Running back Patrick Taylor is already out of practice squad elevations, so if the Green Bay Packers want him available on game-days moving forward, he must be added to the 53-man roster.
Players who are on the practice squad are able to be elevated to the game-day roster three times throughout the course of the season, at which point they then revert back to the practice squad. However, if a team wants to bring that player up for a fourth time or more, they must first sign him to the 53-man roster. In the Packers’ case, given that their 53-man roster is full, if they go this route with Taylor, a corresponding cut or moving a player to IR to clear a roster spot would have to follow.
Somewhat surprisingly, Taylor missed out on making the Packers’ initial 53-man roster and was signed the next day to the practice squad. But through three games, he has still been a contributor on both offense and special teams.
Taylor has played 28 special teams snaps on either the kick return or punt coverage units. Those 28 snaps are the 11th most on this Packers team per PFF. On offense, he has continued to hold up very well as a blocker, something we saw from him in 2022 and over the summer.
In Aaron Jones’ absence, Taylor has had nine carries, totaling 29 yards, but on Sunday’s win against New Orleans, he came up with a few big fourth-quarter receptions. In crunch time, with the Packers mounting a comeback, it was Taylor who they were relying on at running back.
"“I thought Patrick Taylor has done some great things for us,” said Matt LaFleur following Sunday’s win. “Obviously being on the practice squad, coming in and contributing not only on the special teams, but doing things on offense from not only a pass protection standpoint, but also catching the ball out of the back field and blocking.”"
Throughout training camp and the preseason, with the third running back spot up for grabs, LaFleur, as well as Brian Gutekunst, reiterated that this particular positional battle would be decided by special teams contributions, along with block and pass-catching responsibilities–basically everything in addition to just running the ball. In that comeback win on Sunday, we saw Taylor impact the game in each of those key phases.
Given Taylor’s contributions to the team through three games, it feels almost inevitable that the team is going to sign him to the 53-man roster at some point. Even when Jones is back on the field, as we saw Week 1, Taylor still has a role on this team as a special teams contributor.
During the preseason, Emanuel Wilson showed great vision, burst, and upside as a ball carrier. However, as an undrafted rookie coming from a DII school, refinement is needed. In terms of which player can make a great impact as a blocker and on special teams right now, it’s Taylor.
If, or when, Taylor is added to the 53-man roster, a corresponding roster move will have to be made. Either releasing safety Zayne Anderson or placing him on IR is one option the Packers have. Anderson was claimed off waivers following cutdowns to be a special teams contributor, but he was a healthy scratch in Weeks 1 and 2 and then missed the most recent game with a hamstring injury.
Green Bay also suffered a few more injuries on Sunday, which includes an ankle injury for De’Vondre Campbell and a biceps injury to Carrington Valentine. Depending on the severity of each, which we don’t know at this time, either of those players could be placed on IR, thus opening up a roster spot.
Although it’s unusual for the Packers to roster four running backs on their 53-man, I don’t see the team moving on from Wilson this early in the season, knowing that he is a developmental player.
With the Packers playing the Detroit Lions on Thursday night, the decision on whether or not to add Taylor to the 53-man roster could be made as soon as Tuesday.