Packers elevate Bo Melton and Kenyan Drake: What it means

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Bo Melton (80) is shown during organized team activities Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Green Bay, Wis.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Bo Melton (80) is shown during organized team activities Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Green Bay, Wis. /

Ahead of their matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Green Bay Packers elevated wide receiver Bo Melton and running back Kenyan Drake from the practice squad. Here is what it could mean for Sunday’s game.

Melton was signed to the Green Bay 53-man roster prior to the team’s Thanksgiving matchup with Detroit. He saw two snaps on offense and six on special teams. Melton was then released a few days later before being re-signed to the practice squad. This is Melton’s first elevation.

Drake, meanwhile, hasn’t even been in Green Bay for two weeks, but this will be the second game that he’s elevated for. Against New York, he provided depth as the third running back option but did not see any snaps. Although Drake just arrived in Green Bay, LaFleur and Adam Stenavich have few reservations about needing to rely on Drake if that ends up being the case, given his NFL experience.

"“Obviously, Kenyan is relatively new to our system,” said LaFleur, “but he’s a pro. He’s handled himself accordingly since the day he got here. He’s put in the time. I think he’s got a pretty good understanding. He’s been around a lot of ball. I think it’s easier to acclimate in a timely fashion for guys that have been around a lot of different places. I’ve got not reservations about him.”"

So what does this all mean?

With Green Bay adding Melton to the roster, that does bring into question Dontayvion Wicks’ status. Wicks is questionable with an ankle injury. Without Christian Watson, who is listed as doubtful, having both Melton and Wicks gives the Packers six receivers, and for most of the year, they’ve had only five active on game days–although the last time Melton played, that was the one instance Green Bay had six receivers available.

With Drake being added, that probably means that the Packers will be without either Aaron Jones or AJ Dillon. On Thursday, Jones said that he was feeling confident about being able to be on the field. Dillon is dealing with a broken thumb. Drake will once again be the third option, with Patrick Taylor as the backup. If Jones does play, what his workload will look like as he returns to action remains to be seen. There is the potential that Drake and Taylor see increased roles if Jones is on a snap count.

"“Every week is the same,” said Taylor at his locker on Thursday. “I’ve preparing like a starter since Week 1 when I was on practice squad here. So I continue to prepare the same way I do every week.”"

Three other players listed as questionable for Green Bay are Quay Walker, Jaire Alexander, and Darnell Savage. Linebacker and cornerback – especially with Eric Stokes back in the mix – are positions of depth from a numbers standpoint on the 53-man, so the fact that no practice squad additions were made at these positions doesn’t tell us much about Walker or Alexander’s game-day status.

At safety, the Packers have preferred to have five available on game day, but even if Savage can’t go, they still have four players healthy, with Rudy Ford and Jonathan Owens starting, Anthony Johnson as a backup, and Zayne Anderson as a core special teams player. Savage did not practice at all this week with a chest injury. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reported that Savage is not expected to play.