It’s been awhile, I had to take a bit of a break post draft, but am now ready to get back in the groove. This will be my first Green Bay Packers roster prediction of the off-season.
With this being the first one of the off-season we won’t go into too much detail on depth chart, playing time, or even practice squad yet; probably in the next one. So let’s get to it!
Packers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Offense
Jordan Love, Sean Clifford
This one is pretty easy; Love will be the guy, we all know that. Clifford was a fifth-round pick, and the only other quarterback on the roster is Danny Etling. As a rookie, Clifford is probably already a better QB than Etling.
The front office could bring in a vet, but I would still find it hard to believe they would cut a fifth-round pick. Maybe they keep three quarterbacks, if the vet at least shows he is a little better than Clifford.
Running back (3):
Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Lew Nichols III
The first two are obvious. Nothing much else to say there. The third spot comes down to Tyler Goodson, Lew Nichols, or Patrick Taylor. Taylor has been in Green Bay for three seasons. While he has shown he can play at the NFL level, he just hasn’t shown enough progression for the Packers to keep him around.
With Goodson, he could make the roster if the Packers decide to keep four, but I doubt as the third because you want a guy who can do everything for that spot and his pass pro is pretty bad.
Tight end (4):
Tucker Kraft, Luke Musgrave, Josiah Deguara, Tyler Davis
This position is pretty cut-and-dry. Kraft and Musgrave are, of course, both day two picks who will probably see the majority of the snaps this season at tight end. Deguara is the fullback/H-back, and Davis is the special teamer/occasional tight end. His spot is the most in danger, but there isn’t much behind him. If Austin Allen can show something in preseason, he could beat him out.
Wide Receiver (6):
Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Dontayvion Wicks, Grant DuBose, Bo Melton
The first four are pretty much locks to make the roster. Watson and Doubs will be the starters with Reed playing out of the slot. Wicks and DuBose have upside, and both are solid blockers. Wicks has just 18 career snaps on special teams, where DuBose has 97, so he will have to show he can learn it.
Toure and Melton will be in a fight for the 6th spot. I kept Melton over Toure because he can be a gadget/RB/returner/slot, where Toure is pretty much just a slot. A lot will be depend on if the Packers are willing to go light or heavy at another position. The Packers could also trade Melton or Toure.
Offensive line (9):
David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, John Runyan Jr., Yosh Nijman, Zach Tom, Sean Rhyan, Rasheed Walker, Royce Newman
I would say eight of these guys are pretty much locks to make the roster (Bakh, Jenkins, Myers, Runyan, Nijman, Tom, and Newman). That leaves one spot to be fought over by Jake Hanson, Caleb Jones, Luke Tenuta, and Rasheed Walker. Walker and Hanson are the only two with any real positional versatility, but Hanson isn’t very good.
Tom and Jenkins can both play center, and the Packers have a number of guards already. Walker could play left or right tackle, and could train to play guard as well. Tenuta and Jones are right tackles only. Jones did play some left tackle in the preseason, but I wouldn’t trust him there in a regular season game. If they go with 10, then it’s between Hanson or Jones. I would go with Jones.
Packers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Defense
Defensive Line (5):
Kenny Clark, TJ Slaton, Devonte Wyatt, Colby Wooden, Karl Brooks
This position is mostly cut-and-dry, as well. Clark, Slaton, Wyatt, and Wooden are locks. Brooks is close, since he is a draft pick and has shown he can rush the passer and the Packers like defensive linemen that can collapse the pocket. He has some versatility as well. The only question is do they keep a 6th?
I don’t think so, since they use so much sub-package defense and Ford didn’t play last season and didn’t do much in pre-season, either. They could easily get him on the practice squad.
Edge Rushers (5):
Preston Smith, Lukas Van Ness, Kingsley Enagbare, Justin Hollins, Keshawn Banks. PUP: Rashan Gary
Gary tore his ACL in November, so even if he’s ahead of schedule that still puts him ready to play at the end of September or early October. PUP is four weeks now, so that pretty much lines up. Smith, Enagbare, Van Ness, and Hollins are all pretty much locks.
I chose Hollins because he showed he can get after the quarterback a bit last season, can defend the run, and can play some special teams. Despite poor testing, Banks is more athletic than Brenton Cox Jr. (he was dealing with a hamstring issue during his pro day); although Cox does play with more power and is better against the run.
With your last edge rusher spot you are looking for someone who’s athletic, can play special teams, and whose motor is non-stop. That is Banks. Cox had motor issues in college, and he isn’t fast or quick, and has no special teams experience. Banks has almost 200 special teams snaps in his career. Once Gary is back, Banks likely goes to the practice squad.
DeVondre Campbell, Quay Walker, Isaiah McDuffie, Tariq Carpenter, Eric Wilson
The top four here are set in stone. The only question is do they keep five or six? Wilson would be close to a lock. The only other off-ball linebacker is Jimmy Phillips, who has a legit chance to make the roster.
I think they could stash him on the practice squad for a season and use him as a game day call up if there are injuries. He is a good linebacker and has a lot of special teams experience, playing 137 snaps just this past season.
Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas, Keisean Nixon, Shemar Jean-Charles, Carrington Valentine, Corey Ballentine. IR/PUP: Eric Stokes
Alexander, Douglas, and Nixon are locks, and SJC is close to it unless he bombs in the pre-season. He has special teams experience and can back up Nixon in the slot. Valentine is an athletic freak and a good special teams play, and of course has potential down the line.
Ballentine is another Gutekunst type; an athletic freak who is a good special teams player. You could do worse with your 6th CB.
I have Stokes on either the in-season IR or PUP, because we just don’t know where he is in his recovery.
Darnell Savage, Jonathan Owens, Rudy Ford, Anthony Johnson Jr., Tarvarius, Moore
The Packers have eight total safeties on the roster right now, and outside of Savage their aren’t many roster locks. Due to his youth and starting experience, I would pencil Owens in as a starter this season. Ford showed last season he can play from scrimmage, if needed, and is a good special teams player.
Johnson Jr., of course, has down-the-line starter potential, and Moore is like a more physically talented version of Leavitt — and he still has some untapped potential.
Packers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Special Teams
Special Teams (3):
Anders Carlson, Matt Orzech, Patt O’Donnell
Carlson is a lock, despite what Packers coaches have said and will say leading up to the season. He is a kicker who was drafted in the 5th round — unless he is complete garbage they wont cut him.
Orzech is experienced and received some guaranteed money, so much like Carlson, unless he stinks up the joint he is a lock for the roster. O’Donnell, though, will have a fight for his spot with Dan Whelan, who I think is a year away but I would not be surprised if they kept him over O’Donnell.
There you guys have it, my early 53-man roster prediction for the Packers 2023 season. As always, you can always read any of my other articles here at ATB Netowrk.