Predicting the 53-man roster

With two roster cutdowns just ahead, PackerReport.com's Todd Korth predicts who will make the Green Bay Packers' 53-man roster and who will be on the outside looking in

After Thursday night's preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Green Bay Packers will need to trim its current roster of 88 players to the NFL-mandated 75 by 3 p.m. (CDT) on Aug. 28.

Coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday that he and general manager Ted Thompson will decide on which players will be released soon after Thursday night's game at Lambeau Field. First, the two will take an extended look at a number of players who are on the ‘bubble' against the Jaguars. In order to do that, McCarthy said he intends to play the first-team offense and defense for three quarters, but rotate reserves in frequently to make a better decision on who to keep and who to part with by next Tuesday, and Sept. 1, when the roster needs to be pared from 75 to 53 players.

Injuries to wide receiver/return specialist Shaun Bodiford, defensive end Mike Montgomery, offensive tackle Orrin Thompson and fullback Ryan Powdrell in last Saturday's exhibition game against Seattle muddied the situation for McCarthy and Thompson. None of those players will suit up against the Jaguars, but all of them are on the bubble.

"The timing is not very good for us going from 75 to 53," said McCarthy. "That's the first problem. The second is that we have a number of positions that aren't answered yet. I need to clear those things up and I don't want to wait until Tennessee (Aug. 30) to do that. That's really why we're changing gears as far as playing our ones for three quarters in this game. We're going to play bunch of combinations."

From this scribe's point of view, here's a prediction of which players will make the Packers' 53-man roster and those who will be on the outside looking in, unless they come up with outstanding performances in the next two preseason games:

QUARTERBACKS (3)
Brett Favre
Aaron Rodgers
Ingle Martin
Outside looking in:Paul Thompson
Practice squad: Paul Thompson
Comment: Don't be surprised if Martin is released and the Packers bring in a different quarterback in his place. His accuracy has deteriorated throughout training camp. There certainly will be better QBs out there after the cutdowns across the league.

RUNNING BACKS/FULLBACKS (5)
RB Brandon Jackson
RB Vernand Morency
RB Noah Herron
FB Korey Hall
FB Brandon Miree
Outside looking in: Erryn Cobb, Ryan Powdrell, DeShawn Wynn, Corey White, P.J. Pope
Practice squad: DeShawn Wynn
Comment: Wynn may be placed on injured reserve, and the Packers also may opt to not sign him to the practice squad as well. Could go either way with him. Pope's knee injury blew his chance of making the team.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5)
Donald Driver
Greg Jennings
James Jones
Ruvell Martin
Carlyle Holiday
Outside looking in: Shaun Bodiford, David Clowney, Carlton Brewster, Calvin Russell, Chris Francies
Practice squad: David Clowney
Comment: Bodiford's knee injury combined with Will Blackmon's big game against Seattle spells the end for Bodiford in Green Bay.

TIGHT ENDS (3)
Donald Lee
Bubba Franks
Zac Alcorn
Outside looking in: Clark Harris, Joe Werner
Practice squad: Clark Harris
Comment: Alcorn gets the third spot due to his experience, but Harris might claim it with solid games against Jacksonville and Tennessee. Harris also is a long snapper, so that plays in his favor. If he doesn't make it, the Packers will sign him to the practice squad.

OFFENSIVE LINE (10)
OT Chad Clifton
OT Mark Tauscher
C Scott Wells
G/OT Daryn Colledge
G/C Jason Spitz
OT/G Tony Moll
G/C/OT Junius Coston
C/G Tyson Walter
G Allen Barbre
G/C Tony Palmer
Outside looking in: G Travis Leffew, G Adam Stenavich, OT Orrin Thompson, C/G C.J. Blomvall, G Pat Murray
Practice squad: Orrin Thompson
Comment: The Packers feature a versatile line with a number of players that can play more than one position. Certainly the strength of the offense heading into the season.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)
DE/DT Aaron Kampman
DE/DT Cullen Jenkins
DT Ryan Pickett
DT/DE Corey Williams
DT Colin Cole
DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila
DE Jason Hunter
DT Justin Harrell
DT Johnny Jolly
Outside looking in: DE Mike Montgomery, DE Larry Birdine, DE DeVon Hicks, DT Daniel Muir.
Practice squad: Daniel Muir
Comment: The strength of the team is the defensive line, which is why the Packers will keep nine linemen instead of the traditional eight. Look for the Packers to place Montgomery, who probably needs reconstructive surgery on his ailing knee, on the season-ending injured reserve list.

LINEBACKERS (6)
MLB Nick Barnett
WLB A.J. Hawk
SLB Brady Poppinga
WLB Tracy White
MLB Desmond Bishop
SLB Spencer Havner
Outside looking in: MLB Abdul Hodge, WLB Juwan Simpson, SLB Rory Johnson, SLB Carl-Johan Bjork
Practice squad: Carl-Johan Bjork
Comment: Hodge missed all of the off-season minicamps and Organized Team Activities practices with a knee injury. He has made some big hits at times in camp, but will need to finish strong in the final two preseason games to win a roster spot. Thus far, Bishop has out-played Hodge for the backup middle linebacker spot.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (9)
CB Al Harris
CB Charles Woodson
CB Patrick Dendy
CB Jarrett Bush
CB Will Blackmon
S Marquand Manuel
S Nick Collins
S Atari Bigby
S Aaron Rouse
Outside looking in: CB Frank Walker, S Tyrone Culver, S Charlie Peprah, S Alvin Nnabuife, CB Tramon Williams, CB Antonio Malone
Practice squad: Tramon Williams
Comment: Of all the positions in training camp, the most intense for roster spots have been at cornerback and safety. Tough decisions ahead for McCarthy and Thompson with some good players, like Walker and Culver, falling short of their goal of making the team.

SPECIALISTS (3)
K Mason Crosby
P Jon Ryan
LS Rob Davis
Outside looking in: P Ryan Dougherty, K Dave Rayner
Practice squad: None
Comment: Crosby has held a slight edge over Rayner in field goal attempts made in training camp, plus he was the team's sixth round pick this year, which gives him the nod for making the roster. Otherwise, both kickers have been outstanding. The Packers can't go wrong with either one of them, but Crosby's future seems to be a shade brighter than Rayner's in the NFL. Rayner will be kicking somewhere in the league this year.


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