State of the Roster, From Locks to Long Shots

We examine the 89-player roster the Packers are taking into training camp. Plenty can change, and injuries can change the outlook dramatically, but it doesn't appear too many roster spots are up for grabs.

The sign of a deep team is the choices that must be made to get the roster to 53 players.

Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson will face some tough decisions, which we illustrate in our first breakdown of the roster. We have 31 players as "locks" and 16 more as "good bets" to make the 53-man roster. That leaves 18 "bubble" players as the front-runners for the final six spots, with 24 "long shots" looking to beat the odds once the pads go on.


Locks: Aaron Rodgers.

Good bets: Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien.

On the bubble: None.

Long shots: Chase Rettig.

Summary: The Packers are miles ahead of where they were at this time of last year, when rag-armed Graham Harrell and scattershot B.J. Coleman were chucking passes everywhere other than between their receivers' numbers.

Running backs

Locks: Eddie Lacy and James Starks.

Good bets: DuJuan Harris and John Kuhn.

On the bubble: Michael Hill and Rajion Neal.

Long shots: Ina Liaina and LaDarius Perkins.

Summary: Without Johnathan Franklin, Hill, Neal and Perkins will battle to be the fourth running back.

Wide receivers

Locks: Davante Adams, Jarrett Boykin, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson.

Good bets: None.

On the bubble: Jared Abbrederis, Kevin Dorsey, Chris Harper, Jeff Janis and Myles White.

Long shots: Alex Gillett.

Summary: Do the Packers keep five receivers or six? Abbrederis probably is the favorite in this group because of his potential value as a returner. Harper, however, has the best draft credentials as a fourth-round pick last year and was having a strong offseason until injuring a hamstring. Janis might have the most long-term upside because of his size and speed. White caught nine passes last year while Dorsey at least improved mentally while on injured reserve.

Tight ends

Locks: Richard Rodgers.

Good bets: Brandon Bostick and Andrew Quarless.

On the bubble: Jake Stoneburner and Ryan Taylor.

Long shots: Colt Lyerla and Justin Perillo.

Summary: Tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot thought this was the most wide-open position group on the team. Outside of Rodgers, as a third-round pick, no spot on the roster is secure.

Offensive line

Locks: David Bakhtiari, Bryan Bulaga, T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton.

Good bets: Don Barclay, Corey Linsley, Derek Sherrod and J.C. Tretter.

On the bubble: Lane Taylor.

Long shots: Aaron Adams, John Fullington, Garth Gerhart, Jordan McCray, Andrew Tiller and Jeremy Vujnovich.

Summary: There will be plenty of intrigue during training camp, headlined by the battle at center and Sherrod's development. Can any of the long shots challenge Taylor as the ninth lineman, and would the Packers even keep nine linemen?

Defensive line

Locks: Mike Daniels, Datone Jones, B.J. Raji and Khyri Thornton.

Good bets: Josh Boyd and Letroy Guion.

On the bubble: Jerel Worthy.

Long shots: Carlos Gray, Mike Pennel and Luther Robinson.

Summary: Do the Packers keep six or seven defensive linemen? And just where is Worthy in his career development after a disappointing rookie season and an invisible second year? With Mike Neal, Julius Peppers and Nick Perry slotted to play the hybrid "elephant" position, the Packers might not need seven pure defensive linemen.

Outside linebackers

Locks: Clay Matthews, Mike Neal, Nick Perry and Julius Peppers.

Good bets: Carl Bradford.

On the bubble: Andy Mulumba and Nate Palmer.

Long shots: Jay Elliott and Adrian Hubbard.

Summary: The Packers might go heavy here, with Neal, Perry and Peppers playing multi-tasking roles. Mulumba had a solid rookie season as a physical run defender. Palmer was a disappointment and will need to step up his game with Elliott and Hubbard added to the mix.

Inside linebackers

Locks: A.J. Hawk and Jamari Lattimore.

Good bets: Brad Jones.

On the bubble: Sam Barrington.

Long shots: Jake Doughty, Shaun Lewis and Joe Thomas.

Summary: Jones is the favorite to start but Lattimore is the lock because of his special teams value. Special teams, obviously, will be the determining factor in whether undrafted rookies Doughty, Lewis or Thomas can knock off Barrington.


Locks: Casey Hayward, Sam Shields and Tramon Williams.

Good bets: Jarrett Bush and Davon House.

On the bubble: Demetri Goodson and Jumal Rolle.

Long shots: Antonio Dennard and Ryan White.

Summary: Given the depth at cornerback and the versatility of Micah Hyde, you wonder if House might have some value on the trade market if a guy like Goodson or Rolle shows some promise in camp and the preseason games. As it is, if everyone is healthy, how does House get on the field? Green Bay's best dime package would have Shields and Williams outside and Hayward and Hyde in the slot.


Locks: Morgan Burnett, HaHa Clinton-Dix and Micah Hyde.

Good bets: None.

On the bubble: Chris Banjo and Sean Richardson.

Long shots: Charles Clay and Tanner Miller.

Summary: While Clinton-Dix vs. Hyde will be one of the hottest battles of training camp, Banjo vs. Richardson for the fourth safety will be hotly contested, as well. Both players were assets on special teams last season.

Special teams

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

Good bets: None.

On the bubble: None.

Long shots: None.

Summary: The three specialists are unchallenged on the roster.

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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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