The Packers’ initial 53-man roster is out! Well, it’s technically no longer their initial 53-man roster, because they’ve already made moves after the cut to 53 and there are more moves on the way this week.
Still! We now have a real, actual look at what the 2023 Packers are going to look like. What are the best and worst parts of the roster? We asked our writers, and here’s what they had to say.
Best: They largely prioritized players over special teams duties
The 2023 Green Bay Packers are probably not going to be legitimate contenders, so it makes sense that in the roster construction, they prioritize players that have upside on the two more valuable sides of the ball (offense/defense) vs special teams specialists. Bissacia still got to keep a couple guys who made the roster almost entirely for their ST prowess (Dalin Leavitt chief among them), but guys like Patrick Taylor, Corey Ballentine, and Tarvarius Moore didn’t crack the final roster despite having more ST experience than the guys who made it in their stead.
Worst: Still no NFL safeties on this team
There’s not really much Green Bay could do about this. They’re completely broke in terms of cap room and the safety room reflects that, but oh boy it’s bad.
Best: 3 RBs!! This should have seemed inevitable when you realize Jones will likely be gone next year, and Dillon is not your starter even if he returns. Keeping Emanuel Wilson allows the Packers to get a great look at someone who could potentially take over that RB1 spot next year. This season is all about evaluating where their biggest holes are, and this position is no different.
Worst: CB depth. While I like the guys who made the cut, I’m extremely concerned if one of them goes down during a game. Yes, Stokes will be eligible to play after four games, but it remains to be seen how far along in his recovery he’ll be at that point. I won’t be surprised if there’s a free agent addition at this position mid-season.
Best: I love the depth at offensive tackle. Caleb Jones is a project for the time being, but he will have time to grow with some great mentorship. Can already see the future of the position. Keeping Love standing and letting him have the space to be successful is clearly a priority. There is absolutely no depth anywhere else on the line and some of the tackles might be asked to move inside if there are issues, but keeping those edges clear is a clear long-term plan. Just one of the moves here that demonstrates that the Packers are playing the long game.
Worst: In most places on this team, I can see the long-term goals of these cuts and where the players are. Safety and running back are the places where the long-term has not been well put in place. Emmanuel Wilson is the only future option on this team and was among the slowest backs in camp and the lowest RAS in that position group. He seems like a stable add for this year, but not a long-term hope to start. There is no long-term plan at safety, but worse, there is really no current plan either.
Best: I like the balance at receiver between the core guys and developmental options. The assumption going in was that Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, and Jayden Reed would be the Packers’ top three options, and that was borne out through camp. Watson still looked explosive, Doubs took strides in his consistency, and Reed looks like their best traditional slot option since prime Randall Cobb (not that there have been many other contenders). But after those top three, the Packers were able to choose from a number of competitive players. Samori Toure, Dontayvion Wicks, and Malik Heath survived a spirited battle throughout camp, with Heath leading the charge despite not having overwhelming physical tools. The Packers seem to have gotten everything they wanted at receiver, and now we get to see how it all gels together.
Worst: It’s safety, for reasons outlined by just about everyone above. The Packers have had ample opportunity over the past two offseasons to add someone, anyone at safety and have declined at every turn. We’re going to get to watch a real-time case study of how much a defensive front can help a secondary this year, because boy they’re going to need it.