The Green Bay Packers offered their first glimpse into their roster-building strategy for this season with the release of veteran punter Pat O’Donnell. Could this decision indicate that other veterans are also in danger as the roster deadline approaches on Tuesday?
It’s evident that General Manager Brian Gutekunst and the front office have shifted their approach from a win-now mentality to a more long-term perspective. This change is likely to have a cascading impact on the decision-making process throughout the roster, potentially putting the spots of veterans at risk in favor of younger players.
With this context in mind, let’s consider three Packers veterans who might find themselves facing a tougher battle for a roster spot than they initially anticipated.
These three veterans on the Green Bay Packers are fighting for a spot on the initial 53-man roster. Will they be successful?
While Newman isn’t categorized as an older player, it’s evident that his NFL career has already plateaued. After starting 16 games in his rookie year, that figure dwindled to merely six in the subsequent season, and in 2023, if everyone remains healthy, it would be a flat zero. He hasn’t shown growth as a player and repeatedly struggles with the same concepts.
His saving grace could stem from the Packers’ shortage of interior depth. Sean Rhyan’s progression has been notable, as he has surpassed Newman to become one of the primary backup guards. In the event of an injury, Zach Tom could also seamlessly transition to the interior. This circumstance might leave Newman on the outside looking in.
Starting Organized Team Activities as the primary outside linebacker opposite Preston Smith, Justin Hollins has descended swiftly down the depth chart. Undoubtedly, Rashan Gary’s resurgence has played a role in Hollins’ decline, but the emergence of Kingsley Enagbare has also contributed to the shift. The promising futures of Lukas Van Ness and Brenton Cox further complicate the landscape.
Should the Packers only keep five outside linebackers, a decision looms between Cox and Hollins. Ultimately, the determining factor might be the player with the higher potential and upside.
Patrick Taylor’s presumed security at his position might be wavering despite his reputation as Green Bay’s top pass-blocking and special teams running back. Emanuel Wilson showcased commendable pass-blocking skills in the preseason finale, raising questions about Taylor’s future.
With a promising long-term potential, Wilson’s emergence prompts a contemplation of sacrificing short-term proven abilities for the sake of future growth, akin to the decisions made regarding Pat O’Donnell and Daniel Whelan. As Aaron Jones gets older and AJ Dillon’s contract nears its end, the Packers could benefit from an up-and-coming runner like Wilson, who embodies untapped potential.