From 1 to 83: From Poppinga to Goode

We continue our countdown of the Packers' roster, from No. 45 Brady Poppinga, to three backs battling for a role on offense, to No. 49 Brett Goode.

It's the dog days of summer, but the start of training camp is only 18 days away. At this point, the Packers have 83 players on their roster. The limit is 80, but the draft picks don't count until they're signed. With the Packers officially at 80 players, the team will have to make a corresponding roster move when fullback Quinn Johnson, linebacker Clay Matthews III and defensive lineman B.J. Raji are signed.

With that said, we continue to rank the players from No. 1 to No. 83. This list doesn't necessarily list the players from best to worst, but we take into account the players' importance on the roster and other factors such as contracts and potential.

Packer Report Ranking: 45

Brady Poppinga, OLB: Poppinga (6-foot-3, 250 pound) at No. 45, you ask? There's no better mix of team-first attitude and gung-ho enthusiasm in the Packers' locker room. Nonetheless, Poppinga is coming off a season in which he saw his playing time cut and recorded no sacks or turnover plays. As a 3-4 outside linebacker, the duties are stop the run, drop into coverage and rush the quarterback. Stopping the run isn't an issue — he's a lead blocker's worst nightmare. But pass coverage has never been a strong suit and, his pass-rushing credentials at BYU notwithstanding, he's shown almost no ability to pressure the quarterback with three sacks in four seasons. In a fit of desperation by then-defensive coordinator Bob Sanders, Poppinga was thrown in as a pass-rushing defensive end late last season to no effect. He spent the offseason as the No. 2 left outside linebacker behind Aaron Kampman, who played 95.1 percent of the defensive snaps last season. Poppinga signed a five-year contract last year worth about $17 million. Either that contract makes him a too-expensive luxury to keep for special teams or makes him a possibility to start next year, should Kampman depart in free agency. Assuming he makes the roster, he doesn't figure to get much playing time unless there's an injury.

Packer Report Ranking: 46 (tie)

DeShawn Wynn, RB: Last season, Ryan Grant carried the ball 312 times. The other backs carried the ball 62 times combined. Wynn finished with eight carries for 110 yards and a 73-yard touchdown, but all but one of those carries and 4 yards came against the winless Lions, who threw in the towel quickly in the season finale. Wynn was an easy cut during training camp last season, with nagging injuries continually keeping him off of the practice field. He was added to the practice squad, where he spent the first five weeks of the season before being promoted. He spent just five of the next 11 games on the gameday roster. At 5-foot-10 and 232 pounds, Wynn's got the size to be an effective pass blocker, a trait he showed in a midseason game at Seattle when he stopped a safety blitz to allow Aaron Rodgers to hit Greg Jennings for a long touchdown. Somehow, the Packers need more production from their backup running backs, regardless of whether it's Wynn, Brandon Jackson or the next two guys on this list. Wynn is the early favorite to be the No. 3 back — a role he held during the offseason — but he must stay healthy and work harder.

Kregg Lumpkin, RB: Lumpkin (5-11, 228) beat out Wynn to be the No. 3 halfback last season and had an impressive performance in Week 2 at Detroit, when he had one carry for 19 yards and three receptions for 22 yards. But an injured hamstring landed him on season-ending injured reserve, with Wynn having a few bright spots in his place. Lumpkin, a big-time recruit at Georgia who saw his road to stardom with the Bulldogs sunk by injuries, enters training camp in the same position as last year. He'll have to prove himself and stay healthy to win a job. That the Packers featured him a receiver against the Lions shows he's got a chance. He spent the offseason practices as the No. 4 halfback.

Tyrell Sutton, RB: Sutton (5-8, 213) enters training camp in the same position as Lumpkin last year as an undrafted free agent having to fight his way past a few players who have NFL resumes. What gives Sutton a fighting chance is the success of short backs like Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren Sproles as well as his ability as a receiver. Sutton, Ohio's all-time prep rusher, caught 149 passes in his four seasons at Northwestern. Brandon Jackson caught 30 passes last season but really wasn't much of a threat with the ball, Lumpkin hasn't shown he can stay healthy and Wynn hasn't shown he can be a reliable receiver. While Sutton might be short, he's certainly stout enough to be an effective blocker, though it remains to be seen whether he can do it. If he proves he can be something more than a speed bump between a blitzer and Aaron Rodgers and can get past the injury issues that plagued him at Northwestern, then his hands and the burst he showed as a runner give him a chance to vault past Wynn and Lumpkin. The Packers signed him with a $4,000 bonus.

Packer Report Ranking: 49

Brett Goode, LS: J.J. Jansen had the long-snapping job won during training camp, but his one mistake — a bad snap to punter Jon Ryan in the preseason finale — led to Jansen suffering a season-ending knee injury. General manager Ted Thompson and his staff scoured the list of available snappers and hit on Goode, who received looks by Jacksonville in 2007 and 2008 but never had snapped in a game. No pun intended, but Goode was good, going all season without a bad snap. He'll enter training camp without a challenger — he's far, far better than the couple of linemen who have been given a chance at it during the offseason practices. With Jansen having been traded to Carolina, Goode will keep this job, barring a meltdown at training camp.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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