Packers release Horton while adding to roster

No, Packers general manager Ted Thompson didn't make a play for Charles Rogers. He did, however, add depth in the secondary and offensive line by signing three rookies who were released on Saturday.

The Green Bay Packers filled their roster to 53 players on Sunday and began to form their practice squad. The highlights: Packers general manager Ted Thompson decided not to go after Charles Rogers and released cornerback Jason Horton. Fourth-round pick Cory Rodgers, meanwhile, reportedly signed with San Francisco's practice squad.

After making his final cuts on Saturday to get to the league-mandated 53 players, Thompson left the Packers with only 51 players. He went shopping to fill those holes, and added three players: cornerback Jarrett Bush, safety Charlie Peprah and guard Tony Palmer.

That would have bumped the Packers' roster to one player over the limit, so Thompson surprisingly cut Horton instead of one of his four tight ends.

The turn of events left a young Packers team even younger. The backups in the secondary now consist of Ahmad Carroll and four rookies: Bush and Peprah, along with Packers draft picks Will Blackmon and Tyrone Culver.

For a time, it appeared Horton would possibly push Carroll for the nickel cornerback role. Instead, after a bad game on Friday against Tennessee in which he gave up two touchdowns, Horton found himself out of work.

In Horton's place will be Bush, an undrafted rookie out of Utah State who made a splash at Carolina's training camp but was unable to beat out three proven veterans and a second-round pick. Bush is 6-foot and 194 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash below 4.5 seconds. He broke up 13 passes last season, which ranked sixth in the nation.

Peprah, who was drafted in the fifth round by the New York Giants, gives the Packers a necessary fourth safety. At 5-foot 101/2 and 206 pounds, Peprah intercepted nine passes as a four-year starter at Alabama, and picked off one pass during the preseason. He's considered a strong run defender and physical, if inconsistent, tackler. He's more quick than fast.

Palmer was a seventh-round pick by the Rams. The all-Big 12 player was a four-year starter at Missouri. Weight — he's about 330 pounds — is an issue, and will be especially so in the Packers' zone-blocking scheme. Palmer's lack of athleticism was a big reason why he tumbled on draft day despite an impressive resume — he didn't allow a sack as a senior — at a big-time program.

The additions give the Packers a stunning 27 rookies, first- and second-year players on the roster. That's more than half the roster.

Even with all the moves, the Packers still have just four receivers on the 53-player roster. The Packers could have made a waiver claim for Rogers, the former No. 2 pick in the draft who bombed in Detroit, but elected not to. Rogers went unclaimed and is now a free agent, though Thompson's track record suggests he will shy away from an injury-plagued underachiever with poor work habits.

Meantime, the Packers reportedly added wide receivers Chris Francies and Calvin Russell, tight end Zac Alcorn, defensive end Dave Tollefson and safety Atari Bigby to their practice squad. All five players spent training camp with the team. Tollefson was a seventh-round pick who lost out on the last roster spot on the defensive line to undrafted Jason Hunter. Bigby, who played well in NFL Europe this spring, broke his hand during the scrimmage and never got back on the field.

The Packers did not announce the moves. They can have up to eight players on the squad.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com.


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