My crack at the Packers 53 man roster
If I had hair, I would have pulled some of it out going through this exercise. I don't recall a Packers team so deep at so many positions. The talent pool is so rich, scouts and GM's for other teams are salivating at the opportunity to make the first call to those who are ultimately cut by the Packers.
The final 53-man roster will be revealed late Saturday afternoon. In the meantime, I've tried to assemble what I believe the Packers roster will be with some brief commentary.
OFFENSE - (26)
QB (3) - Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn, Graham Harrell
I think it's wise to keep Harrell in the system with the understanding that Matt Flynn could escape via free agency after the season. All Harrell has done since arriving in Green Bay is improve.
RB (3) - Ryan Grant, James Starks, Alex Green
If the Packers cut Grant, they'll be on the hook for $2.5 million. I still really like Grant and think he and Starks are a solid duo. The rookie, Green, is better in space than Dimitri Nance (who had a nice camp) and provides a different dimension in the backfield. Brandon Saine should end up on the practice squad.
FB - (1) - John Kuhn
Quinn Johnson will be caught in a numbers game, and not make the team.
WR (6) - Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb, Tori Gurley
This was a tough one. I think Chastin West is on the outside looking in given Gurley's freak size and special teams ability. Mike McCarthy really showcased Gurley against the Chiefs, and he responded with a pair of catches (and a gorgeous grab that was ruled out of bounds). I think Diondre Borel will wind up on the practice squad, and West another team.
TE (4) - Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless, Ryan Taylor, Tom Crabtree
The glaring omission from this list is 5th round draft choice DJ Williams. Taylor is an excellent special teams player who showed solid pass catching ability and instincts in camp and against the Colts - really think he can be a 10-year player. Williams has sort of disappeared. This is a tough one. If the Packers feel they can get him to the practice squad, I wouldn't be surprised to see Williams' name left off the 53 man roster.
OL (9) - Chad Clifton, Bryan Bulaga, Scott Wells, TJ Lang, Josh Sitton, Derek Sherrod, Marshall Newhouse, Nick McDonald, Evan Dietrich-Smith
This is perhaps the area of the roster the Packers can least afford to lose a front-line player.
DL (6) - Ryan Pickett, BJ Raji, Mike Neal, CJ Wilson, Howard Green, Jarius Wynn
This is another area where the Packers are relatively thin. The loss of Cullen Jenkins is a glaring omission from a line that boasts talent, but needs to remain healthy.
LB (8) - Clay Matthews, Desmond Bishop, AJ Hawk, Erik Walden, Vic So'oto, Robert Francois, Frank Zombo, DJ Smith
The absence of Brad Jones due to injury has allowed players like Smith and rookie Jamari Lattimore to shine. Of the two rookies, I think Smith makes the team and Lattimore ends up on the practice squad. Jones, as a 7th round pick out of Colorado in the 2009 draft, has potential, but making the club from the sidelines is a difficult thing to do.
CB (7) - Charles Woodson, Trammon Williams, Sam Shields, Pat Lee, Jarrett Bush, Davon House, Josh Gordy
Perhaps no player separated himself from the pack more in the last two weeks than Pat Lee. He showed an aggressiveness at the line of scrimmage against the Colts that had not yet been seen. He was also a bloodhound for the ball against the Chiefs recovering two fumbles. I had one roster scenario that included Brad Jones, with Josh Gordy being cut, but I think Gordy sticks because he's talented and healthy. I think the team will choose to part ways with Brandon Underwood.
S (3) - Nick Collins, Morgan Burnett, Charlie Peprah
Rookie MD Jennings is an interesting player who I think will be cut, but welcomed back to the practice squad unless picked up by another team.
Specialists (3) - Mason Crosby, Tim Masthay, Brett Goode
No big surprises here.