Who Makes Final 53: Offense

With offseason practices beginning on Monday, Packer Report projects who makes the Week 1 roster. The big question marks? Who makes it along the deepest offensive line of the Mike McCarthy-Ted Thompson era? And who makes the cut at tight end?

Four weeks of organized team activities begin on Monday, with the first practice on Tuesday. There are 87 players on the roster, though only 77 officially because of 10 unsigned players (three restricted free agents and seven draft picks). Here is how things are shaping up leading into five weeks of OTAs and the mandatory minicamp (June 21-23).

Rookies denoted with (R).

For defense and special teams, click here.

Quarterbacks

On the roster: Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn, Chris Pizzotti, Noah Shepard (R).

Who will make it (2): Rodgers and Flynn.

The decision: Do they keep three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster or stash the third on the practice squad? With 32 consecutive starts, Rodgers has answered the questions about his durability, so unless either Pizzotti or Shepard just lights it up in the preseason, the Packers probably feel comfortable going with two quarterbacks and a third on the practice squad.

Running backs

On the roster: Halfbacks — Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson, James Starks (R), Kregg Lumpkin, Quinn Porter (R). Fullbacks — Korey Hall, John Kuhn, Quinn Johnson.

Who will make it (5): Halfbacks — Grant, Jackson, Starks. Fullbacks — Hall, Kuhn.

The decision: There's not much of a decision at halfback, unless Starks struggles, in which case Ahman Green probably gets his wish of playing one more season. At fullback, Johnson needs to show big gains — as an on-the-move blocker in the zone run game, as a receiver and on special teams.

Wide receivers

On the roster: Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Patrick Williams, Brett Swain, Charles Dillon, Shawn Gore (R), Jeff Moturi (R), Chastin West (R).

Who will make it (5): Driver, Jennings, Jones, Nelson, Williams.

The decision: Will Swain be sufficiently recovered from last year's season-ending knee injury to hold off Williams? That's a tough injury to overcome, especially for someone who's not blessed with overwhelming talent to begin with. Williams, an undrafted rookie last year, is a strong receiver with some upside. He's the front-runner but certainly not an overwhelming favorite, and they could break came with just four. It will be interesting to see which (if any) of the others — Dillon, Gore, Moturi and West — emerges.

Tight ends

On the roster: Jermichael Finley, Donald Lee, Spencer Havner, Tom Crabtree, Andrew Quarless (R).

Who will make it (3): Finley, Havner, Quarless.

The decision: That Quarless beats out Lee is anything but a foregone conclusion. Finley is entering his third NFL season and Havner his second, so there's something to be said for having Lee's veteran presence and all-for-the-team attitude. Again and again last season, the coaches complimented Lee for his leadership. Then again, he dropped two touchdown passes. Who knows what happens in the Metrodome without the one there. If Finley isn't ready to assume the leadership mantle, the Packers will have to decide if they can risk exposing Quarless to the practice squad.

Offensive line

On the roster: Chad Clifton, Daryn Colledge, Scott Wells, Josh Sitton, Mark Tauscher, Jason Spitz, Evan Dietrich-Smith, T.J. Lang, Allen Barbre, Breno Giacomini, Bryan Bulaga (R), Marshall Newhouse (R), Nick McDonald (R), Chris Campbell (R).

Who will make it (9): Clifton, Colledge, Wells, Sitton, Tauscher, Spitz, Dietrich-Smith, Lang, Bulaga.

The decision: With Wells coming off a good year at center, Spitz has been moved to left guard, where he'll battle Colledge. The only question is whether the loser of this battle stays on the roster or if they trade the loser to keep Newhouse. Or, they could keep all 10.


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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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