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Packers elevate 2 practice squadders for game against the Saints

CB Corey Ballentine is set to make his 2023 debut on Sunday.

Green Bay Packers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

On Saturday, the Green Bay Packers announced that they will elevate running back Patrick Taylor and cornerback Corey Ballentine to the gameday roster against the New Orleans Saints. This marks Taylor’s third call-up of the regular season. That means that if the Packers would like to use him in a game moving forward, they’ll have to promote him to the 53-man roster.

Last week against the Atlanta Falcons, with starter Aaron Jones out, Taylor out-snapped Emanuel Wilson — who is on the 53-man roster — 11 to 5 on the offensive side of the ball. Jones, who is still dealing with a hamstring issue, was officially listed as “questionable” by the Packers on Friday.

Ballentine’s elevation is his first of the season, meaning that he has two potential elevations remaining for the rest of the regular season. In Week 1 and Week 2, special teams ace and backup nickelback Innis Gaines was the team’s lone defensive call-up.

Ballentine’s elevation can be seen in two ways. First, maybe the Packers just want to keep Gaines’ final call-up holstered for later in the season. Second, maybe the Packers think that they’re going to need cornerback depth on Sunday.

Starting corner Jaire Alexander popped up on the injury report late this week with a back injury. With Eric Stokes (ankle) still on the physically unable to perform list, the Packers only have four cornerbacks on the team — including Keisean Nixon, who only plays in the slot. If Alexander can’t go, that would leave the Packers with just Rasul Douglas and Carrington Valentine as outside cornerback options on the 53-man roster.

Ballentine, a surprise release at cutdowns, could provide Green Bay with some depth on defense in the second situation. Ballentine also contributed on special teams last season in similar roles that Gaines has filled: as a gunner on punt team and as a jammer on punt return.