Monday, August 19, 2013

Predicting the Final 53 (and practice squad implications)

Position-by-position analysis of who I think makes the roster after 2 preseason games.  If I put (PS) after their name, I believe they'll be a practice squad consideration.  I'll give a short analysis after each position.
Quarterback (2)
Coleman (PS)

Graham Harrell appears to have held off the challenger Vince Young for now.  There's still a lot of time left for this battle to take place and all that can be certain at this position is that Rodgers is a lock.  Coleman is likely a practice squad consideration at this point, unless the Packers get wind of someone trying to give him a shot on an active 53, but that's doubtful.

Running Back/Full Back (5)

I almost thought 4 was enough here, especially given the lack of emphasis on the run, but I think in the end, the Packers will carry 5.  The final spot will be between Green and Starks.  Green and Franklin are basically the same player in my mind and Starks is the only other big back if Lacy goes down, so I give Starks the nod.  The competition is close though.  Pease has been terrible at blocking on both Special Teams (near block given up last week) and on offense (twice I saw defenders run past him).  If for some reason they only go with 4, then Pease will have done enough to warrant a look on the practice squad

Tight End (4)
Stoneburner (PS)
Bostick (PS)

Quarless is still in the running but time is ticking on his availability and Mulligan can do what Quarless can do blocking-wise and on special teams.  He was nicked up though in the last game, so we'll see because I think availability will play a big role in who stays past Finley.  Bostick still can't block and needs more seasoning.  Stoneburner is an intriguing prospect and could make the practice squad as well.  DJ Williams is very inconsistent but has answered the bell more than anyone so far in preseason.  If they keep 5 here, then they either reduce one running back or one offensive linemen.

Offensive Line (9)
Van Roten
Lewis (PS)

The Packers might keep 8 here if they believe that either or both Sherrod and Tretter will be ready by midseason to activate off of the PUP list.  That would allow them to carry an extra tight end for the short term as well and see how that turns out.  Bulaga is put on IR in this situation as well and will be back next year.

Wide Receiver (6)
J. Jones
Dorsey (PS)
Johnson (PS)

The Packers may try to keep 7 here depending on availability of Cobb and Nelson.  Dorsey and Johnson might end up on the practice squad or IR depending on their injury status.  Ross makes it at this point because of Cobb's injury, so he takes the special teams duties.  With the multiple sets the Packers use, having 6 WRs on the roster is a necessity and 7 isn't out of the question.  Boykin is not a deep threat, but he is running better routes lately.  For the first time ever I saw him get a little separation on a route last week.  His speed will forever limit him.

Defensive Line (6)
D. Jones

CJ Wilson is the odd man out here (Neal is listed as an OLB).  Wilson has improved over the few years he's been here but not enough to give up on a guy that's flashed some upside in Boyd. The resurrection of Jolly's career hurts Wilson the most.  Both are essentially on 1-year contracts and Jolly has far more talent and desire than Wilson at this point.  Wilson will be signed by someone else though, he's not a bad player, he's just not good enough with the depth that they have.  Worthy remains on the PUP list and eventually hits IR in my opinion as well.  With Neal playing a hybrid position, I can't see them keeping more than 6 here.

Outside Line Backer (4)
Mulumba (PS)
Palmer (PS)

If Mike Neal plays only defensive line this year, Mulumba probably makes the roster with what he's flashed so far.  He's raw but has a good motor and could be good on special teams with some seasoning.

Inside Line Backer (4)
B. Jones
Manning (PS)

Barrington has laid some pretty big hits so far and looks fluid out there.  Lattimore and Manning are still projects and Manning I believe could qualify for the practice squad (he was on the roster all 18 games last year though, so I could be wrong).  I think it will be wrong of the Packers to keep more than 4 here, but they might just do that at the expense of a safety.

Corner Back (6)
Nixon (PS)

House makes it by the skin of his teeth at this point, but with Williams and Hayward unavailable for all of camp, it shouldn't really surprise anyone.  The Packers need those guys back or else it will make for some very tough decisions at other positions to make more room here.

Safety (4)

Banjo only makes it if the Packers keep the stated number of any number of positions, otherwise he's simply a practice squad kind of guy.  Only the top three have played well enough to merit a roster spot at this point, especially when you factor in that Bush can play safety in a pinch and Hyde probably can as well.  Sean Richardson goes on PUP/IR as well here or has an injury settlement if the doctors refuse to clear him from his neck injury.

Kicker (1)

Crosby has been coming on strong since the debacle in family night.  He has responded of late and if he continues, he will hold off the hard charging Tavechio.  Crosby's kickoffs are better, and it is very evident he has the stronger leg, which the Packers have always valued.  They 'might' go get a different kicker here but only if both falter.

Punter (1)

He needs to pick it up a bit here.  I hope he's just working on things because he hasn't looked nearly as good so far as he did last year.  I'm not too worried yet, as Masthay has had some small slumps before.  I'd rather have him hit the slump now than in the regular season.

Long Snapper (1)

Consistent long snapper.

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