Packers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Volume 3

Offensive line, wide receiver linebacker and safety provide the most challenges in finalizing the roster. Do the Packers keep six receivers? What to do with Derek Sherrod and Desmond Bishop? Who starts and who doesn't make the team at safety?


Lock: Aaron Rodgers.

Good bets: Graham Harrell.

Bubble: B.J. Coleman

Long shots: None.

Comment: There are three practices left in training camp and seven until the regular season begins. That's pretty late to be signing a veteran and have him be capable of contributing in the first couple weeks of the season. Coach Mike McCarthy continues to say Harrell is improving and is playing better than it appears, but he also continues to tap dance around the question of whether Harrell is definitely his No. 2 quarterback. Prediction (2): Rodgers and Harrell, with Coleman on the practice squad.

Running backs

Locks: RB Cedric Benson, FB John Kuhn.

Good bets: RB Alex Green.

Bubble: RB James Starks, RB Brandon Saine.

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

Comment: Benson cemented his place on the roster against Cincinnati. It seems unlikely the Packers would keep four halfbacks. Sure, they kept three fullbacks in 2009 and 2010 but there's not a lot of special teams value for Benson, Starks and Green. Green, a third-round pick last year, isn't going anywhere. That leaves Starks against Saine for the final spot. Saine (hamstring) will return to practice before Starks (turf toe), and Saine was running with the No. 1 units on kickoff return, kickoff and punt. Prediction (4): Benson, Green, Saine and Kuhn, with Tyler on the practice squad.

Wide receivers

Locks: Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.

Good bets: Donald Driver and James Jones.

Bubble: Tori Gurley, Diondre Borel and Jarrett Boykin.

Long shots: Curenski Gilleylen, Shaky Smithson and Dale Moss.

Comment: On Friday, we asked McCarthy whether he was happy with the progress made by Borel and Gurley. Many players make a big jump between Year 1 and Year 2 but that did not appear to be the case for those receivers. "That's a good question," he said. "I'd like to see them make a bigger jump. I think their injuries set them back, both. They both missed some time, they missed a game, so this will be an important game for both of those guys." Six receivers is a luxury, especially when that potential No. 6 receiver isn't a big part of special teams. Borel is having problems hanging onto the ball and Gurley has been invisible far too often for a player of his size. Prediction (5): Jennings, Nelson, Cobb, Driver and Jones, with the Packers hoping to retain Gurley and Borel for the practice squad but settling on Boykin and Moss.

Tight ends

Locks: Jermichael Finley.

Good bets: D.J. Williams, Tom Crabtree and Ryan Taylor.

Bubble: Andrew Quarless.

Long shots: Brandon Bostick and DeMarco Cosby.

Comment: There doesn't appear to be much drama here. With the depth at tight end, what's the point of rushing back Quarless? Prediction (4): Finley, Williams, Crabtree and Taylor, with Quarless to PUP.

Offensive line

Locks: Marshall Newhouse, T.J. Lang, Jeff Saturday, Josh Sitton, Bryan Bulaga and Evan Dietrich-Smith.

Good bets: None.

Bubble: Derek Sherrod, Reggie Wells, Andrew Datko and Don Barclay.

Long shots: Shea Allard, Greg Van Roten, Sampson Genus, Tommie Draheim and Ray Dominguez.

Comment: We cut the receivers from six to five and we increase the offensive line from nine to 10 by keeping Sherrod. If Sherrod's on the PUP list, he can't do a thing until after Week 6 and would have just three weeks before being activated. By keeping him on the roster, he could start practicing whenever he's healthy. With so much rust after last year's broken leg, the more practice time the better. This, of course, is assuming Sherrod is getting close to being healthy. Sherrod's health is the biggest mystery on the team. Or, maybe the biggest mystery is who plays left tackle should something happen to Newhouse. Wells was OK against Cincinnati but was routed for one sack. Datko wasn't ready even before his concussion. Sherrod obviously isn't ready, either. Really, this is a giant mess after the starters and Dietrich-Smith. Prediction (10): Newhouse, Lang, Saturday, Sitton, Bulaga, Dietrich-Smith, Wells, Datko, Sherrod and someone not on the roster, with Barclay on the practice squad.

Defensive line

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

Good bets: C.J. Wilson and Mike Daniels.

Bubble: Phillip Merling and Daniel Muir.

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

Suspended: Mike Neal. Comment: Seven players are deserving of a roster spot but that's a lot of bodies at a position in which only two players are on the field most of the time. Prediction (6): Pickett, Raji, Worthy, Wilson, Daniels and Muir.


Locks: OLB Clay Matthews, OLB Nick Perry, ILB A.J. Hawk, ILB D.J. Smith, OLB Dezman Moses, ILB Robert Francois.

Good bets: ILB Jamari Lattimore.

Bubble: ILB Desmond Bishop, OLB Erik Walden and OLB Brad Jones.

Long shots: OLB Vic So'oto, OLB Frank Zombo, ILB Terrell Manning.

Comment: The Packers could easily go with eight or nine offensive linemen, which would leave room for Bishop. This week, we've elevated Moses and Francois to locks. Lattimore and Jones are core players on special teams and make it, too. Manning could sneak on, too, since the Packers could as easily keep eight offensive linemen as they do 10. Prediction (9): Matthews, Perry, Moses, Walden, Jones, Hawk, Smith, Francois and Lattimore, with Manning on the practice squad.

Defensive backs

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

Good bets: CB Sam Shields, CB Davon House and S M.D. Jennings.

Bubble: CB Brandian Ross, S Anthony Levine and S Sean Richardson.

Long shots: CB Otis Merrill.

Comment: If House's shoulder will keep him out for an extended period, the door is open for Ross, though most of his work comes in the slot and he'd be behind Woodson, Bush, Hayward and McMillian. The toughest cut will be at safety, where Jennings, Richardson and Levine likely are battling for the starting job and two spots on the roster. Prediction (10): Woodson, Williams, Hayward, Bush, Shields, House, Burnett, McMillian, Jennings and Levine, with Richarson to the practice squad and Ross claimed off waivers.

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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