Originally, I had planned on doing two roster prediction pieces – one midway through the preseason and one at the end, before the final roster cuts are made.
But since you guys and gals seemed to like the first one so much, I’ve decided to throw in a bonus roster piece. And don’t worry – I’ll have another one of these up after game four Thursday also. The Green Bay Packers will cut five players Tuesday – we’ll have reaction on that later in the day – and have until Saturday afternoon to get their roster down from 75 to 53, in case you weren’t sure.
(Quick aside: Keep an eye out for OBOD’s season/fantasy predictions, both of which should be up within the next week.)
As always, before I begin, I’d like to remind Greg Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he should, please, not sue me for, basically, ripping him off. Imitation…flattery…remember?
Quarterbacks (2): Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn
Comments: No change here from last time. I still haven’t seen enough from Graham Harrell to warrant giving him a spot, especially with this team so deep at other positions. There’s an outside chance he could change my mind with a great showing Thursday, but I doubt it. Lock him up a spot on the practice squad.
Running backs (3): Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson, Kregg Lumpkin
Comments: First, let me say this idea that the Packers will keep only two backs and use John Kuhn as the third guy there is completely ridiculous. With the pounding NFL backs take, three full-time backs is a must. The Packers would be just one injury away from Kuhn seeing significant time at the position. Do you really want that? I don’t. Now, for the change here, Lumpkin is in and Quinn Porter is out. Porter’s got more potential, yes, but his ankle injury dooms him. Plus, there’s just something about Lumpkin that I like. He’s managed to hang around in some form or another for over two years now – that says something.
Fullbacks (2): Kuhn, Quinn Johnson
Comments: Dear readers, I was very torn on this position. Part of me thinks Johnson is a poor fit for this team. Part of me thinks Korey Hall is a better fit and brings far more special teams value. But I just can’t shake this feeling about Johnson. His size and dominant blocking potential could make him a great change of pace guy – if the team can find the right role for him. Plus, as I said before, Hall and Kuhn are basically the same guy. I am just not sure you need two Kuhns, hence Johnson makes the cut yet again, but only by a hair. The only thing I’m really sure of is that three fullbacks will not be on the roster again.
Wide receiver (5): Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Brett Swain
Comments: No change here - for now. Swain hangs on because of his special teams value, but there are two players who could shake this position up before the week ends. Charles Dillon still has some upside, as I wrote last week, and we now have Jason Cherry entering the mix. Cherry’s return touchdown Thursday night makes him an intriguing player, especially with Will Blackmon still battling knee troubles. Cherry will handle the bulk of the return duties this week and, with another good showing, he could crack the roster. In that case, I think Swain’s out.
Tight ends (4): Jermichael Finley, Donald Lee, Spencer Havner, Andrew Quarless
Comments: With the Packers only keeping two fullbacks in this scenario, the option remains for them to hang on to four players here. I’m coming around on the idea of keeping four, as well. This gives Mike McCarthy a lot of options, options he will take advantage of. Still, there’s simply no way five tight ends make it to the roster, as much as I like Tom Crabtree’s potential. He’s a practice squad guy.
Offensive linemen (9): Chad Clifton, Daryn Colledge, Scott Wells, Josh Sitton, Mark Tauscher, Bryan Bulaga, T.J. Lang, Marshall Newhouse, Evan Dietrich-Smith
Comments: No changes here from last week. I still think Jason Spitz will be traded soon enough. Breno Giacomini was better against Indy, but I just feel like his shot has already come and gone.
Defensive linemen (7): Cullen Jenkins, B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, Mike Neal, Justin Harrell, Anthony Torribio, C.J. Wilson
Comments: Still keeping seven here? You bet. Jenkins’ injury, while he should be ready for week one, only furthers my thinking that an additional player is needed here. The only change is that Wilson is in and Jarius Wynn is out. Like Giacomini, he had a shot, but didn’t capitalize. Wilson has some intrigue to him, but could also be bumped out if the team upgrades here in a Spitz trade.
Linebackers (8): Clay Matthews, Nick Barnett, A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones, Brandon Chillar, Desmond Bishop, Brady Poppinga, Frank Zombo
Comments: I toyed with the idea of keeping nine here – Cyril Obiozor being that last guy – but that just seems like too many, so we’ll stick with the same eight as last week. Poppinga’s had his best camp in years and Zombo is having a great preseason. Those two seem like enough depth at outside linebacker for me. And again, this position could get shaken up if a player is added here in a Spitz trade.
Cornerbacks (6): Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Brandon Underwood, Pat Lee, Sam Shields, Jarrett Bush
Comments: Remember what I said last week about Al Harris being out there for week one? Yeah, go ahead and forget all that. Harris won’t be ready. When he returns is anyone’s guess, but one thing’s for sure: If he’s not ready, Bush makes this roster (groan). The team needs someone there until Harris is back; five is not enough. Another possibility is adding someone here via roster cuts elsewhere, in which case Bush is again gone. Let’s hope.
Safeties (4): Nick Collins, Morgan Burnett, Derrick Martin, Blackmon
Comments: No change here, but I’m starting to worry about Blackmon’s knee. He doesn’t seem to be available for more than one day at a time. That’s troublesome this late in camp. I don’t think he’s a PUP guy just yet, but if Cherry sticks as a returner and the team can find a suitable safety option via roster cuts, you have to wonder if the PUP list isn’t the best place for Blackmon.
(Update: One of our followers on Twitter graciously informed me that Blackmon is not, in fact, eligtible for the PUP list. So, yeah, forget those last couple of sentences. Still, the knee worries me.)
Specialists (3): Mason Crosby, Tim Masthay, Brett Goode.
Comments: The big change here is that Masthay’s in and Chris Bryan’s out. Masthay has been gaining steadily for the past two weeks or so, while Bryan seems to have peaked. Thursday night will provide the final verdict, but for now, I’m comfortable sliding Masthay on to the roster.
Those are my thoughts. What are yours?
Comment, baby, comment!