The Green Bay Packers will kick off their three-game preseason slate on Friday when they play the Cincinnati Bengals. That officially means training camp has ended, and we are in the preseason portion of the schedule.
That’s exciting news for a team with plenty of young players trying to make a name for themselves in this league. Speaking of young players, although Green Bay has a core of guys they’re hoping to develop, others are simply trying to make the team.
General manager Jon Horst has done a tremendous job the last couple of years in adding young talent at almost every position. That can make it tough to crack the roster, but these five players are guys we shouldn’t count out quite yet.
These five Green Bay Packers are on the outside looking in to the 53-man roster when preseason begins, but could work their way up.
Darkhorses to Make Packers Roster: Jake Hanson
It was only a year ago when Jake Hanson started Game 1 at right tackle for the Packers, but he’s come a long way since then. A long way down. He’s on the outside looking in entering the preseason with Elgton Jenkins, Jon Runyan, Rocye Newman and Sean Rhyan ahead of him on the interior. However, there’s a chance he could force Green Bay to choose between Rasheed Walker and Caleb Jones if he performs well during the preseason. Don’t count him out quite yet.
Darkhorses to Make Packers Roster: Jonathan Ford
The Packers will have a difficult decision to make on the defensive line, where they suddenly have several quality players. Kenny Clark, Devonte Wyatt, TJ Slaton, Colby Wooden and Karl Brooks are all locks to make the roster. For those counting at home–that’s five interior defensive linemen. However, I think Ford could continue to play well enough to force their hands and make them keep six.
Darkhorses to Make Packers Roster: Brenton Cox
Similar to the IDL, it’s a number game when it comes to outside linebacker. Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, Lukas Van Ness, Justin Hollins, and Kingsley Enagbare are all locks to make the roster. Brenton Cox has been quiet in training camp after a hot OTA and minicamp. However, there’s still time for him to catch fire again. It’s unlikely Cox and Ford will make the roster, but one of them could make their case.
Darkhorses to Make Packers Roster: Daniel Whelan
Daniel Whelan was an afterthought when Green Bay signed him, as few gave him a chance to seriously challenge Pat O’Donnell for the starting gig. However, Whelan has clearly shown a stronger leg and has higher long-term potential. If he can prove he’s capable of holding, an area O’Donnell excels, there might be a chance for him to oust the veteran and earn the roster spot.
Darkhorses to Make Packers Roster: Malik Heath
Malik Heath continues to make waves as an undrafted free agent. The only issue is all of the guys in front of him are playing amazing as well. Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Samori Toure and Dontayvion Wicks will be nearly impossible for Heath to catch. But if he can play well enough, he could force Green Bay to keep a sixth wide receiver.