Packers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Volume 2

Two quarterbacks or three? Four backs or five? Five receivers or six? And that's just on offense. Here is how things are shaping up ahead of roster cutdowns on Aug. 27 and Aug. 31, based on our practice and game observations and conversations with the assistant coaches.

Here is our second look at the Green Bay Packers' roster, based on our observations from training camp and conversations with the assistant coaches.


Lock: Aaron Rodgers.

Good bets: Graham Harrell.

Bubble: B.J. Coleman.

Long shots: None.

Comment: With five practices remaining in training camp and nine until the Packers kick off the regular season, time is running out to replace Harrell as the No. 2 quarterback. However, Harrell needs to get the offense moving after the three-and-out-a-thon of the first two preseason games. With Coleman getting just a series in each of two preseason games, it's almost as if the Packers are trying to keep him under the radar. Prediction (2): Rodgers and Harrell make the team, with Coleman on the practice squad.

Running backs

Lock: Alex Green and John Kuhn.

Good bet: RB Cedric Benson.

Bubble: RB James Starks and RB Brandon Saine.

Long shots: RB Marc Tyler, RB Duane Bennett, FB Jon Hoese and FB Nic Cooper.

Comment: The addition of Benson adds a wrinkle to what was a pretty locked-down position group entering training camp. Saine and Starks are injured, with Saine (hamstring) expected back next week and Starks (turf toe) iffy to be back for the regular season. Before camp, Starks was the obvious No. 1 player in the backfield. Now, that's not the case, though a source told Packer Report that "too much" was being made of how Benson's addition might impact the oft-injured Starks' roster security. Still, Saine is far more valuable on special teams than Starks. Prediction (4): Green, Benson, Starks and Kuhn make the roster, with Tyler on the practice squad.

Wide receivers

Locks: Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.

Good bets: Donald Driver and James Jones.

Bubble: Diondre Borel and Tori Gurley.

Long shots: Dale Moss, Jarrett Boykin, Curenski Gilleylen, Shaky Smithson and Andrew Brewer.

Comment: Driver's having an excellent camp but with young stars in line for new contracts and the depth at the position, he's not a lock. Jones could be used as trade bait to upgrade the offensive line depth. Nonetheless, it would be a surprise to see either of them playing elsewhere in September. Borel was having an excellent camp, too, until a groin injury hurt his prospects. We told you about Boykin before his big preseason performance. Prediction (6): The Big 5 and Borel make the cut, with Moss and Boykin on the practice squad.

Tight ends

Locks: Jermichael Finley.

Good bets: D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor.

Bubble: Tom Crabtree.

Long shots: Andrew Quarless (knee), Brandon Bostick and DeMarco Cosby.

Comment: Williams has had a stellar training camp, and while Taylor has been up and down, he's a core player on special teams. Crabtree adds grit and probably makes it, too, but he's dropped a lot of passes. Quarless seems destined for the PUP list and Bostick is an interesting prospect after starring in college at wide receiver Prediction (4): Finley, Williams, Taylor and Crabtree.

Offensive line

Locks: LT Marshall Newhouse, LG T.J. Lang, C Jeff Saturday, RG Josh Sitton, RT Bryan Bulaga and C/G Evan Dietrich-Smith.

Good bets: OT Andrew Datko.

Bubble: OT Herb Taylor and G/T Reggie Wells.

Long shots: OT Derek Sherrod (leg), OT Shea Allard, G Don Barclay, G Greg Van Roten, G Ray Dominguez, C/G Tommie Draheim, C/G Sampson Genus.

Comment: Dietrich-Smith is the only proven commodity among the backups. With Sherrod seemingly destined for PUP, the No. 3 tackle position is up for grabs. Taylor has had his moments and easily could take the job away from the improving but up-and-down Datko, but the tiebreaker in most personnel decisions boils down to which player was drafted most recently. Wells, a late addition, has started at all five positions, which makes him a valuable asset. He's running out of time, though, to prove he should be on the team. Prediction (9): The starting five, Dietrich-Smith, Datko, Wells and a player not on the roster, with Draheim on the practice squad.

Defensive line

Locks: DE Ryan Pickett, NT B.J. Raji and DE Jerel Worthy.

Good bets: DE C.J. Wilson, DE Mike Daniels and NT Daniel Muir.

Bubble: DE Philip Merling.

Long shots: DE Lawrence Guy, DE Jarius Wynn and DE Johnny Jones.

Suspended: DE Mike Neal (four games) and DE Anthony Hargrove (eight games).

Comment: The underrated Wilson simply lines up with the first unit every day and is solid against the run. Daniels is a fourth-round pick with pass-rush potential; general manager Ted Thompson generally keeps his draft picks and the Packers need pass rushers. If Muir makes it, he can take some of the workload off of Raji. With a strong push, Merling could unseat Wilson or Muir. Wynn needs to make something happen ASAP. Hargrove brings a lot of energy but the pass-rushing ability he's shown in previous stops hasn't shown up in Green Bay. Prediction (6): Pickett, Raji, Worthy, Wilson, Daniels and Muir, with Guy on the practice squad.


Locks: OLB Clay Matthews, OLB Nick Perry, ILB A.J. Hawk and ILB D.J. Smith.

Good bets: OLB Dezman Moses and LB Robert Francois.

Bubble: OLB Erik Walden, OLB Brad Jones, OLB Vic So'oto, ILB Jamari Lattimore and ILB Terrell Manning.

Long shots: ILB Desmond Bishop (hamstring), OLB Frank Zombo.

Comment: You wonder if the Packers are begging the NFLPA to sign off on a proposal that would allow teams to designate one player (Bishop, in this case) to come back from injured reserve at midseason. Otherwise, it's going to be hard to reserve a roster spot for a player who may not be healthy until late in the season — if at all. Prediction (9): Matthews, Perry, Moses, Walden make it among the outside linebackers, Hawk, Smith and Francois make it among the inside linebackers, and Jones and Lattimore can play inside and outside and serve as core players on special teams. Manning sticks around on the practice squad.

Defensive backs

Locks: DB Charles Woodson, CB Tramon Williams, CB Casey Hayward, CB Jarrett Bush and S Morgan Burnett.

Good bets: CB Sam Shields, S M.D. Jennings and S Jerron McMillian.

Bubble: CB Davon House (shoulder), CB Brandian Ross, S Sean Richardson and S Anthony Levine.

Long shots: CB Dion Turner, CB Otis Merrill and S Micah Pellerin.

Comment: If House's shoulder improves through rehab, he'll not only make the team but be a key member on defense. If House needs surgery, his season is probably over. That would open the door for Ross, who's quietly having a good camp. At safety, Jennings could start or he could be released. That's how wide open the competition is with two preseason games remaining. A fourth-round pick, McMillian is practically a lock. The final spot boils down to special teams for Richardson and Levine. Prediction (10): Woodson, Williams, Shields, Hayward, Bush, House, Burnett, Jennings, McMillian and Richardson make the team, with Ross to the practice squad for a second consecutive year. Ross, however, is good enough to get claimed off waivers. In which case, the versatile Pellerin gets the nod.

Special teams

Locks: K Mason Crosby, P Tim Masthay, LS Brett Goode.

Good bets: None.

Bubble: None.

Long shots: None.

Comment: The Packers have about as good a trio as there is in the league. Prediction (3): Crosby, Masthay and Goode.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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