep six safeties on this roster, if Carpenter is considered an inside linebacker, which will make for at least one tough cut at the position.

Special Teams (3)

In: Pat O’Donnell, Anders Carlson and Matt Orzech

Just Missed: Daniel Whelan

I’m going to give the punting job to Pat O’Donnell here, only because he was already paid out some money that carries a dead cap into the 2024 season for a post-June 1st release. By all accounts, though, Daniel Whelan has impressed just as much as O’Donnell in camp thus far.

Anders Carlson is missing PATs, but he’s also the only kicker on the roster and was a draft pick. That’s just the reality of the situation, as the team attempts to develop him.

Matt Orzech is getting the first opportunity on long snapping duty over Broughton Hatcher, who was signed after a successful rookie minicamp workout earlier this spring. That’s about as much long snapping analysis as you’re going to get out of me.