Now that the Green Bay Packers initial 53-man roster is set, the next step before they can turn their complete focus to their Week 1 matchup with the Chicago Bears is constructing the 16 player practice squad. You can stay up to date with the latest moves made by the Packers right here, along with analysis on each player.
For players who were released on Tuesday and did not make their teams’ initial 53-man rosters, they immediately become free agents and are able to sign wherever they please. For players with fewer than four accrued NFL seasons that were released on Tuesday, they then go on waivers. Once on waivers, any team can put in a claim a player and must do so by 11:00 CST on Wednesday. That player is then awarded to the team with the highest wavier priority to put in a claim.
So, for example, the waiver priority at this time of the year is still determined by the 2023 draft order. This means that the Packers are 15th in waiver priority, which means that if any team who is first through 14th, or ahead of the Packers in that regard, puts in a claim on the same player, Green Bay misses out. If a player on the waiver wire does not have a team try to claim them, they then become an unrestricted free agent and can sign with whichever team they wish.
It’s also important to keep in mind that if the Packers are awarded a player off waivers, that player has to be placed on the 53-man roster and a cut will have to follow, since they are already at the maximum amount of players. Two position groups that Green Bay could be looking closely at right now are tight end and cornerback.
NFL practice squads consist of 16 players and the majority of the players that the Packers sign to the practice squad will be players that were with them throughout training camp. Last season, 14 of the 16 initial members of the practice squad spent training camp with Green Bay. Members of the practice squad can be elevated to game day rosters up to three times throughout the season, before the Packers would either have to sign that player to the 53-man roster or release them. We saw Green Bay use this strategy almost weekly last season, especially at positions dealing with injuries, and it is now a key element when it comes to overall roster building.
Below you will find an up to date tracker of each practice squad addition that the Packers have reportedly made, along with my analysis on each signing.
Keshawn Banks, Edge (Bill Huber): In a deep edge rusher room, it was easy for Keshawn Banks, a 2023 UDFA, to get lost in the crowd, but this summer he was able to flash as a pass rusher, especially over the final two weeks, and held his own against the run. According to PFF, Banks led the team in run-stops and his average depth of tackle was 0.3 yards—or basically at the line of scrimmage.
Austin Allen, TE (Ryan Wood): Allen saw some snaps with the starting special teams unit once Tyler Davis was out for the year and fills a needed role in such a young and inexperienced tight end room as the traditional in-line blocking tight end. Allen was the Packers highest graded run-blocker in the preseason per PFF.
Kadeem Telfort, OT (Tom Silverstein): At 6’8” – 322 pounds, Telfort has terrific size but needs refinement, especially at a position of such depth for the Packers. He is a prime practice squad player as he possesses potential but needs time to develop.
Kiondre Thomas, CB (Bill Huber): Thomas had another solid preseason, able to impact the game in coverage, as a tackler, and on special teams. He brings a well-rounded skill set to the position.
Innis Gaines, S (Bill Huber): Gaines can fill a number of roles for this Packers team. He was a core special teams player last season and saw snaps with some starting units this summer. He was a secondary nickel option behind Keisean Nixon this summer and could play safety if the team were in a pinch.
Benny Sapp, S (Tom Silverstein): With Anthony Johnson as the only safety on the 53-man roster under contract beyond 2023, having at least one safety to develop on the practice squad felt like a must for the Packers. Sapp finished the preseason with two tackles, a pass braking, and an interception.
Grant DuBose, WR (Bill Huber): Unfortunately, due to missed time from an injury, DuBose didn’t have enough practices to make up for the lost time he missed. However, in that time period he took some snaps with the second offense, made a few receptions in practice, and proved to be a willing blocker.
James Empey, C (Ryan Wood): By the end of training camp, Empey was seeing regular snaps with the second offense at center. Along with Josh Myers, he provides the Packers with a second true center option on the roster. Although there are others who can fill that role, center isn’t their primary position either.
Bo Melton, WR (Jordan Schultz): Melton was having a nice summer prior to his quad injury, very much in the mix for that sixth wide receiver roster spot. He possesses 4.34 speed, and was targeted often either in the quick passing game to get him the ball in space or downfield. Melton also played 12 special teams snaps in the Packers first preseason game.
Henry Pearson, FB (Andy Herman): Pearson came to the NFL with ample blocking experience as a tight end at Appalachian State. With the Packers, he provides them with a backup fullback option alongside Josiah Deguara. We also saw Pearson make a few plays in the passing game as well.
Alex McGough, QB (Aaron Wilson): McGough was playing catch up for much of training camp as a late addition, but was able to showcase his arm talent. Once the Packers moved on from Danny Etling, it became fairly clear that they liked what they saw in McGough. He capped off the preseason with a game-winning scoring drive against Seattle.
Chris Slayton, IDL (Matt Schneidman): Out of the interior defensive linemen who didn’t make the Packers initial roster, Slayton was by far the most productive. In the preseason, he played the most snaps, had the most pressures, and the best run defense grade from PFF.
Arron Mosby, Edge (Matt Schneidman): Another late addition to the Packers 90 man roster but Mosby was able to make an impact in his time with the Packers. I was really impressed in practice with some of the run defense snaps he had, able to keep
Corey Ballentine, CB: Ballentine was core special teams player from Week 10 on last season. This summer, he again saw starting special teams snaps and was consistently the second-team boundary cornerback in practice going back to OTAs. I thought he had a chance to be on the final roster.
Patrick Taylor, RB: I thought that Taylor was locked in as the third running back, given his reliability on special teams, as a blocker, and as a pass catcher. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Taylor elevated on game days at some point this season.
Kenneth Odumegwu, Edge: Odumegwu was apart of the Packers roster as an International Pathway Player. If he’s still on the team in that capacity, the Packers then only have 15 players on the practice squad and could make another addition.
Please note, that this article will be updated as reported signings come in