For the past 25 days, in addition to our 90-to-1 roster countdown and our position series, we've been giving you one juicy nugget every day to whet your appetite for the start of the season, from killer stats to historical references. We conclude today with our prediction on how the 53-man roster shakes out.
Quarterbacks (3): Aaron Rodgers, Graham Harrell, B.J. Coleman. Comment: The Packers went into last season with just Rodgers and Matt Flynn. General manager Ted Thompson will have to decide whether it's worth exposing seventh-round pick Coleman, who has a legit NFL arm, to waivers so he can stash him on the practice squad.
Running backs (4): James Starks, Alex Green, Brandon Saine, John Kuhn (FB) Comment: Unless one of the undrafted rookies has a monster training camp and preseason, this foursome seems like a lock. Watch out for undrafted rookie fullback Nic Cooper, a 250-pounder who ran for about 1,800 yards last season at Winston-Salem State.
Wide receivers (6): Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Donald Driver, Randall Cobb, Tori Gurley. Comment: In the must-see battle for No. 6 receiver, we give the nod to Gurley, who has what's uncoachable: size. If the Packers go the route we're predicting, with three quarterbacks and six receivers, they'll have to short themselves at two positions compared to last year's opening 53.
Tight ends (4): Jermichael Finley, Tom Crabtree, D.J. Williams, Ryan Taylor. Comment: The Packers go with four tight ends, with Andrew Quarless starting the season on the physically unable to perform list. This accommodates the third quarterback.
Offensive line (8): Marshall Newhouse, T.J. Lang, Jeff Saturday, Josh Sitton, Bryan Bulaga, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Derek Sherrod, Andrew Datko. Comment: The Packers kept eight offensive linemen to start last season. The Packers typically keep their draft picks, so we give the edge to seventh-round tackle Datko over second-year guard Ray Dominguez for the eighth spot.
Defensive line (5): B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, Jerel Worthy, C.J. Wilson, Mike Daniels. Comment: Anthony Hargrove (eight games) and Mike Neal (four games) don't count on the 53-man roster until their suspensions are over. Raji, Pickett and Worthy are the only locks. Of the others, Wilson is the best run stopper, though Lawrence Guy showed some potential last summer and Philip Merling was considered a top-shelf talent in 2008. Daniels, a fourth-round pick, and Jarius Wynn will vie for a pass-rushing role or roles. With two defensive linemen on the field for most snaps, they probably can get by with five until Neal returns, which accommodates the sixth receiver.
Inside linebackers (6): Desmond Bishop, A.J. Hawk, D.J. Smith, Terrell Manning, Brad Jones, Jamari Lattimore. Comment: The first three players are locks and Manning cost the team three draft picks, so he's probably a good bet, too. Jones and Lattimore are top special-teams players who played outside linebacker last season.
Outside linebackers (4): Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Frank Zombo, Dezman Moses. Comment: Matthews and Perry are the starters, and if Moses' strong minicamp wasn't just a byproduct of him outworking players going three-fourths speed, he'll make it, too. Zombo was a good pass rusher in 2010 but hasn't been able to stay healthy. Erik Walden has stayed healthy but isn't a good pass rusher. Vic So'oto couldn't get on the field even when the coaches were desperate for pass rush last year. As always, it's special teams and versatility that decide the backup positions, so we give the nod to Jones and Lattimore.
Safeties (4): Morgan Burnett, Charlie Peprah, M.D. Jennings, Jerron McMillian. Comment: It'd be a huge surprise if these four don't make the roster. Perhaps Micah Pellerin fights for an additional spot.
Cornerbacks (6): Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Jarrett Bush, Casey Hayward, Davon House. Comment: These six are locks to make the roster. Perhaps Brandian Ross challenges for an additional spot.
Specialists: K Mason Crosby, P Tim Masthay, LS Brett Goode. Comment: This is one of the best trios in the league. All three will go through camp without a challenger.
-- 25 on offense, 25 on defense, three on special teams.
-- All eight draft picks make it, as does undrafted rookie Dezman Moses.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.