With the Green Bay Packers winning nineteen to fifteen over the Seattle Seahawks today, their preseason comes to an end. There were some clear guys who shined this preseason. While the roster will be cut from 90 to 53 by Tuesday’s deadline, here are the 53 that I think will make the initial roster, as well as some practice squad candidates that I believe will be back if not claimed first by another team.
Offense (23 Total)
This offense is very young, but while young, this team is loaded with potential. Here are my projected twenty-three players to be on the fifty-three-man roster.
Jordan Love is the quarterback one, he ended the preseason with a three-touchdown and zero-interception stat line. Not much more explanation is needed here.
Clifford now came in and proved doubters wrong this preseason. He showed the flashes of why he was a quarterback that got drafted. The amount of potential he showed was enough for Matt LaFleur to name him the quarterback two before the last game of the preseason, so he is a lock.
Running Backs (2)
Jones is pretty self-explanatory, he is the lead back in arguably the best running back duo in the league. He’s locked in.
Another lock comes in here with AJ Dillon, with him being the power back out of the duo, he will see plenty of carries himself.
Wide Receiver (7)
Watson and Doubs are the leaders of this young but loaded-with-talent wide receiver room. He will look to not only lead the room but build off of last year’s strong finish for himself.
Just like Watson, Doubs is a lock. Not much explanation is needed for these two, as they’ll look to continue to be a great duo for the Packers this year.
The rookie second-round pick has already shown positive flashes during his reps with the first-team offense in preseason, including a touchdown against the Patriots. He is a lock.
If you want to talk about someone who did nothing but keep his head down and play himself into a roster spot, look no further than the Ole Miss UDFA, Malik Heath. I have written about him as someone to watch since the start of camp and he continued to make play after play. I believe you can consider Heath a lock at this point.
I still consider Wicks a lock here as he would be the fifth wide receiver on the 53-man roster. Wicks, while being injured for the last preseason game, and having a concussion earlier in camp, Wicks showed promise when he was on the field by creating big plays after the catch. The Packers also spent a 5th round pick on Wicks, so I assume he is a lock.
Here is where the roster shape gets interesting. The amount of potential and big plays in the wide receiver room will still leave the Packers releasing some players who showed potential. Grant DuBose, while injured for a chunk of camp with a back injury, since returning has shown he is someone who can go up and get the ball to finish the big play. The amount of potential he has shown, while not considering him a for-sure lock, I do believe that the potential he has shown, plus the draft capital spent on him is enough to boost him onto this 53-man roster.
Toure, while making the roster last year, didn’t receive a lot of playing time. While he has had a few drops, such as in the preseason game yesterday. Toure has made enough plays and with him being on special teams for the Packers, while not a sure lock, he can make his way as the seventh wide receiver on this team.
Tight End (3)
Here we start with your starting rookie tight end. Not only is the second-round pick a lock, but he also has shown he is capable of being a true receiving threat tight end. Musgrave and company have even more of a role to fill without Tyler Davis as well. Musgrave is a lock.
Here is the other half of the rookie tight end duo with third-round pick, Tucker Kraft. Again, with Tyler Davis out, this tight end room just got thinner, but good thing they have two rookies in Musgrave and Kraft to pick up the role together. Kraft is a lock.
Deguara, the veteran tight end of the three, has been also at full-back which you could see come the regular season as well. Deguara will make this roster due to how versatile he is and the amount of things he does for the Packers.
Offensive Line (9)
One of the best tackles in football, who has been injured on and off since his ACL tear, looks to stay healthy and keep his elite play consistent for the Packers this year now that he is finally feeling back to normal. Bakhtiari is a lock.
Jenkins is fresh off a big, well-deserved contract extension from last season, and he looks like he only improved. He is a lock.
While he has had trouble snapping the ball, and with exchanges throughout camp, Josh Myers unless the line gets flipped around, has been the starting center in every preseason game and I believe you can consider him a lock.
Jon Runyan Jr.
Runyan Jr. played a total of eighty-one snaps this preseason for Green Bay and didn’t allow a single pressure or sack. He will be the starting right guard for the Packers this upcoming year which makes him a lock.
Last but not least the starting offensive line, Zach Tom. Tom is also a lock, not only due to starting at right tackle, but the fact that he can be plugged into any spot on the line and succeed.
Walker has improved big time this offseason. He has moved his way up the depth chart, seemingly in front of Yosh Nijman as he made the start with the number one offense in yesterday’s preseason finale. Walker can be considered a lock.
Nijman, who returned this year on a one-year deal, has seen Rasheed Walker pass him on the depth chart for tackle spot number three. While being passed, Nijman has started twenty-one games in his career and the experience cannot be denied. I believe he will make this roster, while not a sure lock, his experience especially as a backup, is still valuable.
Matt LaFleur has mentioned using a sixth lineman at times instead of a third tight end. Jones made this roster last year, and I see him making it again this year despite the injury he had that kept him out yesterday.
Here is your last offensive player. Rhyan, who looked very solid at the beginning of camp, and who was winning almost every rep in 1 on 1’s, took a step back when it came down to game time. While he took steps back in games, he continued strong practices. If he can figure out how to translate practice to a game, he can be very good, but until then, I still see him on the roster despite not being a lock.
Defense (27 Total)
I have the Packers keeping more on defense than offense due to a lot of depth, and special teams guys as well. Let’s flip to the other side of the ball with this part of the roster.
Defensive Line (5)
The defensive line room leader, and one of the many standout players on this defense, Kenny Clark who finally got some snaps yesterday, looked unstoppable coming through the middle. Clark is a lock.
One of the two Georgia Bulldog first-round picks from last year is coming back for year two looking to break out. While Jarran Reed being on the team last year took snaps from Wyatt, Reed signing with the Seahawks this past offseason opens the door for opportunity. Expect Wyatt to see at least an increase in snaps. He is a lock.
Slaton, who has been receiving a lot of reps with the first team alongside Kenny Clark throughout camp is considered a lock.
Brooks has been nothing short of impressive whether it has been in camp or a game. The way Brooks knows how to use his hands has been noted multiple times and it looks like the Packers have gotten a steal of a pick thus far after the preseason has concluded.
Wooden, a fourth-round pick out of Auburn, is the last defensive lineman on this list. Wooden has actually been just as impressive creating pressures in both practice and games, this room is just loaded with talent. Wooden will make this roster, and the Packers will have quite the room.
Outside Linebackers (6)
Gary, who is coming off a torn ACL, looks to be right back to himself. With his first reps in team, Gary tossed Zach Tom and had three sacks in practice. Again, practice is different than a game, but to see Gary exploding off the line is a great sight to see. He is a lock.
The other side of the defensive line has been and will be Preston Smith. Smith, who has been an effective edge for Green Bay, is a lock on this extremely depth-filled defense.
Lukas Van Ness
Van Ness, this year’s first-round pick for the Packers, has been creating more positive plays recently. Van Ness has been an athletic freak and will look to polish off those moves while he develops. He is a lock.
Another lock is Enagbare. His monster game against the Patriots with two sacks and a forced fumble while also getting the recovery was a true eye-opener for just how deep this defense is with talent.
Hollins is one of the vets in this room. He plays key roles both rotating in on defense and special teams, so you can expect him to be on this roster.
Brenton Cox Jr.
Along with Heath, here is the other UDFA who played himself on to this team. While deep in the edge rusher room, Cox Jr. has made it hard for the Packers to cut him. He led the team in pressures this preseason with seven and has established himself as someone who can both make the plays in practice, but translate them to a game speed thus far. Cox Jr. is not a lock, but I believe that he has done enough that it will be hard to get rid of him for the Packers.
Inside Linebackers (5)
Here is the leader in the middle of the defense. Not much more needs to be said, despite his ankle injury, Campbell is a lock.
Here is the man beside Campbell, and the other first-round pick out of Georgia coming back for year two, Quay Walker. Walker, who had a great first season alongside Campbell, is coming back ready to make a leap in year two. Walker is a lock to make the roster.
McDuffie is linebacker number three and has actually been the starter alongside Walker while Campbell has been out with his ankle injury. I have been impressed with the way McDuffie is all over the field making plays. I fully expect him on the roster.
Wilson has been listed as a possible veteran cut, but I believe his special teams experience, especially with Tyler Davis going down, elevates Wilson’s stock more than previously. While he is not a lock, I expect Wilson to make the roster.
Carpenter made the switch from safety to linebacker this past offseason and is also seeing key special teams snaps with eleven yesterday. While he is not a lock, I expect the special teams opportunities he received to be enough for him to make this team.
The Cornerback one, and arguably the best in the league is clearly a lock, no further explanation needed!
Douglas has impressed a lot this offseason and looks to be a key player in this highly talented defense. He is a lock as well.
Valentine, the seventh-round rookie out of Kentucky, has shown his true playmaking skills, and out of fifteen targets this preseason, he had four pass breakups, and an interception while only allowing six receptions for forty yards. Valentine is a lock in my opinion, and I would assume he is going to see time on the field for the Packers this year.
Not only has Nixon been starting in the slot this offseason, but he is coming off first-team all-pro honors as a kick returner. He is a roster lock and will look to continue to change games through his kick return ability.
Gaines started on every special team yesterday and also received a lot of snaps. Ballentine could be another fit in this spot, but I put Gaines due to his versatile style of play that could be plugged into the outside, slot, or even at safety if the Packers need. In short, he can play more spots than Ballentine, which led me to put him in this spot.
PUP: Eric Stokes
With Stokes still recovering from his injury, PUP is where I assume he will start after no practice action in camp.
Savage has been the lone starting safety while the Packers rotated who was next to him this offseason in order to figure out the other starter. Savage is a lock.
Ford, who has played a ton of special teams snaps in his career, seems to have won over the coaches as he started at safety yesterday alongside Savage. Ford was already on the roster due to special teams last year and even had two interceptions in the win over the Dallas Cowboys last season as well. Ford is a lock.
One of the new additions to the safety room this offseason was former Texans’ starting safety, Jonathan Owens. While starting 82.6% of the snaps for Houston last year, Owens has seen a lot of rotation time this offseason. While he isn’t considered a full lock as being one of the second-teamers, I believe his chance to make it is near a lock level due to the Packers going out to go sign him.
Anthony Johnson Jr.
Johnson Jr. is a seventh-round pick of out Iowa State who I believe should’ve gone way higher. He has shown true ability to both make the plays against the pass, but someone who is also able to crash down on the run. Along with playing on special teams, and the draft capital that was spent on him, I believe that Johnson will be on the roster.
Leavitt, a special teams ace for the Packers, was brought in due to his familiarity with special teams coach, Rich Bisaccia last season. Leavitt recorded an interception from the safety position this preseason off of a tipped pass by Brenton Cox Jr. as well. While he isn’t a lock just like most nonstarters, Leavitt is someone I expect to be on the roster.
Another new signing, and another special teams veteran. Tavarius Moore, while being in the rotation just like the other safeties, will make his impact on special teams for the Packers most likely this season.
Special Teams (3)
This phase is short and sweet, not many competitions here, but still important parts of the team at every position here.
The rookie kicker out of Auburn struggled for a bit of camp but showed positive flashes in between. The only question was if he could become consistent, but a fifty-seven-yard field goal made in yesterday’s preseason game had to have been a confidence boost, and Carlson will be your starting kicker come week one.
I expect that O’Donnell will be the winner of the punter battle, due to his ability to place his punts better than Whelan. Whelan has quite the leg, but that isn’t always the only factor which is how O’Donnell wins this battle.
Long Snapper (1)
A Super Bowl champion and a 300 thousand dollar signing bonus are all you need to hear from this competition against a rookie. I expect that Orzech has won the long-snapper battle.
Practice Squad (16 Total Allowed)
While there most likely won’t be all guys from the original ninety-man roster, the Packers can have sixteen players on the practice squad. Assuming they clear waivers, here are eight names to watch for on the practice squad.
Quarterback, Alex McGough
The USFL MVP didn’t have the most opportunity during games this preseason, but when he did, he showed he is capable of being a quarterback in this league. I would expect the Packers to get him back on the practice squad if he chooses, due to them releasing Danny Etling earlier this offseason.
Running Back, Emanuel Wilson
Wilson showed that he is someone to count on when the pads come on, and if it weren’t for the need for depth at other spots, while also having arguably the best running back duo in the league, Wilson, if not claimed, would be someone to watch for the Packers to get back.
Running Back, Patrick Taylor
Taylor has been elevated to the active roster multiple times from the practice squad, I would expect he gets through waivers and the Packers choose to bring him back.
Linebacker, Jimmy Phillips Jr.
I really enjoyed what I saw out of Phillips again yesterday. With quite a few tackles in the preseason, along with some pass breakups, Phillips showed he can even contribute on special teams as well and I could see him making his way back.
Cornerback, Shermar Jean-Charles
Jean-Charles is someone who made the roster last season, but with the breakout of Valentine, and the amount of talent on defense, he gets pushed out. Watch for the Packers to go get him should he clear waivers.
Cornerback, Tyrell Ford
Ford, a CFL player who was signed earlier this offseason, showed his ability to make this practice squad. One of the highest-graded Packers this preseason, Ford could be an addition for the Packers to bring back.
Safety, Benny Sapp III
If it isn’t Mr. Game Winner himself. Sapp has been a very good coverage safety and I have been impressed with the way he played with his opportunities this preseason. He makes my list for players to watch not only cause of the defense he played, but the special teams snaps he saw as well. Versatility will help him get picked back up.
Defensive Lineman, Jonathan Ford
Ford is someone I almost had on my roster. I believe should he clear waivers that we see him back in Green Bay. The only reason Ford wasn’t on my roster is due to the depth on defense.