From 80 to 53: Our Third Prediction

After watching every practice and talking to every coach, we take our stab at the final 53-man roster. There aren't many major changes, although we did shake up the defensive line significantly.

The Green Bay Packers must reduce their roster from 80 players to 75 by Aug. 31. That'll be easy. It's the cut from 75 to 53 on Sept. 4 that will prove much more challenging.

We made our initial prediction in the Training Camp Preview edition of Packer Report Magazine and our second prediction last week. After attending every practice and talking with every coach during training camp (most of them two or three times), we take our best guess at what the roster will look like when the regular season begins at Philadelphia in four weeks.


Who makes it (2): Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn. Who doesn't: Graham Harrell.

Update: None, though I still think the Packers erred when choosing Harrell over Chris Pizzotti a couple months ago.

Running backs

Who makes it (3): Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson and Quinn Porter. Who doesn't: James Starks and Kregg Lumpkin.

Update: I'm tempted to put Porter on the practice squad (with Starks) and go with just two true halfbacks because Porter wasn't nearly as good last week as two weeks ago and now he's got an injured ankle.


Who makes it (2): Korey Hall and John Kuhn. Who doesn't: Quinn Johnson.

Update: None. Johnson has played better but Kuhn is having a tremendous preseason. Hall remains the "starter" and a top special teams performer while Johnson can't get on any of the No. 1 special teams.

Tight ends

Who makes it (4): Jermichael Finley, Donald Lee, Spencer Havner and Tom Crabtree. Who doesn't: Andrew Quarless.

Update: Last week, I had Crabtree on injured reserve but it turns out his hand injury wasn't major. So, he rightfully gets the nod over fifth-rounder Quarless because of blocking and special teams.

Wide receivers

Who makes it (5): Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Brett Swain. Who doesn't: Patrick Williams, Chastin West, Jason Chery, Charles Dillon and Shawn Gore.

Update: Until Saturday, none of the "other" receivers had shown enough to warrant a roster spot. Swain, who made the opening kickoff, did that.

Offensive line

Who makes it (9): Chad Clifton, Bryan Bulaga, Scott Wells, Josh Sitton, Mark Tauscher, Jason Spitz, T.J. Lang, Marshall Newhouse and Evan Dietrich-Smith. Who doesn't: Daryn Colledge, Allen Barbre, Breno Giacomini, Nick McDonald, Chris Campbell.

Update: Some guys are practice players. Others are gamers. Giacomini maybe is just a practice player. He played relatively well against Cleveland until giving up a sack and really struggled against Seattle. So, I get rid of Giacomini to reduce the numbers on the offensive line to accomodate Swain as a fifth receiver. Lang is the backup right tackle should something happen to Tauscher. Colledge not making the team is based solely on Bulaga winning the job and the Packers trading Colledge as a favor to a good team guy and a way to possibly get an outside linebacker.

Defensive line

Who makes it (6): Cullen Jenkins, B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, Mike Neal, Anthony Toribio and Jarius Wynn. Who doesn't: Justin Harrell, Ronald Talley and C.J. Wilson.

Update: That Harrell's back acted up after the Cleveland game isn't a good sign, obviously. I just can't see the Packers using a roster spot on a guy who they can't count on to be healthy on Sundays. I replace him with nose tackle Toribio, who's been decent at camp and would allow Pickett to remain anchored at left tackle should something happen to Raji. Plus, I promote Wynn release Wilson after Wynn had a couple pressures against Seattle.


Who makes it (8): Clay Matthews, Brad Jones, A.J. Hawk, Nick Barnett, Brandon Chillar, Desmond Bishop, Brady Poppinga and Frank Zombo. Who doesn't: Cyril Obiozor, Robert Francois, Maurice Simpkins and Alex Joseph (injured reserve).

Update: The Packers need pressure and Zombo is the only one that has delivered it. He has been dominant by no means but he's done more than Obiozor. At the end of the day, I think they'll have nine linebackers — potentially in a trade involving Colledge or Spitz — which means they'd need to trim one player at another position.


Who makes it (6): Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Brandon Underwood, Pat Lee, Sam Shields and Jarrett Bush. Who doesn't: Al Harris (PUP) and D.J. Clark.

Update: None, though that obviously changes if Harris is ready.


Who makes it (5): Nick Collins, Morgan Burnett, Will Blackmon, Derrick Martin and Charlie Peprah. Who doesn't: Anthony Levine and Atari Bigby (PUP).

Update: None, even with Martin's boneheaded ejection. If they need to eliminate a player to keep an extra linebacker, that could be a huge black mark, but he's ahead of Peprah on the special teams.

Special teams

Who makes it (3): K Mason Crosby, P Tim Masthay, LS Brett Goode. Who doesn't: P Chris Bryan.

Update: None, though Bryan really closed the gap on Masthay at practice last week. Masthay had the better punt on Saturday, but with one punt apiece, that's not a fair sample. Masthay killed the ball at Tuesday's practice and had the better pooch punt, too.

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

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