Guessing the final 53

Most of the roster spots have been decided through two preseason games. Bob Fox provides his hunch on who will be on the roster when the regular season begins.

The Green Bay Packers have played only two preseason games, but the roster is starting to take shape, even with Saturday night's debacle against the Niners. There are a few battles for roster spots, but by and large, the roster that will take the field against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 8 is almost set.

Yes, general manager Ted Thompson may do some tweaking, such as adding a veteran quarterback. Or, he could make some roster changes late, like he did last year when he picked up running back Ryan Grant via trade and full back John Kuhn via waivers.

There will be some difficult cuts, but this is what happens when a roster starts to accumulate talent. Here is how I see the roster taking shape.

Quarterbacks (3)

Aaron Rodgers

Brian Brohm

Matt Flynn

The Packers may end up making a move to get a veteran before too long. The offensive line's lack of protection is the major reason. All three quarterbacks have been hit hard this preseason. Rodgers is coming into the season with an injury history in his short NFL career. This team is too talented to rely on a rookie if Rodgers should get injured. The team to watch is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Look for the Packers to try and pick up either Chris Simms or Brian Griese if one of them is released.

Running backs (4)

Ryan Grant

Brandon Jackson

Vernand Morency

Noah Herron

Grant has not played in the preseason due to a hamstring injury. Jackson looks good in his absence, except for his blitz pickups. Morency and Herron are assignment sure and could handle the third-down role. DeShawn Wynn again has been in the training room more than the playing field, and that will most likely cost him a roster spot. Kregg Lumpkin has looked good so far, and has probably earned at least a practice squad invite.

Fullbacks (2)

Korey Hall

John Kuhn

Hall and Kuhn will play a similar role as last season. Both are solid fullbacks, plus are excellent on special teams. Corey White may end up on the practice squad again.

Wide receivers (5)

Donald Driver

Greg Jennings

James Jones

Jordy Nelson

Ruvell Martin

Jennings, who has not played in the preseason due to injury, should turn out to be a valuable weapon in the regular season. Jones has had a solid preseason. Martin has been able to hold down the No. 4 receiver position from Nelson, but Nelson has displayed his playmaking skills as a kick returner.

Tight ends (3)

Donald Lee

Tory Humphrey

Jermichael Finley

Lee had a breakthrough year in 2007, and the Packers are hoping Humphrey or Finley can step up to add depth to a position that's critical to coach Mike McCarthy. Joey Haynos is probably headed to the practice squad.

Offensive line (9)

Chad Clifton

Jason Spitz

Scott Wells

Josh Sitton

Mark Tauscher

Daryn Colledge

Allen Barbre

Tony Moll

Breno Giacomini

The offensive line ranked third in the NFL in sacks allowed in 2007, but you wouldn't know it this preseason. The interior of the line is where most of the problems have been occurring. The Packers have to figure out who is best suited for those positions.

Defensive line (9)

Aaron Kampman

Cullen Jenkins

Ryan Pickett

Johnny Jolly

Colin Cole

Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila

Mike Montgomery

Jason Hunter

Jeremy Thompson

The defensive line has created pressure at times, but the Packers have not been able to get sacks. The line has had issues stopping the run after the starters come out. The Packers have been blitzing to help create pressure, but so the results have not been what the team has hoped for.

Linebackers (7)

A.J. Hawk

Nick Barnett

Brady Poppinga

Brandon Chillar

Desmond Bishop

Abdul Hodge

Tracy White

The Packers have more quality depth at linebacker than at any time in recent memory. Hodge has taken advantage of Bishop being injured, and Chillar looked good in place of Hawk against the 49ers. Poppinga keeps getting better, and may be used in pass-rushing situations. Tracy White is a valuable special teams performer that took on more importance when the Packers allowed a punt return TD by former Packer Allen Rossum on Saturday.

Defensive backs (8)

Al Harris

Charles Woodson

Atari Bigby

Nick Collins

Aaron Rouse

Will Blackmon

Tramon Williams

Pat Lee

Jarrett Bush may have played himself off the team with his performance against the 49ers. Harris and Woodson look like elite starters, and Williams is the front-runner to be the nickel corner. Lee has shown flashes with his physical style. Neither Bigby Collins should very comfortable with Rouse lurking in the background.

Kicker (1)

Mason Crosby

Crosby is kicking like he did in 2007, when he led the NFL in scoring with 141 points.

Punter (1)

Jon Ryan

Ryan rebounded after a poor performance against the Bengals with a nice performance against the 49ers.

Long snapper (1)

J.J. Jansen

Jansen looks like he will be fine as a rookie as long snapper. His snaps have been on the money.

PUP List

Justin Harrell

With Harrell unable to overcome his back injury, he might spend the first six weeks on PUP. It's imperative he come back strong. People are starting to use the term bust because of his injury issues.

Practice squad

WR Brett Swain

FB Corey White

RB Kregg Lumpkin

TE Joey Haynos

C Brennen Carvalho

LB Danny Lansanah

WR Johnny Quinn

DT Alfred Malone

The eight-man practice squad will end up with a lot of promising players because of the talent on the roster. Thompson could add a player or two from other teams to put on his practice squad.

Bob Fox is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at greenbaybob@hotmail.com


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