Green Bay Packers: First 53 Man Roster Prediction

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My first 53 man roster predication of the year. This is post mini-camp, pre training camp. Something fans seem to forget when putting together a 53 man roster is that it NFL teams do not just pick the 53 best players. Since 1/4 of the players on a roster are going to be role players. They will need guys to play special teams, guys who can back up at multiple positions, and a balanced roster. So with my prediction I try to follow those rules. You can find the current roster here.

QB(2):

Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love

I would love for them to keep Kurt Benkert. I feel he has #2 quarterback potential, but it just doesn’t make sense in this day and age. I’m pretty sure they would love to have him back on the practice squad.

RB(3):

Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Patrick Taylor

The top two are super easy. Jones and Dillon will see the lions share of snaps/carries. The battle will be for the #3/#4 back. With Kylin Hill coming of the ACL tear he will end up starting the season on the PUP and I feel Taylor offers the best of both worlds for the #3 spot. He can do a bit of everything and he still has some upside. Goodson and Baylor should have shots at being on the practice squad.

WR(6):

Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Randall Cobb, Amari Rodgers

A lot of people want to keep Samori Toure and I get it, but right now I don’t see a spot on the roster for him. He struggles with press coverage and he is more of a slot receiver. The Packers already have two slot receivers. LaFleur rarely uses four receiver sets. Also with the lack of experience at wide receiver on the roster its expected they will lean on their running game and use their backs in the passing game. Toure can play special teams but so can Doubs, Lazard and Watson. So I see Toure spending a season on the practice squad getting stronger.

TE(4):

Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara, Tyler Davis, Dominique Daffney

This group was another easy group to figure out. Lewis is your blocker, Deguara is your hback, Davis is kind of the do it all guy, and Daffney is the hback/full back type guy. Robert Tonyan starts the year on the PUP. Out of the other two tight ends on the roster I think Wolf probably has the best shot at being back on the practice squad.

OL(10)

David Bakhtiari, Jon Runyan, Josh Myers, Royce Newman, Yosh Nijman, Sean Rhyan, Cole Van Lanen, Zach Tom, Jake Hanson, Rasheed Walker

The only debate with this group was whether to keep 9 or 10. Hanson and Van Lanen were the border line guys. With Jenkins likely starting the season on the PUP I think they go with 10 and probably Van Lanen gets cut. Every offensive lineman on this roster has positional versatility outside of Bakhtiari, Nijman and Walker. Walker could learn guard though.

Offense(25)

DL(5):

Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, TJ Slaton, Devonte Wyatt, Jarran Reed

A number of people want to keep 6 and I get it, but there is no need. The Packers rarely run a three DL front. I don’t see the reason for keeping Jonathan Ford. He is a pure nose tackle and the Packers already have three guys on the roster capable of playing that position. He would just be a waste of a roster spot. They should easily be able to place him on the practice squad. Wyatt and Clark are the pass rushers. Reed and Lowry are kind of the do it all guys and Slaton is the developmental guy that can play some NT and provide a little pass rush.

Edge(5):

Rashawn Gary, Preston Smith, Kingsley Enagbare, Randy Ramsey, Jonathan Garvin

Gary, Smith, and Enagbare are all locks to make the roster. After them it comes down to what type of edge rushers do the Packers want as their #4/#5 guys. Historically it seems they like to keep at least one for special teams duties. That is why I kept Ramsey and Garvin because of the guys left he probably has the most potential.

LB(5):

De’Vondre Campbell, Quay Walker, Krys Barnes, Isaiah McDuffie, Ellis Brooks

Campbell and Walker will be the starters. Barnes is still good enough to see some time though. He has also shown he can play special teams and could see an increase in snaps there with a reduction of snaps from scrimmage. McDuffie is there purely for special teams. Brooks is a down the road developmental guy. He started just two years at Penn State, but also played a lot of special teams his first two years so he can contribute there while developing.

DB(10):

Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes, Rasul Douglas, Keisean Nixon, Shemar Jean-Charles, Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage, Vernon Scott, Tariq Carpenter, Raleigh Texada

I feel the top five corners are pretty much locked in at this point. Obviously Alexander, Stokes, and Douglas are your top thee. Nixon and Jean-Charles are both solid special teams players who look to be better slot corners than outside corners and the Packers lack a true slot in the top three guys. Nixon is the better corner at this point though and will see a decent amount of time in the slot with Jaire, Savage and Douglas also seeing time there. Texada is the young guy with upside who can pitch in on special teams

At safety, of course Amos and Savage are your starters. It seems Barry doesn’t use a lot of “big Nickel” or 3rd safety packages. Scott is probably the best safety on the roster when you look at the rest. He also has experience on special teams. Carpenter is a safety/linebacker hybrid who will probably see some time at both, but will spend most of his rookie season on special teams.

Defense: 24

ST(3):

Mason Crosby, Pat O’Donnell, Jack Coco

Crosby and O’Donnell are locks for obvious reasons. I went with Coco because Wirtel was terrible last year and I think they try to make a clean sweep outside of Crosby. There is the possibility that the long snapper isn’t even on the roster at this point.

NFL Draft: Thoughts on Packers First Round Picks

My thoughts on the Packers first round picks. So to start off, I was wrong. I never thought they would draft an off-ball linebacker in the first round. As we all know they haven’t done that since AJ Hawk. I thought there was a good chance they would draft one. I just didn’t think it would be in the first. Both players were on my Packers board. I will also have full scouting reports up for Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt tomorrow.

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Quay Walker:

Obviously most people were surprised by the pick. There had been rumblings the last week or so that he would end up as the first linebacker drafted. But no one thought it would be to the Packers in the first round. Then yesterday we started seeing mock drafts with the Packers drafting him, and it was a number of “connected” people within the draft community.

It was thought that it might mean something. The Packers under Ted Thompson really had no value on linebackers. Brian Gutekunst seemed to follow this with only drafting Oren Burks in the 3rd round, and no other linebackers on day one or two. So, there is another threshold of Ted that he broke. He did stick to their athleticism thresholds though.

Now to Quay Walker as a player. He has some similarities to Eric Stokes in that he is super athletic, came out as a junior, and was seen as a player who is still a little raw and needs some work before he reaches his potential. He should team with De’Vondre Campbell to form a very highly athletic duo while he develops. I wouldn’t be surprised if he shared those duties with Krys Barnes early on. This will also allow them to use a lot more base defense, especially if he can show solid coverage skills.

He shows a lot of hustle on film, and is always around the ball. Those are good qualities to start with. He might even play special teams early on, where he could be a demon. This pick also puts a limit on how long Campbell will be in Green Bay. If Walker develops as hoped, then I don’t see Campbell being a Packer for more than two more years. Walker then takes over as a lead guy.

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Devonte Wyatt:

The Packers traded away one Devonte — or in this case, Davante — and draft another. Wyatt was always one of my favorite defensive linemen in this draft. He fit the Packers almost to a T, except of course the age issue. The former Bulldog can team with Kenny Clark to form an elite due that can both stop the run and rush the passer.

He also adds a complement to Clark as a pass rusher, with Wyatt winning with his explosion, speed, and agility versus Clark’s leverage, strength, and drive. Clark is seen as a “slow burn” pass rusher, whereas Devonte wins fast/quick. He immediately becomes the second-best defensive lineman on the roster. Early on he will probably rotate with Jarran Reed. That is something the Packers like to do. They like to bring their rookies a long slowly as the season goes.

Wyatt does have the off-field issues that popped up recently, even though they were from 2020 and were in the news. Some people just read the headlines and automatically assumed he beat his girlfriend or something like that. But if you read the report it wasn’t that type of thing.

Was he in the wrong? 100% and it should have never happened, but he didn’t hurt any one or point a gun at anyone. People do make mistakes, and the Packers tend to lean conservative when it comes to off-field issues with draft picks. So if they gave him the go ahead, I have full confidence in Gutekunst that it was just a dumb mistake made by a young kid. I also expect the Packers to have him on a “short leash” and told him as much.

Final Thoughts:

While I personally would have drafted a Tyler Smith or a Jermaine Johnson over Walker, I understand why the Packers took him in the first round. Of course, I love the Wyatt pick and think he will have the bigger impact in year one and could even have a bigger impact in year two, as well. Walker will be the Packers future at inside linebacker with Campbell turning 30 soon and the Packers not usually keeping guys past 30. I won’t give this draft a grade. Its three years too soon, but I will say so far I like it!

Will they now be called the Green Bay Bulldogs? If they draft George Pickens tomorrow, they might!

Green Bay Packers Mock Draft: What if Aaron Rodgers was traded?

Aaron Rodgers is traded to the Denver Broncos in this Packers mock draft
Photo Credit: Broncos Wire

It’s time for a Green Bay Packers themed mock draft, folks. We all know about the rumors of Aaron Rodgers ending up in Denver now that Nathaniel Hackett got hired there and is possibly bringing Justin Outten as his offensive coordinator. So I did a mock draft to get an idea of what kind of players the Packers could get in the draft if they traded him to Denver.

I used the mock draft simulator at Rise N Draft Scouting, and since you can not trade players for draft picks with the draft simulators I took over as GM for both the Packers and the Broncos.

I think we can all agree that a package for him would start with at least a first and a second this season. The compensation in 2023 and beyond is unimportant for this exercise though. So let’s not worry about that for the moment. With the “trade” the Packers acquire picks #9 and #40 from the Broncos. This gives the Packers a total of 11 draft picks.

This mock is assuming the Packers go full ‘rip the band-aid off’ and lose Adams, both Smith brothers, Lewis, MVS, Lowry, Crosby, Cobb, Sullivan, Douglas, and Wirtel. All restricted free agents are back, plus Bojorquez and Campbell. Now to the picks.

Round 1: Pick 9 – David Ojabo – Edge – Michigan

We start this Packers mock draft with Michigan EDGE David Ojabo. With the Smiths gone, there of course is a gaping hole opposite Gary. Ojabo fills it perfectly. He is a freak athlete with immense upside and potential. He has little experience though, only having played football since his junior year of high school. I would suspect his development will take a similar arc to Gary.

Round 1: Pick 28 – Daxton Hill – S – Michigan

Ojabo and his teammate get to keep playing together. Hill has similar athleticism and upside as Darnell Savage had when he came out. He is super fast and explosive along with having experience playing in the slot. Unlike Savage, he is more of a pure free safety and is also a touch bigger. This selection would allow Savage to move into the “star” role, even potentially opening an option to be used interchangeably.

Round 2: Pick 40 – George Pickens – WR – Georgia

If not for his Achilles injury in the spring, we would probably be talking about Pickens as a top 20 pick. He is long, super athletic, and already a very good deep threat. It’s no exaggeration that this young man has #1 receiver potential. Even if he doesn’t reach his full potential, the Packers still have an MVS-type player on their roster.

Round 2: Pick 59 – Phidarian Mathis – DL – Alabama

Mathis gives Kenny Clark the help fans have been clamoring for over the last three seasons. A bit of a late bloomer, his first three seasons he was seen as mostly just a big, strong run stuffer. He has really improved his pass rush skills this season and could play nose to let Kenny go outside and one gap — or the other way around. He would make it a lot harder for teams to double Kenny and leave Mathis and the edge rushers all one-on-one.

Round 3: Pick 92 – Isaiah Likely – TE – Costal Carolina

Likely would be the most athletic tight end that the Packers have drafted since Jermichael Finley. He brings a similar skill set, but not as big. Likely would be the seam-splitting tight end that the Packers thought they were getting with Sternberger, but faster. He would create a great tag team with Tonyan.

Round 4: Pick 128 – Emeka Emezie – Wide Receiver -North Carolina State

Emezie is another great fit for what the Packers look for in their wide receivers. He is 6-foot-3, 212 with long arms, good speed, and good hands. Emezie plays a physical game, is a good blocker, and is great on contested catches and in the red zone. There’s still room for growth in his route running, but he has #2 receiver upside.

Round 4: Pick 137 – Bryan Cook – Safety – Cincinnati

The Packers #3 and #4 safeties have been poor these last two years. With Hill and Cook on board, this selection makes it a strength. Cook has versatility and can play both free, strong, and even some slot experience. Cook brings good size to the field. 2021 was his best season to day, especially in coverage. He picked off two passes, broke up seven, and did not allow a single touchdown.

Round 5: Pick 169 – Austin Allen – TE – Nebraska

Allen is a huge tight end; at 6-foot-8 260, lbs. People would think he is a big, lumbering tight end that is essentially an offensive tackle. In reality, he is actually a pretty solid athlete. He is a very good blocker though, and would be a great replacement for Marcedes Lewis. He has good hands and was underrated as a receiver since he plays at Nebraska, where throwing the ball is not a staple.

Round 7: Pick 224 – Tyler Vrabel – OT – Boston College

I tried targeting a tackle earlier, but the board just didn’t fall right. Here, the Packers nab the son of Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel. As a standard of Boston College lineman, Vrabel brings experience at both left and right tackle. Physical and aggressive, he might be better off inside due to questions about his length and tendency to get a little top heavy. That said, he has good agility, which is something the Packers emphasize with their OL.

Round 7: Pick 245 – Bo Melton – Wide Receiver – Rutgers

Yes we triple dipped. With only Rodgers and Lazard back, the Packers will need a major infusion of talent. Melton has similar size to Cobb (5-foot-11, 194), but runs in the low 4.4s. He also brings explosiveness to the field as a potential big YAC player, but has average agility. He can play slot and was also used on jet sweeps, screens, and special teams.

Round 7: Pick 255 – Cal Adomitis – LS – Pittsburgh

Why not finish this Packers mock draft with a long snapper? He is universally regarded as the best long snapper in the draft class — probably the only one that deserves a late pick. If the Packers had a decent long snapper, they might’ve beat San Francisco.

In conclusion:

This mock draft would set the Packers up for the future. You get five or six players with starter potential and at least three with Pro Bowl potential. They are almost all highly athletic. This was kind of a traditional Gutekunst draft.

Should The Packers Make Darnell Savage a ‘Star’?

darnell savage
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As Packers fans, we have all seen the struggles Darnell Savage this season. After how he finished last season big things were expected of him in his third season. Joe Barry was coming in to run the defense and he was bringing the Vic Fangio/Brandon Staley defense with him.

Barry talked of a new position in the defense called the ‘star’, which ended up being a fancy name for the slot cornerback. There would be some added responsibility and some more blitzing and other stuff that they would do, but for the most part it was the same. Its very similar to the ‘robber’ that Charles Woodson played in Green Bay. See the reasons below:

Initial Speculation

There was much talk and speculation about who would man the position. Barry himself had mentioned about four guys who could fill the role. After Sullivan had a down year as a the nickel back in 2020 the prevailing thought was that they would play different players at the star spot. His season started out slow like the rest of the defense, but Savage never seemed to return to his play of the previous season.

Darnell Savage’s Measurable

His size also lends itself to playing corner/slot. He measured 5’10 3/4ths and 198 pounds at the combine. Savage also only did 11 reps on the bench which is low for a corner let alone a safety. His lack of his size and strength shows on film which you can get away with better at corner/slot versus safety.

Darnell Savage’s Coverage

Savage’s coverage stats also seem to indicate he might be better off playing the ‘star’. In the 2020 season he had the 3rd lowest QB rating in the slot (58.0). The total completion percentage he allowed in 2020 was 56%, but in 2021 it went up to 64% where he played a lot less slot. Touchdowns given up also went from only 2 in 2020 to 7 in 2021.

Strong Draft Class

The draft class of free safeties, or guys who can play it, is also a good group. You have guys like Kyle Hamilton from Notre Dame and Daxton Hill from Michigan who are the elite safeties of this class, but they won’t be there when Green Bay picks. After them, though, there are a number of guys who should go in the 2nd-4th round range.

Guys like Jaquan Brisker from Penn State, Lewis Cine from Georgia, Verone McKinley from Oregon, Markquese Bell from Florida A&M, Nick Cross from Maryland, Kerby Joseph from Illinois, Bryan Cook from Cincinnati, Bubba Bolden from Miami(Fla.), and Kolby Harvell-Peel from Oklahoma State just to name a few.

In conclusion this would allow the Packers to stay strong in the secondary and remain versatile. Sullivan probably won’t be resigned due to cap issues. Also, being not as important as guys like Rodgers, Adams, Alexander and Campbell when it comes to free agency. Darnell Savage can play all over with Jaire and Stokes manning the outside spots. Then you have Amos at one safety spot and your rookie filling in when the Packers are in nickel. This would be a very dangerous group to throw against.

The Packers Offensive Line’s Future

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The Packers offensive line’s future is something that has been talked about in recent weeks amongst Packers fans. With Jon Runyan Jr. taking over at left guard, Jenkins playing well at left tackle, and Newman playing solid at right guard. Going forward what is the Packers plan on the offensive line? Because it seems like they have 7 guys who could all be starters in the NFL. So I will attempt to lay out what their plans going forward probably are by looking at them as an organization and their history. I’ve come up with three potential scenarios all will include a couple obvious picks. Bakhtiari at left tackle and Josh Myers at center. Also Lucas Patrick is not coming back and Billy Turner probably gets cut, I think most of us know that. Now lets get to it!

Option 1(everyone’s favorite one):

So the first option seems to be most fans favorite. The Packers move Elgton Jenkins over to right tackle and everyone else stays where they are. So the offensive line would be Bakhtiari-Runyan-Myers-Newman-Jenkins. I understand why a lot of fans like this plan; Jenkins can play all five spots and your tackles tend to be your better offensive linemen. LaFleur has also said he wants his best five guys on the field and objectively these are probably the five best linemen on the roster. I do not feel like tackle is Jenkins best spot and I think LaFleur would want guys at their best positions. To me this is still probably option 1A or 1B to Brian Gutekunst and LaFleur.

Option #2(My favorite):

The five best offensive linemen on the roster going forward are Bakhtiari, Runyan, Myers, Newman and Jenkins. I think most Packers fans would not debate that. Bakhtiari when healthy is a top 2 left tackle in the league, and he ain’t #2. Myers has looked like a three year vet at center, he can still improve of course. Runyan has looked good two years in a row and does have some of his dad in him. He plays hard and is physical like his dad, and is a better athlete than him. He could play either guard spot. Jenkins of course can play anywhere and at a high level. And last but not least Newman did beat out both Runyan and Patrick for the right guard spot. He has had some troubles of course and hopefully continues to improve as the season goes, but he is still one of the five best linemen. He needs to add some strength and mass in the off-season.

With all that being said how I feel they should line up next year would be Bakhtiari-Jenkins-Myers-Runyan-Newman. The thinking behind this is putting each guy at their best position. While Jenkins can play any spot, Its shown in the film that he can be an all pro left guard. Runyan has looked solid at both left and right guard so that wouldn’t matter either way. Newman though physically looks more like a tackle. Long arms, long body, and quick feet. Off his college film he looked better and more stout at tackle. He has had trouble with anchoring at right guard so far in the NFL and I feel would hold up better outside.

Option 3(The wild card):

This is one that had not talked about a lot amongst fans, but I know it is a scenario the Packers have talked about or worked though. Inset Yosh Nijman in at right tackle. He played well against the 9ers, and coming out of Virginia Tech he was an athletic freak. His RAS score was a 9.81 at 6’6 6/8ths and 314 pounds with 34 1/4″ arms. I tweeted this out yesterday. The reason he went undrafted is that he was a four year starter at VT and his technique and hand usage was a complete mess. Exactly what happened there to cause this? who knows. But scouts saw that as a sign that he didn’t have it, that he was a “looks like Tarzan plays like Jane” type player. Yosh also wasn’t the most aggressive player.

He has changed that. Nijman still has work to do. He can still get a lot better, but he has shown enough growth that he looks to have starter potential. Then of course everyone else kind of easily slots in Bakhtiari-Jenkins-Myers-Newman-Nijman.

Bonus option #4!

The fourth potential option would be an easy one. The Packers take a right tackle early in the 2022 draft and slot him in there as a rookie. Jenkins moves back to left guard. They let then let Runyan and Newman fight it out for the right guard job and the loser backs up both guard spots and right tackle.

So what do you guys think is the Packers offensive line’s future looks like?