Making The Cut 3.0

The preseason is mercifully over, and that means all teams have until Tuesday at 4 ET to get down to the 53-player limit. Here’s my final attempt at predicting the Packers’ final roster:


QUARTERBACK (2)

Aaron Rodgers
Jordan Love

I doubt there was anything Kurt Benkert could’ve done against the Bills on Saturday to earn a spot on the 53-man roster, but his pedestrian performance pretty much guaranteed that he’ll begin the season on the practice squad. Is there a chance he gets claimed off waivers? Doubtful, unless another team is interested in improving its cred on TikTok.

 

RUNNING BACK (3)

Aaron Jones
A.J. Dillon
Kylin Hill

Hill earned the No. 3 job, but I’d also keep Dexter Williams around to return kicks. That almost certainly won’t happen. If the former Notre Dame star clears waivers, I wouldn’t be surprised if he prefers to join another team’s practice squad since the Packers might have the deepest and most talented group of running backs in the entire league.

 

TIGHT END (4)

Robert Tonyan
Marcedes Lewis
Josiah Deguara
Dominique Dafney

Bronson Kaufusi had a better than expected summer, but the practice squad is the perfect place for a 30-year-old converted defensive lineman to continue honing his skills on offense. Jace Sternberger will serve a two-game suspension to start the season, and that’s probably the only thing keeping him from being released on Tuesday. Barring an injury, I would expect to see the former third-round pick sent packing after his suspension comes to an end.

 

WIDE RECEIVER (6)

Davante Adams
Marquez Valdes-Scantling
Allen Lazard
Randall Cobb
Amari Rodgers
Malik Taylor

The Packers don’t really need to keep six wide receivers. Four is enough for game day, and they could keep two or three on the practice squad. That said, it’ll be very difficult to deny Taylor a spot on the 53-man roster. The former undrafted free agent from Ferris State enjoyed an impressive summer and looked more and more like a legitimate top-4 receiver with each passing day. Juwann Winfree and Reggie Begelton are strong candidates for the practice squad.

 

OFFENSIVE LINE (9)

Elgton Jenkins
Billy Turner
Josh Myers
Royce Newman
Lucas Patrick
Jon Runyan
Yosh Nijman
Dennis Kelly
David Bakhtiari

I no longer see Bakhtiari staying on PUP. It’s more likely he’ll either be moved to the 53 or be placed on short-term IR after final cuts. Nijman was much improved from a year ago, but keeping him on the 53 comes down to one thing – is he truly the backup left tackle? Last season, he was about the fourth option at the position. I’m going to put Kelly on the 53, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s either released or placed on IR. Patrick played poorly this summer, but would the Packers really move on from their only experienced interior lineman? I don’t have Ben Braden and Cole Van Lanen on the 53, but there’s a chance at least one of them will be added later in the week.


DEFENSIVE LINE (6)

Kenny Clark
Kingsley Keke
Dean Lowry
T.J. Slaton
Tyler Lancaster
Jack Heflin

The only question all summer has been, do you keep both Lancaster and Heflin? My answer is yes. While it’s true they’re very similar players, there’s no reason to let go of a capable big man – especially when the alternatives at other positions aren’t as good. Willington Previlon flashed a few times and could find himself back on the practice squad.

 

LINEBACKER (9)

Za’Darius Smith
Rashan Gary
Preston Smith
Krys Barnes
De’Vondre Campbell
Oren Burks
Ty Summers
Jonathan Garvin
Isaiah McDuffie

The final two spots are up in the air, although Garvin should feel relatively secure. The defensive coaches seem to like him, and general manager Brian Gutekunst will almost always favor one of his draft picks if the competition for a roster spot is close. I don’t know if a fifth inside linebacker is needed, but McDuffie did show real potential once he got healthy. If 10 players are kept at this position, second-year long shot Chauncey Rivers could sneak his way onto the 53. Ray Wilborn, De’Jon Harris, Tipa Galeai, and Delontae Scott are all candidates for the practice squad.

 

DEFENSIVE BACK (11)

Jaire Alexander
Chandon Sullivan
Eric Stokes
Darnell Savage
Adrian Amos
Kevin King
Henry Black
Vernon Scott
Shemar Jean-Charles
Isaac Yiadom
Kabion Ento

Seven corners seem too many, especially when none of the last three names on the list played all that well in the preseason. That said, fifth-round pick Jean-Charles and converted wide receiver Ento have intriguing potential, and Yiadom has plenty of experience and the skill set to help on special teams. I could also see Christian Uphoff or Innes Gaines sticking on the 53 – either as a replacement for the injured Scott or instead of a seventh corner (Ento).

 

SPECIALISTS (3)

Mason Crosby
JK Scott
Hunter Bradley

Scott did absolutely nothing this summer to hold onto his job for a fourth season, but the Packers appear willing to live with his inconsistent punting because he’s such a good holder. Gutekunst also drafted him in the fifth round.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I believe that this is pretty close to the initial roster, though I hope they add a CB, OLB, and perhaps a DL. I also hope they look at a Punter and a long snapper. Do I think that might happen no… because there’s too much craziness from Gute that won’t allow him do anything that might cause him to not look good regarding his draft picks. It’s too much for me to understand why you can’t get your head out of your ass and admit a mistake and do something to actually fix a problem.

  2. I’m kicking myself for not knowing that Bakhtiari wasn’t eligible to be placed on IR after final cuts. But to be honest, I would’ve put Braden and not Hanson in his place.

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Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for over 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2004. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey and covered the Philadelphia Eagles for WTXF-TV. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published, and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.
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