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And Then There Were 53

The Green Bay Packers will have to be down to 53 players by 4 ET on Saturday afternoon. Without being able to attend practices or watch preseason games, some of my projections are based completely off a player’s college tape. This makes the task far more challenging, but what the heck, I’m still going to give it a try.

QUARTERBACKS (3) Aaron Rodgers, Tim Boyle, and Jordan Love

The only real question since late April was whether Boyle or Love would be the backup to Rodgers, and that was pretty much answered the minute minicamps and OTAs were canceled. The raw Love needed offseason repetitions as much as any quarterback picked in the first round in recent memory.

RUNNING BACKS (5) Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, AJ Dillon, Tyler Ervin, and Dexter Williams

Including Dexter Williams is one of those projections based completely off college tape. The former Notre Dame star struggled last summer, and I don’t know how he looked this year. But he has legitimate skills, and with Jones and Jamaal Williams eligible for free agency after the season, why not keep a talented fourth running back over a less talented 10th offensive lineman, sixth wide receiver, or 11th defensive back?

TIGHT ENDS (4) Jace Sternberger, Marcedes Lewis, Robert Tonyan, and Josiah Deguara

Coach Matt LaFleur loves tight ends, and with no pure fullbacks on the 53, the Packers can go heavy at this position.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5) Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jake Kumerow, and Equanimeous St. Brown

With the practice squad expanded from 10 to 16 players, it makes no sense to keep more than five wide receivers on the 53. Plus, Ervin can line up here. The Packers can stash youngsters like Darrius Sheppard, Malik Taylor, and Reggie Begelton on the PS since there’s very little chance of them getting claimed off waivers.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9) David Bakhtiari, Billy Turner, Elgton Jenkins, Lane Taylor, Corey Linsley, Rick Wagner, Alex Light, Lucas Patrick, and Jon Runyan

I don’t like keeping nine offensive linemen, but Turner’s minor knee injury complicates things a bit. Light is the only player who took snaps at left tackle during training camp, although I’d replace him with veteran Jared Veldheer, who remains unsigned. It would be risky to expose Runyan to waivers. I’m not sure how rookie center Jake Hanson looked, but his college tape was underwhelming, so stick him on the practice squad.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (5) Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Tyler Lancaster, Kingsley Keke, Willington Previlon

I don’t see the need to keep six at this position, and I think it’s time to admit Montravius Adams can’t play. Treyvon Hester looked safe at the start of training camp, but he didn’t practice much due to COVID-19 and an injury. That could open the door for Previlon. I don’t know how he looked this summer, but his college tape wasn’t bad. He’s an above-average athlete who might develop into a useful interior pass rusher down the road.

LINEBACKERS (9) Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Christian Kirksey, *Kamal Martin, Oren Burks, Rashan Gary, Ty Summers, Tim Williams, and Jonathan Garvin

Martin’s recent knee surgery – and almost certain trip to the injured reserve list – probably secured Burks’ spot on the 53. I have no idea how Williams and Garvin looked this summer, so keeping them over the more intriguing Tipa Galeai is based on other things. Williams has more experience, and Garvin was a draft pick.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (10) Jaire Alexander, Kevin King, Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage, Chandon Sullivan, Ka’dar Hollman, Josh Jackson, Raven Greene, DaShawn Amos, and Will Redmond

I’d move on from Jackson, but will Gutekunst be willing to give up on a second-round draft pick? Keeping DaShawn Amos around is due to his CFL tape, although Stanford Samuels or Vernon Scott could take this spot.

SPECIALISTS (3) Mason Crosby, JK Scott, and Hunter Bradley

None of the three incumbents faced any competition in training camp, so this was decided many months ago.

*Will likely be placed on IR following the cut to 53

photo courtesy of packers.com

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About Michael Rodney

Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for close to 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2006. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.