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Packers 53-man roster: Projecting the last three in and first three out

With a final preseason game to play, here is one take on the roster’s six biggest bubble players.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

And it’s down to one.

One final preseason game. One final showcase for many players desperately clinging to roster spots. And one more opportunity for others to surprise.

For the Green Bay Packers, the bulk of the roster has rather solidified itself. But as usual, the last few places on the 53-man list remain question marks heading into a fourth preseason game. Depth in the defensive backfield, as well as across the offensive line, figures to affect the final numbers. Meanwhile, quarterback suddenly has become a conceivable three-man position group once again.

Before the Packers kick off against the Kansas City Chiefs, here is a look at my last three players earning spots before opening week and the first three that will be sent packing.

Last Three In

1. Tim Boyle, QB

With the trade of Brett Hundley on Wednesday, the early report is that the Packers will choose to keep three quarterbacks on the initial 53-man roster. After the New Orleans Saints scooped up Taysom Hill in the training camp aftermath a season ago, the thought behind retaining Boyle is that the Packers would avoid a repeat situation. Although he would be a great fit as a developmental prospect on the practice squad, Boyle has a good chance to be claimed if waived. The Packers will also get at least one week to make a longer-term decision on Boyle with Aaron Jones serving a first-game suspension. Boyle is the safest of the last three in at this point after exceeding expectations from the jump.

2. Raven Greene, S

Greene is one of three undrafted rookies to make my final roster. With so much up-and-down play from the fairly young position group, I think the Packers will choose to keep five safeties. That number should include Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Kentrell Brice, and Josh Jones as locks and Jermaine Whitehead as a versatile defensive back with special teams value. It leaves Greene, Marwin Evans, and Quinten Rollins fighting for one backup safety spot. By this point, the Packers have been given a clearer idea of the talent they have in Evans and Rollins and it is not anything extravagant. With greater long-term potential, Greene can be groomed into a contributor down the road while aiding on special teams. He figures to get plenty of snaps to state his case against Kansas City.

3. Greer Martini, LB

The former tryout player Martini has done nothing but give himself a legitimate chance at a final spot despite his long-shot label at the start. As a player who gained first team reps at inside linebacker and on special teams at various points of camp, Martini is a tough cut and sneaks on to the final roster despite the acquisition of Antonio Morrison and coverage skills of Ahmad Thomas. The injury to Oren Burks and the unknowns surrounding Morrison in Green Bay could be enough to warrant an extra inside linebacker at the beginning of the season. Martini has had his share of rookie mistakes, but he’s also shown enough “football smarts” to pick up the defense quickly and earn another round of training.

Last Three Out

1. Demetri Goodson, CB

Goodson has been on the wrong side of several 50-50 balls in live preseason action, but he’s made a tremendous comeback from a gruesome knee injury a couple seasons ago. He’s earned more playing time and holds quite a bit of special teams value on kickoffs and punts to have a chance at the final roster. Although I still like the project Herb Waters, who has had a quiet camp overall, I think Goodson is the choice if the Packers keep a sixth cornerback. But at this moment, I project Goodson to be left looking elsewhere for active roster duty.

2. Dillon Day, C

If I were polled last week, I would have given Day a final roster spot. However, with the sheer snap count of Adam Pankey in Oakland and his ability to play several positions, Day finds himself on the outside looking in. Kyle Murphy’s struggles at tackle also help Pankey’s case, while the strong possibility of a waiver-wire pickup at tackle works against Day. The capable versatility of Justin McCray and Lucas Patrick to play center trumps Day, who holds little positional value outside of center. The Packers have about two too few spots to keep a true backup center and instead carry potential fill-ins at guard and tackle to begin the season.

3. Robert Tonyan, TE

After a preseason game that put him on the radar against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tonyan was rather quiet against Oakland with Emanuel Byrd actually getting the most attention of the backup tight ends. But Tonyan has another exhibition game to showcase his receiving skills that happen to be his biggest asset. With Lance Kendricks and Marcedes Lewis on one-year contracts, Green Bay has time to develop another tight end alongside Jimmy Graham. Tonyan’s six-foot-five frame and time spent in the Packers’ system give him a fighting chance, but with the promising recent news for Boyle, Tonyan shoots for a practice squad stint instead.