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Monday, August 26, 2013 9:22:38 AM(UTC)
Last preseason, I took a look at how the Packers could fudge the numbers in order to keep six wide receivers on the roster. It involved breaking down the starting rosters since 2009 and seeing how many players at each position were kept on the initial 53-man roster. From there, I could make some conjectures about what might need to happen to make the numbers work.
This one is worth betting money on. McCarthy considers his practice squad quarterback the third-string player, and they can always elevate him in case of dire emergency.
Wide Receiver: 5
They could potentially end up taking six, though I don’t think they’re going to. The players fighting for sixth place aren’t as special as Boykin was last year; moreover, they don’t have to account for an aging veteran (see: Driver, Donald) who won’t be playing much.
Tight End: 4
Finley, Quarless, and Williams are almost guaranteed locks, though fans won’t like the latter of those three. Mulligan, Bostick, and Taylor could very well be battling for one or two more spots.
Running Back: 4
With Starks in the doghouse, it would be hard to convince me that they’ll keep any more than Harris, Lacy, Franklin, and Green. The only wild card is Harris’ injury, which could tempt the Packers to keep Starks as insurance.
It’s been made clear that the Packers will keep a fullback on the roster, and it’s another bet I’d be willing to take that it’s John Kuhn.
Offensive Line: 8
In addition to the five starters, there’s Marshall Newhouse and Greg Van Roten as additional locks. The next guy in line for a job is probably Taylor Lane, who is an inside player and has been playing with the first-team kick return unit. As for the tackles, Sherrod and Tretter will probably go to the PUP, so they might try to stash Datko on the practice squad. They could decide to keep another tackle, though, and bump the total number up to nine linemen.
Defensive Line: 7
This number might be a bit misleading, because Mike Neal is now moonlighting as an outside linebacker. But figure out which seventh player they’d cut to get to six, and it’s a definite challenge.
Inside Linebacker: 5
This number could drop to four depending on how the Packers feel about Manning, Lattimore, and Barrington. But based on special teams rosters, Manning and Lattimore probably don’t have too much to worry about.
Outside Linebacker: 4
Again, this number is misleading, since Mike Neal doesn’t count. However, I could see it dropping to three if Moses has slipped far enough. Matthews, Perry, and Mulumba appear to be obvious locks.
The depth at cornerback is quite staggering. Williams, Shields, Hayward, House, and Hyde are clear locks, with the only question being Bush. Still, I have a feeling Bush isn’t going anywhere this year based on contract money and special teams value.
Some might argue that they could limit this to three players, but the sudden rise of Chris Banjo suggests otherwise. Besides that, it’s a risk to only have one backup player for two positions.
Punter, kicker, and long snapper… has been and always shall be.
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