By Jon Meerdink
With one preseason game in the books, at least a few of the names on the Packers roster are starting to move, but not all of them. Unfortunately, some position groups are becoming even more muddled than they were to begin with. Let’s take another quick look at where the roster could stand just over three weeks from the first roster cutdown.
Analysis: Tolzien moves slightly ahead of Flynn with a strong showing in Saturday’s preseason game, but not by much. His arm strength was on display, while Flynn struggled against the wet conditions. That said, I still think the Packers could carry three quarterbacks. There’s enough breathing room elsewhere on the roster to make it a possibility.
Analysis: I’m backing off the first prediction of four backs on the roster, but at least one other position group could make four running backs a possibility. If there is a fourth running back, it’d be Rajion Neal, not LaDarius Perkins, at this point. Ina Liaina is big and runs angry, but he’s not quite enough to unseat John Kuhn, at least not this year.
Analysis: The first three are locks, and Ryan Taylor wins the fourth job by default. Jake Stoneburner didn’t flash in the preseason game, Justin Perillo is just a guy, and Colt Lyerla is hurt. Richard Rodgers was just as advertised in the first preseason game, so he retains his top spot.
Analysis: Three veterans and a draft pick all have their spots locked up. I think the fifth spot could go to Jeff Janis by default, simply because nobody else has been that impressive. It’s not for lack of opportunities either. Chris Harper had two big drops (on top of two big catches, to be fair) and Kevin Dorsey was just average on Saturday.
Analysis: Don Barclay‘s injury forces another addition to the o-line group. The Packers now have to keep a backup at both guard and tackle to make up for Barclay’s absence. Lane Taylor is the first guy up at this point, while Sherrod gains a little job security in Barclay’s absence. Corey Linsley sticks around as a backup center.
Analysis: Not a lot of mystery here. The three big guns (Raji, Daniels, Jones) are locked in. Boyd and Thornton are safe. The sixth spot is the only question mark, and the wide-bodied Mike Pennel occupied the most snaps on Saturday. It feels like it’s his job to lose. Flexibility at linebacker (Peppers, Neal, Perry) give the Packers the option of carrying only a few defensive linemen.
Analysis: The defense makes up some ground on the defensive line with the new elephant position. It seemed like a couple undrafted free agents might be pushing for playing time at inside linebacker, but Jake Doughty’s injury throws that into question. If Carl Bradford ever moves inside, it could open up a spot for an undrafted rookie at outside linebacker. Jayrone Elliot is a possibility.
Analysis: It’s possible I could be suffering from some recency bias, but man was it nice to see Jumal Rolle making a couple plays on Saturday. Micah Hyde‘s hybrid skills does make it possible that only five cornerbacks could make the final roster, but for now, let’s stick with six.
Analysis: Nothing too shocking here. Sean Richardson continues his stellar camp, while Hyde, Burnett, and Clinton-Dix all had their spots locked up from day one. If the Packers choose to go with five cornerbacks, the Chris Banjo could fill an extra safety spot here, or that roster spot could potentially end up being filled by a running back.
Analysis: No competition means no doubt here. These three roster spots are safe.
Conclusion: Injuries have forced a couple small shifts, but overall the roster seems surprisingly set. We could still seem a couple surprising shifts at running back, or perhaps even quarterback.