With less than a week until the NFL season starts, teams across the league need to cut down their roster to 53 players. The Green Bay Packers made their official cuts on Saturday, and here is a breakdown of their 53 man roster.
In a somewhat surprising move, the Packers decided to keep three quarterbacks. The obvious number one on the depth chart is Aaron Rodgers, followed by quality backup Matt Flynn, and a player with some upside, Scott Tolzien. I believe three quarterbacks were kept in part because of Rodgers’ injury last year and the chaos that followed afterwards. In the event that Rodgers were to go down again, the Packers not only have a guy that has proven he can win games in Flynn, but also a guy in Tolzien that has shown he can be developed into a quality backup for years to come.
With a newly effective running game intact, only three running backs (Eddie Lacy, James Starks, and DuJuan Harris) and fullback John Kuhn are on the opening day roster. That is different than the past three years, where five halfbacks have made the opening day team. The two running backs not to make the cut were LaDarius Perkins and Michael Hill, who played in six games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year.
In the receiving game, five wide outs made the team, including Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin, second round pick Davante Adams and seventh round pick Jeff Janis. Three wide receivers did not make the cut. Those three were Kevin Dorsey, Alex Gillett, and Myles White, who caught nine passes in seven games last season for the Packers
The tight end spot seems to have many quality players, as Andrew Quarless, Brandon Bostick, Ryan Taylor, and third round pick Richard Rodgers all made the cut. The tight ends who did not make the cut were Justin Perillo and Jake Stoneburner, who was placed on injured reserve.
A total of eight offensive linemen were kept on the Packers roster. Those eight were tackles David Bakhtiari, Bryan Bulaga, and Derek Sherrod, guards Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, and Lane Taylor, and centers JC Tretter and Corey Linsley. The five offensive linemen who did not make the cut were undrafted free agents Jeremy Vujnovich, John Fullinton and Jordan McCray, Garth Gerhart, and Aaron Adams, who was placed on IR with a torn ACL.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Packers decided to keep five defensive linemen. Those five were Mike Daniels, Datone Jones, Letroy Guion, Josh Boyd, and undrafted rookie Mike Pennell, who had four tackles and a sack at the nose tackle position. Three defensive linemen missed making the cut. Those three were Carlos Gray, Luther Robinson, and third round pick Khyri Thornton, who was placed on IR.
In total, eleven linebackers made the final cuts for the Packers. Those eleven were Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones, Nick Perry, Mike Neal, Jamari Lattimore, Sam Barrington, Andy Mulumba, fourth round pick Carl Bradford, and undrafted rookie Jayrone Elliott. Elliott really shined during this preseason, leading the entire league in sacks with five. There were three linebackers who did not make the final roster. Those three were Adrian Hubbard, Jake Doughty, and Nate Palmer, who was placed on IR.
At the safety spot, only four players made the cut. Those four were Morgan Burnett, Micah Hyde, first round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and Sean Richardson. Two safeties failed to make the opening day roster. Those two were Tanner Miller and Chris Banjo, who had 19 tackles for the Packers last year. The good news for the Packers is that unlike previous years, the safety position has plenty of talent and potential.
In a league where passing has become the norm, the Packers decided to keep six cornerbacks on their roster. Those six were Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, Jarrett Bush, Davon House, and sixth round pick Demetri Goodson. The two corners who were released were Ryan While and Jumal Rolle. The Packers once again will keep their core specialists together, as kicker Mason Crosby, punter Tim Masthay, and long snapper Brett Goode all made the team.
For the players who were cut, their NFL dream is not dead. They can either be picked up on waivers by any NFL team, or are free to sign with any team’s practice squad. As for the 53 players who did make the final cuts, they can now say they fulfilled their dream and made an NFL roster.