Projecting the Final 53

If they decided the roster based on awesome gladiator quotes, Sam Barrington would be a shoo-in.

If they decided the roster based on awesome gladiator quotes, Sam Barrington would be a shoo-in.

The Packers need to trim their roster to 53 men by 3 p.m. Central Time on Saturday, and although projections and predictions aren’t really my thing, it seems like the bloggerly thing to do to make an attempt at predicting the Packers’ roster for this year.

I don’t claim to have any special insight and I’ll admit that some of these are flat out guesses. But between guesses, gut feelings, and what I’ve seen on the field so far, here’s my best shot at the 2013 Green Bay Packers.

Offense (24)

Quarterback (2)

Keep: Aaron Rodgers, Vince Young

Cut: B.J. Coleman

Analysis: Rodgers is a no-brainer, Young is the best bet at the number two spot, and Coleman needs another year of seasoning before he can take a real run at the top backup spot.

Running Back (4)

Keep: Eddie Lacy, Alex Green, Johnathan Franklin, James Starks

Cut: none

Analysis: DuJuan Harris hurting his knee made this much easier. His injury gives the Packers good reason to keep both Green and Starks around to serve as second options behind Lacy while Franklin figures the NFL game out.

Fullback (1)

Keep: John Kuhn

Cut: Jonathan Amosa

Analysis: Kuhn is too good in pass protection to let go, although he’s expensive and getting old. For now, the folk hero lives to fight another day.

Tight End (4)

Keep: Jermichael Finley, Matthew Mulligan, Ryan Taylor, Brandon Bostick

Cut: Andrew Quarless, D.J. Williams, Jake Stoneburner

Analysis: Beyond Finley and possibly Mulligan, this is a crap shoot. Taylor contributes on special teams and Bostick has great potential, but Quarless is seasoned and a ferocious blocker and Williams is a good receiver. Any of those four might be interchangeable. Stoneburner may be a possible candidate for the practice squad.

Wide Receiver (5)

Keep: Randall Cobb, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Jarrett Boykin, Jeremy Ross

Cut: Tyrone Walker, Charles Johnson, Myles White

Analysis: Ross won himself a job Thursday night, and provided he doesn’t have any more fumble adventures, he should supplant Cobb on punt and kick returns. Some combination of the three cuts may return to Green Bay on the practice squad.

Offensive Line (8)

Keep: David Bakhtiar, Josh Sitton, Evan Dietrich-Smith, T.J. Lang, Don Barclay, Marshall Newhouse, Greg Van Roten, Lane Taylor

Cut: Andrew Datko, Kevin Hughes, Garth Gerhart, Patrick Lewis

Analysis: Beyond the five starters and possibly Newhouse, this is a hard call again. Van Roten can play multiple positions, so he stays. Lane Taylor just had a kid, so he stays. The others may again be interchangeable.

Defense (26)

Defensive Line (8)

Keep: Datone Jones, Ryan Pickett, B.J. Raji, Mike Neal, Mike Daniels, C.J. Wilson, Johnny Jolly, Josh Boyd

Cut: Jordan Miller

Analysis: Strangely, this turned into a position of considerable depth for the Packers. Boyd and MIller could both make a case to stay on the roster. Whoever gets cut could get a call back if they’re not snapped up by another team.

Linebacker (8)

Keep: A.J. Hawk, Clay Matthews, Brad Jones, Nick Perry, Robert Francois, Andy Mulumba, Nate Palmer, Sam Barrington,

Cut: Terrell Manning, Dezman Moses, Jamari Lattimore

Analysis: Linebacker made be the hardest position group to predict. Inside linebacker could go anywhere beyond Hawk, Jones, and Francois. On the outside, it’s all about who has the most potential and who can produce the most consistently. Mulumba and Palmer have both had their flashes, and Moses was last year’s undrafted hero. Of the three, Mulumba might have the biggest upside, but he’s extremely raw.

Cornerback (6)

Keep: Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde, Davon House, Jarrett Bush

Cut: James Nixon, Lloyce Means, Brandon Smith

Analysis: Special teams wunderkind Bush survives. House gets by on potential for one more year. On the other side of the fence, Means got burned too often, Nixon is fast, but inexperienced, and Smith is a year away from being NFL ready, although he has extreme physical gifts.

Safety (4)

Keep: Morgan Burnett, M.D. Jennings, Jerron McMillian, Chris Banjo

Cut: David Fulton, Chaz Powell

Analysis: Banjo did enough to stand out from the crowd at safety  that he earns the final spot in the foursome. He’s undersized, but hits like a ton of bricks.

Specialists (3)

Keep: Mason Crosby, Tim Masthay, Brett Goode

Cut: None

Analysis: A strong finish to training camp and a restructured contract keeps Mason Crosby around…for now. Masthay and Goode are both extremely reliable.

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