It was also one of the most challenging cutdown days in recent memory, as the Packers had several different directions they could’ve gone with their final spots. Let’s dive into three of the most difficult decisions they were faced with in trimming their team from 90 players all the way down to 53.
The Green Bay Packers had a lot of tough decisions to make to trim their roster down to 53 players, but these were the three most difficult.
Emanuel Wilson Over Patrick Taylor
After Tyler Goodson suffered an injury, this was considered Patrick Taylor’s job. He checked the boxes of a pass-blocker and special teams player the coaching staff was looking for in their third running back.
However, I wonder how much the futures of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon played into the decision to keep Emanuel Wilson. Jones is a likely cut or restructure candidate next year and Dillon is entering the final year of his contract. Wilson showed good running ability in the preseason, and the Packers want to develop him to see what they have.
Cutting Corey Ballentine
This move was less about Corey Ballentine, who had a solid but now spectacular training camp, and more to do with the Packers only keeping four cornerbacks on their initial roster–Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas, Keisean Nixon and Carrington Valentine. Those four promise to be very good, but a lack of depth could rear its ugly head.
The good news is they play a light schedule to begin the season with games against the Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions (without Jameson Williams). That slate shouldn’t challenge the Packers too much, allowing them to slide Ballentine to the practice squad and elevate him when necessary. Eric Stokes will be eligible to return from the PUP at that point, providing much-needed depth for the rest of the season.
Daniel Whelan Over Pat O’Donnell
It’s easy to forget about this move as it came a day early, as the Packers presumably wanted to give the veteran Pat O’Donnell a chance to land with another team.
However, this move gave us our first glimpse into how the Packers would approach their roster decision-making on Tuesday. O’Donnell is the much more established player and a proven stud as a holder. Those skills could’ve stabilized the special team’s units, especially the field goal operation, where rookie Anders Carlson had ups and downs.
However, Daniel Whelan clearly has the stronger leg and is a better long-term punter. It appears Green Bay will ride the storm with Whelan at punter, hoping to come out on top in the future.