By Jon Meerdink
Today is cutdown day number one, so let’s take a quick look at who’s in and who’s out as we head toward the final roster.
Quarterbacks (3) – Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn, Scott Tolzien
Analysis: It’s not impossible that the Packers will keep just two quarterbacks. I just haven’t seen a good reason to keep someone else in favor of doing so. If you have good quarterbacks, you might as well keep them.
Running Backs (4) – Eddie Lacy, James Starks, DuJuan Harris, John Kuhn
Analysis: Rajion Neal was an enticing prospect for that one game, but his knee injury has rendered him a non-factor since then. I think the Packers like their three-headed running back monster and are content with DuJuan Harris returning kicks. This group is set.
Tight Ends (4) – Richard Rodgers, Andrew Quarless, Brandon Bostick, Jake Stoneburner
Analysis: Bostick’s injury complicates this decision a little bit. I think the Packers go with Stoneburner’s pass catching over Ryan Taylor’s special teams acumen at to shore up for the loss of Bostick in the short term. Everything else is set.
Wide Receiver (5) – Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin, Davante Adams, Jeff Janis
Analysis: Unless the Packers surprise everyone and keep six wide receivers, this group is set in stone. Janis has shown too much to sneak him onto the practice squad, and no one else has really made it a hard decision to keep just five. If the Packers kept six, Kevin Dorsey would be next up.
Offensive Line (8) – David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, J.C. Tretter, T.J. Lang, Bryan Bulaga, Derek Sherrod, Corey Linsley, Lane Taylor,
Analysis: I think Lane Taylor is the only real question mark here. If there’s another guard the Packers like better, they might keep that option over Taylor, but it’s hard to say without an in dept analysis. Derek Sherrod’s physical gifts are still superior to any of the other backup tackles in camp, and even if he’s not Don Barclay, he’s probably still better than anybody else. Corey Linsley slides into the starting center spot with Tretter’s injury, and he may never get it back if he shows a command of the offense in Tretter’s absence.
Defensive line (6) – Mike Daniels, Datone Jones, Josh Boyd, Khyri Thornton, Mike Pennel, Letroy Guion
Analysis: Daniels, Boyd, and Jones will probably be your Week 1 starters along the defensive front, with Letroy Guion and Mike Pennel providing depth as necessary. Khyri Thornton remains the big question mark. At the beginning of camp, I had him pegged as Josh Boyd 2.0. Physically, they’re almost the identical, but I can’t think of one thing I’ve seen Thornton do in any one of the three preseason games. He’s been invisible, which is a heck of an accomplishment for a 300 pound man.
Linebackers (11) – Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Mike Neal, Nick Perry, A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones, Jamari Lattimore, Carl Bradford, Jayrone Elliot, Sam Barrington, Andy Mulumba
Analysis: The vast majority of the linebacker spots are no-brainers. Carl Bradford, though, is not. I want to believe the Packers won’t cut him, but really I have no concrete reason to keep him on this list. I know Ted Thompson is loathe to cut draft picks (no matter what he might say), but Bradford has been an unmitigated disaster at outside linebacker. If they really thought of him as an inside linebacker, I feel like they’d have made the switch much earlier. He’d better go gangbusters on Thursday, or he’ll find himself out of a job.
Cornerbacks (5) – Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward, Davon House, Jarrett Bush
Analysis: A great effort by Jumal Rolle, but I think he’s headed for the practice squad. Demetri Goodson is headed somewhere else, so there’s at least one draft pick who won’t be making the roster. Other than that, no surprises.