The preseason is over and now the shadow of “The Turk” looms large over the Green Bay Packers roster and those of the other 31 NFL teams. Rosters will be trimmed from 90 to 53 plus a 10-man practice squad.
Here is a look at the Packers final roster projections.
QB: (3) Aaron Rodgers, DeShone Kizer, Tim Boyle
With Rodgers healthy, the Packers are as strong as any team in the league at this position. Kizer showed enough to win the backup job and force Brett Hundley’s trade. Boyle showed some promise in camp but is very raw. The Packers are keeping Boyle to prevent a repeat of what happened last year with Taysom Hill a year ago.
RB (3) Jamaal Williams, Ty Montgomery, Aaron Jones*, Joel Bouagnon
Williams will be the starter opening night with Montgomery set as the change of pace or third-down back. Jones looked very strong against the Chiefs but he will be suspended for the first two games and won’t count against the roster for that time. Bouagnon showed he is serviceable in preseason and he will stick around while Jones is serving his suspension. Expect Devante Mays to land on the IR. If he’s healthy, he could supplant Bouagnon.
FB (1) Aaron Ripkowski
The Packers will likely keep one fullback since head coach Mike McCarthy favors this position. Ripkowski looks better than Kerridge but neither player is a standout.
WR (7) Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison, J’Mon Moore, Equanimeous St. Brown, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Trevor Davis
The first three spots are set but then it gets tougher. All three rookie draft picks have had their moments to shine and their inconsistencies. Jake Kumerow was the star of camp early but injured himself against the Steelers and missed the final two preseason contests. Expect GM Brian Gutekunst to stash Kumerow on IR and keep all three draft choices. Davis makes the team on the strength of his ability as a return specialist.
TE (4) Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis, Lance Kendricks, Robert Tonyan
Graham and Lewis give the Pack a great one-two punch at tight end, a position that was a weakness a year ago. Tonyan earned a roster spot with his strong preseason. His receiving ability may make Kendricks expendable and the Pack could save a roster spot and some cap room by releasing the veteran. Gutekunst will most likely keep all four and try to stash Emanuel Byrd on the practice squad.
OL (9) David Bakhtiari, Lane Taylor, Corey Linsley, Justin McCray, Bryan Bulaga, Jason Spriggs, Byron Bell, Lucas Patrick, Adam Pankey
Depth is a major concern here. Spriggs is clearly the top backup tackle. Bell was a disappointment but played just well enough in the preseason final to secure a spot. His versatility helps. Pankey also sticks due to his ability to play different positions in a pinch. With Patrick unavailable for Week 1 due to injury, Kyle Murphy has a chance to make the Week 1 roster.
DL (5) Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, Muhammad Wilkerson, Dean Lowry, Montravius Adams
The Pack has a strong group of starters here and Lowry and Adams have potential and add solid depth. Gutekunst will try to keep Joey Mbu for the practice squad
OLB (5) Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Reggie Gilbert, Kyler Fackrell, Vince Biegel
If Matthews and Perry stay healthy, this position is solid, but that’s a big if based on both of their injury histories. Gilbert locked up the top backup spot with a strong camp. Fackrell was OK but Biegel may make the roster by default. Don’t be surprised if the Pack looks to add a veteran off the waiver wire to fortify the depth at this position. Kendall Donnerson and Chris Odom are candidates for the practice squad.
ILB (4) Blake Martinez, Oren Burks, Antonio Morrison, Ahmad Thomas
Martinez was a tackling machine last year. Burks showed promise after Jake Ryan was lost for the season. Burks separated his shoulder before the Raiders and may not be ready for Week 1 vs the Bears. The Packers traded for Morrison before the Chiefs game and will make the roster based on his experience. Thomas edges out Greer Martini because of his versatility. Expect Martini to be placed on the practice squad if nobody else claims him.
CB (5) Tramon Williams, Kevin King, Jaire Alexander, Davon House, Josh Jackson
Williams and House add experience while King, Alexander and Jackson represent the future. Demetri Goodson has a chance to make the club for his special teams contributions. The rookies may struggle at times early on, but this is a talented group with depth and promise and it should get better as the season progresses.
S (4) Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Kentrell Brice, Marwin Evans, Josh Jones
Clinton-Dix and Brice will be the starters. This is a big season for Clinton-Dix who is in the last year of his contract and who slumped last year. Evans and Jones provide depth. Raven Greene makes the practice squad and may even find a roster spot for his work on coverage teams.
ST (3) Mason Crosby, JK Scott, Zach Triner
Crosby and Scott are locks and Scott has the potential to be a difference maker as a punter. Triner edged out draft pick Hunter Bradley, but it wouldn’t be a shock if the Pack added a new player at this position and released both of the present candidates.