It’s officially decision-making time for the Green Bay Packers. Roster cuts are due in a little over 24 hours — the deadline is 4:00 PM Eastern on Saturday — at which time the Packers must be down from 90 players on their active roster to 53.
As always, APC has put together a final roster prediction, compiling the submissions from 11 separate contributors to get our final blog picks. The combined roster has a pair of undrafted rookies making the squad — quarterback Tim Boyle and safety Raven Greene — while a handful of other undrafted players like tight end Robert Tonyan make the team as well.
Here’s a look at our consensus roster by position, as well as players who did not make it but who received votes. Note that a number next to a player’s name indicates that he was not a unanimous selection. The number indicates how many votes (out of 11 possible) he received.
Quarterbacks (3): Aaron Rodgers, DeShone Kizer, Tim Boyle (8 votes)
The Packers made it clear before the game that they planned to keep all three passers on the final 53, and APC as a whole is taking them at their (reported) word, with eight of our 11 contributors sticking with all three. Brett Hundley’s departure cleared up the picture.
Tex’s Take: I think Boyle made enough mistakes on Thursday that the Packers could reasonably get him through to the practice squad. Once again, the arm talent was undeniable; however, if I’m another NFL GM, I saw enough errant throws and poor decisions to prevent me from seriously considering putting in a waiver claim on him. I’d take my chances and cut him loose.
Running Backs (3): Jamaal Williams, Ty Montgomery, Aaron Ripkowski (10)
Others receiving votes: Joel Bouagnon (1), LeShun Daniels (1)
The overwhelming opinion from our contributors is that the Packers will keep just two tailbacks on the roster to start (since Aaron Jones will go on the reserve/suspended list at that time). With Montgomery banged up, however, that could change over the weekend when other teams’ cuts come down.
Tex’s Take: I think the group nailed it here; there should be a handful of intriguing backs showing up on the waiver wire, and I would not be surprised if Brian Gutekunst puts in a claim or two. Detroit’s Ameer Abdullah could be on the cut list, and I think he could be a good depth piece.
Wide Receivers (7): Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown (10), J’Mon Moore (9), Trevor Davis (6)
Others receiving votes: Jake Kumerow (3)
As a group, APC doesn’t feel that any of the three rookie receivers will pass through waivers to the practice squad. However, six of the eleven of us do expect that they will keep seven receivers on the team. That means that the top vote-getter, Trevor Davis, finds his way onto our prediction. It was close — Jake Kumerow got a few votes despite missing the final two preseason games. Also, two contributors cut J’Mon Moore, in part because of comments on the broadcast last night where James Lofton noticed his tendency to leave his mouthpiece out on running plays.
Tex’s Take: I went back and forth here, but I ended up as one of the people who kept just six, sticking with the three rookies and going without Davis or Kumerow. I think Davis’ fumble on a punt return on Thursday was the death knell for his roster chances. He does have practice squad eligibility remaining, as does Kumerow, so I think that one or the other will get through waivers to the practice squad.
Tight Ends (4): Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis, Lance Kendricks (10), Robert Tonyan (7)
Another big game for Big Bob gets him on our roster projection. He doesn’t really play special teams, an oddity for a tight end on a Packers roster, but he made several tough catches and had a pair of preseason touchdowns. He could make for an interesting piece in the passing game.
Tex’s Take: I’m in agreement with the group here — I think Tonyan did enough to justify a roster spot, particularly since I’m going without a seventh wideout.
Offenisve Line (9): David Bakhtiari, Lane Taylor, Corey Linsley, Justin McCray, Bryan Bulaga, Jason Spriggs, Lucas Patrick, Byron Bell, Adam Pankey (6)
Also receiving votes: Dillon Day (4)
Nine of us kept either nine or ten linemen on the roster, and Pankey beat out Day as the last man on at the position. All four of these backups are capable of playing multiple positions, a bonus for Mike McCarthy and offensive line coach Mike Trgovac.
Tex’s Take: I’m honestly a bit surprised that none of us kept Kyle Murphy on the team despite his injury. If there’s one player who got zero votes who I think still has a realistic chance of making the 53, it’s him because I still think the Packers believe his struggles last week were primarily injury-related. You could swap him in for Pankey and I wouldn’t be devastated. Still, I think Pankey has been the better player in camp and I’m certain he’s a better guard. Also, don’t let Jason Spriggs’ game on Thursday go unnoticed — he was actually quite solid.
Defensive Line (5): Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, Muhammad Wilkerson, Montravius Adams, Dean Lowry
Also receiving votes: James Looney (1), Tyler Lancaster (1)
Overall, this was a very consistent vote, with just two people differing. The starting line is set, with Adams backing up Daniels and Lowry behind Wilkerson. There’s really not much to say, as seventh-round rookie Looney hasn’t really stood out at all.
Tex’s Take: One of the concerns I have had this offseason is that if the Packers use a lot of three-man lines even in sub packages — which it appears that they will — Kenny Clark will see a lot of snaps on the nose without a true backup. That’s why I found room for Lancaster, who had a nice game on Thursday with six tackles including a pair of TFLs. You could slide Montravius Adams down for a few snaps here and there, but I would feel better with that extra body.
Outside Linebackers (5): Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Reggie Gilbert, Vince Biegel, Kyler Fackrell (8)
Also receiving votes: Kendall Donnerson (6), Chris Odom (1)
APC was struggling with whether to keep five or six players, and the big discussion has been around Fackrell and Donnerson. The rookie has flashed some nice plays and obviously he has exceptional athleticism, but not enough of us could see him sticking. Fackrell makes it despite ending up on the ground with regularity while rushing the passer.
Tex’s Take: Whether I like it or not, I think the Packers see Fackrell as their OLB4 and he plays special teams, so I think he’s on. As much as I love to see Wisconsin players make the team, Biegel was my bubble guy, but I saw a few nice flashes from him last night. He’s not consistent, but the effort level is always there and there are times when he looks like he’s capable of being an NFL player. That plus his special teams abilities have me keeping him over Donnerson.
Inside Linebackers (4): Blake Martinez, Oren Burks, Antonio Morrison, Ahmad Thomas (9)
Also receiving votes: Greer Martini (4)
This position had a pretty good consensus as well. Morrison looked good enough in his first game with the Packers to appear deserving of a roster spot — he diagnosed plays well and made a few nice tackles. If the Packers indeed need to decide between Thomas and Martini, we see them going with athleticism instead of toughness, particularly if Burks remains out for a bit. If Martini clears waivers, though, he’s a no-brainer for the practice squad as additional injury insurance.
Tex’s Take: I have been stumping for Martini all summer long, so it pained me to leave him off my roster. However, the Packers’ trade for Morrison squeezes him out in my eyes; the two players are more similar than they are different, and I see the different skill set that Thomas brings to the table being more of a necessity.
Safeties (5): Kentrell Brice, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Josh Jones, Raven Greene (8), Jermaine Whitehead (7)
Also receiving votes: Marwin Evans (5), Quinten Rollins (1)
The safety group was uninspiring all throughout the preseason, but Greene made a late push at the end and ended up beating out Whitehead and Evans for our fourth spot. Whitehead makes it at five, largely because he offers positional versatility as a slot corner in addition to playing safety.
Tex’s Take: I thought Greene quietly had a nice camp, and his forced fumble last week in Oakland was the kind of splash play that an undrafted rookie needs to make the team. He also looked good in run support on Thursday and he just looks more impactful than Evans has in similar playing time.
Cornerbacks (5): Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson, Kevin King, Tramon Williams, Davon House (10)
Also receiving votes: Demetri Goodson (6), Quinten Rollins (1), Herb Waters (1)
These five players are essentially locks; the big question was whether the Packers would keep a sixth player here. With a tie at positional numbers, the equation actually came down to whether Goodson or Robert Tonyan had more individual votes. Tonyan got the nod.
The rookies have given every indication that they can play early, while King had a nice pass breakup in the end zone on Thursday during his first preseason game action of the year. Special teams is a bit lacking here, but with Davis making our overall roster prediction, that helps on returns and punt coverage.
Tex’s Take: I left both Goodson and Davis off, and I realize that in doing so I’m robbing the Packers of two of their three best punt gunners (Josh Jones being the other). I think Whitehead or Greene can play that role though, and with Whitehead’s ability to help out at corner, I think the Packers can roll relatively comfortably with five true corners.
Mason Crosby, JK Scott, Zach Triner (7)
Also receiving votes: Hunter Bradley (4)
Seventh-round pick Hunter Bradley has struggled with his consistency in camp, while we’ve heard no such issues about Triner. That should be more than enough to sway it, especially since Bradley was just a late seventh-round draft pick.
Tex’s Take: Even if Justin Vogel had stuck around to compete with Scott, the Alabama rookie’s performance on Thursday would have sealed the deal. Scott averaged over 50 yards gross on four punts, including a 55-yarder out of his own end zone. It was one of the best performances I’ve seen in recent years from a Packers punter. As for the long-snapper, I actually wanted to keep neither of the two initially to free up a spot elsewhere and pick up someone on waivers (or maybe re-signing one of them in another day or two), but I ended up settling on keeping Triner instead.