The Packers reduced their roster to the league-mandated 53 players on Saturday. Following those cuts, announced by general manager Brian Gutekunst, here is a look at Green Bay’s 53-man team going into the 2018 NFL regular season.
G Kofi Amichia, LB Vince Biegel, RB Joel Bouagnon, CB Donatello Brown, TE Emanuel Byrd, RB LeShun Daniels, C Austin Davis, C Dillon Day, LB Kendall Donnerson, S Marwin Evans, CB Demetri Goodson, CB Josh Hawkins, LB James Hearns, RB Bronson Hill, LB Naashon Hughes, WR Adonis Jennings, FB Joe Kerridge, DL Tyler Lancaster, WR Kyle Lewis, DL James Looney, LB Greer Martini, DL Joey Mbu, LB Chris Odom, G/T Adam Pankey, LB Marcus Porter, TE Kevin Rader, FB Aaron Ripkowski, DL Conor Sheehy, TE Ryan Smith, LB Ahmad Thomas, LS Zach Triner, WR DeAngelo Yancey.
Note: While there weren’t any stunners on the level of cutting a key veteran like Josh Sitton in 2016, there were some surprise moves. Last year, the Packers had two fullbacks on their 53-man roster; this year they cut both, Ripkowski and Kerridge. Defensive backs who’d been on or around the team the past few years like Brown, Evans, Goodson and Hawkins, and pass-catchers Byrd and Yancey were victims of the Packers’ injection of talent in those areas. A few players with local connections – Wisconsin Badgers Biegel and Sheehy and Milwaukee native Evans – were among those released.
Injured reserve: RB Devante Mays, T Kyle Murphy, CB Quinten Rollins.
Reserve/suspended list: RB Aaron Jones.
Packers 53-man roster (projected starter/s in bold):
Aaron Rodgers, DeShone Kizer, Tim Boyle
Note: After the trade of Hundley to Seattle, the No. 2 job was clearly Kizer’s. He displayed glimpses of his high upside at times in the preseason, but still needs to improve his decision-making and mechanics. The latest in a recent line of undrafted rookie quarterbacks with impressive training camps in Green Bay, Boyle showed too much arm and ability to risk trying to get him onto the practice squad, actually making the team. The Packers and their fans hope neither passer has to see the field this season in place of Rodgers, the starter with the newly minted $134 million contract extension.
Running backs (2)
Jamaal Williams, Ty Montgomery
It’s virtually guaranteed that this position will change before practice begins Monday. Besides the prospect of getting Jones (suspended two games) back, Green Bay should add a fullback – perhaps bringing back Ripkowski or signing one off waivers – or activate a running back off its practice squad. A month from now, it seems likely the workhorse Williams and change-of-pace Jones will form a respectable 1-2 punch, with Montgomery as a versatile gadget back.
Wide receivers (8)
Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison, J’Mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown, Jake Kumerow, Trevor Davis
One of the biggest questions going into cut-down day was how many receivers would the Packers keep? Six seemed certain, seven probable and eight possible, with Davis – the talented but mistake-prone return man – on the bubble. Adams is one of the best wideouts in the NFL, Cobb a dependable-if-declining target and Allison a Rodgers favorite, despite some inconsistency. The trio of rookies – Moore, Valdes-Scantling and St. Brown – were going to make the team, as long as none of them completely bombed, and the 26-year-old Kumerow forced his way onto his first 53-man NFL roster with a sparkling camp. Though he’s valuable on special teams, Davis isn’t entirely out of the woods yet; receiver could be a position to cut when the Packers add a running back.
Tight ends (4)
Jimmy Graham, Lance Kendricks, Marcedes Lewis, Robert Tonyan
Graham, Green Bay’s marquee free agent signing, gives Rodgers a physically imposing target up the seam and in the red zone. Lewis, another offseason addition, is a good blocker with decent hands. Tonyan made the squad with a strong preseason. While Kendricks – a Milwaukee native and former Badger – struggled with drops in camp and could still be released, head coach Mike McCarthy prefers having several tight ends at his disposal.
Offensive line (9)
David Bakhtiari, Lane Taylor, Corey Linsley, Justin McCray, Bryan Bulaga, Lucas Patrick, Jason Spriggs, Byron Bell, Alex Light
Annually, there are concerns about the Packers’ depth on the offensive line. If healthy, their starting unit could be one of the league’s best, but injuries are unavoidable in the trenches. The backups are unproven, and behind Bakhtiari and Bulaga the tackle play – particularly from Spriggs – has not been encouraging. Taylor has become an above-average guard, Linsley is trusty and McCray will fare much better at guard than tackle. Bell is a reliable veteran inside, Patrick is on the team for his grit and the undrafted rookie Light turned heads with his effort.
Defensive line (5)
Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, Muhammad Wilkerson, Dean Lowry, Montravius Adams
This has the possibility of being one of the league’s best groups, if it stays healthy and plays to its potential. Daniels is smart, strong and relentless; Clark has flashed phenomenal ability in spurts; a few years ago, before getting his fat contract, Wilkerson was a devastating monster. Lowry is fine rotating in for a couple snaps at a time, while the physically gifted but frequently injured Adams is the wild card.
Inside linebackers (4)
Oren Burks, Blake Martinez, James Crawford, Antonio Morrison
The loss of Jake Ryan (ACL) for the season forced Burks to grow up fast. Burks’ shoulder injury meant the Packers needed to find another inside backer, which they did by acquiring Morrison in a trade from the Colts. When Burks returns, he’ll be starting alongside Martinez, the NFL’s top tackler last year who is steady and always in position, which could allow the rookie to be more of an instinctive playmaker. Crawford, an undrafted rookie who was only signed on Aug. 8, unexpectedly beat out Greer Martini and Ahmad Thomas.
Outside linebackers (4)
Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Kyler Fackrell, Reggie Gilbert
For the seventh year in a row, Green Bay will start Matthews and Perry at outside linebacker. While Mathews’ dynamic athleticism has declined, he’s still savvy and a good tackler; Perry, when not sidelined, is a potent pass rusher. The inexperienced Gilbert made the team with a sack-filled preseason, while Fackrell beat out second-year man Biegel despite little career production.
Kevin King, Tramon Williams, Jaire Alexander, Davon House, Josh Jackson, Herb Waters
This group has both new and old faces, as former Packers Williams and House return to help a talented trio of young corners – the second-year King and rookies Alexander and Jackson. King has battled shoulder injuries, but flashed shutdown coverage ability at times last year; Alexander and Jackson, especially, demonstrated playmaking skills in preseason. Williams can still play and House is an intelligent veteran. Waters, a valuable special teamer, beat out Brown, Goodson and Hawkins.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Kentrell Brice, Josh Jones, Jermaine Whitehead, Raven Greene
There is concern here. Since a Pro Bowl season in 2016, Clinton-Dix has regressed, and last year he was both a poor tackler and vocal complainer. At a position with minimal NFL experience, the Packers need him to be a leader. Brice, a former undrafted rookie, is a physical and willing tackler, but needs to cut down on mental errors and coverage lapses. Jones is fast, strong and apt to make big plays; the key for him is consistency. Whitehead and Greene, an undrafted rookie, won backup jobs over Evans, and can contribute on special teams.
K Mason Crosby, P JK Scott, LS Hunter Bradley
The longest-tenured Packer on the roster besides Rodgers, Crosby was a lock. Scott showed his huge leg in camp and was good enough in preseason games. The rookie Bradley took Zach Triner’s spot as the long snapper.
The Green Bay Packers kick off the 2018 regular season against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.