On Thursday night, the Green Bay Packers will open their 2019 NFL season. But before that takes place, Brian Gutekunst and his scouting staff had some work of their own to complete. That piece of business being who has earned the right to make the opening day Green Bay Packers 53 man roster.
An Overview of the Opening Day Green Bay Packers 53 Man Roster
There were some mild surprises that came from the news of the opening day Green Bay Packers 53 man roster. But that was expected, just as with every other NFL team.
Here, we take a look at each position and what we think of the moves from Gutekunst and his staff.
Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, Tim Boyle
Two quarterbacks will be on the Green Bay Packers 53 man roster to open the season. Boyle beat out DeShone Kizer to be Rodgers backup, at least for now.
Gutekunst traded Damarious Randall to the Cleveland Browns last season for Kizer. The trade turned out to be an error on Gutekunst’s behalf. While Randall started 15 games last season and had four interceptions, Kizer, a former second-round pick, struggled when called upon to step in for Rodgers.
Boyle looked to be a better passer than Kizer this preseason and has more of a grasp of the offense. If Rodgers were to be lost for a long period of time, the chances of the Packers winning games would drop to a single-digit chance. Boyle has quite a bit of growing to do, but for now, he was the best option.
Running Back: Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, and Dexter Williams
Jones and Jamaal Williams were certain locks to make the Green Bay Packers 53 man roster. What wasn’t known was who would be the Packers third running back.
Dexter Williams gets the call over fellow running back Tra Carson. Many would argue that Carson outplayed Williams this preseason. But Williams has a lot of upside, and with being a recent sixth-round draft choice of Gutekunst’s, no doubt it helped him edge out Carson.
But a silver lining for Carson, he was signed to the Packers practice squad.
Fullback: Danny Vitale
Not much of a surprise here in Vitale making the Green Bay Packers 53 man roster. New head coach Matt LaFleur wants to make the fullback position a big part of his offense. With that said, Vitale appears to be the type of fullback LaFleur wants.
Wide Receiver: Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison, Jake Kumerow, Darrius Shepherd, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Trevor Davis
We have to commend Gutekunst for admitting when he makes a mistake. He selected J’mon Moore in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL draft. Moore failed to progress as a wide receiver and Gutekunst made the right call by cutting ties.
But on the other hand, it might appear that Gutekunst is having a difficult time doing that with Trevor Davis. While some might think Davis is worth the keep, we don’t feel the same. Yes, he has shown he is a capable returner, but has battled injuries and hasn’t progressed as a receiver. Shepherd has shown he is capable of returning, which should have led to Davis being shown the door. We feel that Allen Lazard would have been a better option instead of Davis. Instead, Gutekunst went with Davis. Lazard was signed to the practice squad and should be the first “call up” when, and he will, Davis gets injured.
Jake Kumerow making the Green Bay Packers 53 man roster was an easy call. Kumerow was one of the best pass-catchers this training camp and could battle Allison for the number three wide receiver position.
Tight end: Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis, Robert Tonyan, Jace Sternberger
No surprised at the Packers tight end position. Graham and Lewis were expected to make the roster and they did. Both most likely will be playing their last season with the Packers.
Tonyan has a lot of people excited about his potential. The former college wide receiver has shown he has the potential to be a weapon in the Packers passing game.
Sternberger has a lot of growth in front of him. He suffered a head injury this preseason and will be brought along slowly in his rookie season.
Offensive line: David Bakhtiari, Lane Taylor, Corey Linsley, Billy Turner, Bryan Bulaga, Elgton Jenkins, Lucas Patrick, Alex Light, Cole Madison
This is the position that excites us the most going into the season opener against the Chicago Bears. The Packers have good depth and their starting front five, when they are healthy, is one of the best in the NFL. If they can quickly adapt to the new outside zone blocking scheme, they could be the best.
The Packers are prepared when oft-injured Bryan Bulaga goes down with an injury. Turner will move from starting right guard to right tackle. They could also utilize Alex Light, who had a strong training camp.
If Lane Taylor struggles, rookie Elgton Jenkins could take his place. Jenkins, a second-round choice, also could see playing time at right guard when Turner has to replace Bulaga.
It was good to see Cole Madison make the Green Bay Packers 53 man roster. Madison sat out last season because of some mental health issues. He will add depth at center and guard.
Defensive line: Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Montravius Adams, Tyler Lancaster, Kingsley Keke, Fadol Brown
After the release of Mike Daniels very early in camp, there aren’t any major surprises here. Clark is an ascending star and will be asked to produce like one. Lowry received an extension right around the time Daniels was released. He will be a starter at one of the defensive end spots.
We were excited to see Brown make the Green Bay Packers 53 man roster. Brown has a different body type, long levered, which could allow him to line up outside as well as inside.
Inside linebacker: Blake Martinez, Oren Burks, Ty Summers, BJ Goodson
When the Green Bay Packers 53 man roster was originally set, James Crawford was in the fold. But Gutekunst made a deal with the New York Giants bringing in BJ Goodson. That deal forced the Packers to release a player, that player being Crawford.
Goodson is a solid special teams player, but will also need to contribute on defense. Burks is out for an undisclosed period of time due to a pectoral injury, so somebody will need to step in next to Martinez.
Summers, drafted in the seventh round in the past NFL draft, is athletic and should contribute on special teams, when active.
Outside linebacker: Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Rashan Gary, Kyler Fackrell
Za’Darius and Preston Smith were big free-agent pickups this off-season. Both are expected to produce. They have shown they are capable of staying healthy and that will be needed this season due to what is behind them on the depth chart.
Gary was the Packers top draft in this past draft. He registered just one tackle during preseason action. But slack will need to be cut when it comes to Gary. He is learning a new position and he is a rookie. Still, he will need to contribute somehow this season when defensive coordinator Mike Pettine kicks Za’Darius Smith inside in certain defensive packages.
Here is hoping Fackrell is a better regular in-game performer than he is in the preseason. He looked downright overmatched this preseason, even when a tight end was blocking him one on one.
Fackrell and Gary will need to show they are capable of producing when called upon. Reggie Gilbert, who was a backup at outside linebacker last season, was traded this preseason to the Tennessee Titans.
Cornerback: Jaire Alexander, Kevin King, Josh Jackson, Tramon Williams, Tony Brown, Ka’Dar Hollman, Chandon Sullivan
If healthy, the Packers have not only depth but quality at the cornerback position. King returned to practice this week, which should excite Packers fans.
Tony Brown had a great training camp and if he keeps progressing the way he does, he could be an eventual starter in the NFL. With Jackson dealing with an injury for most of camp, Brown has leapfrogged him on the depth chart.
Safety: Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage Jr., Raven Greene, Will Redmond
Amos and Savage Jr., with a new number, will be the starting safeties for the Packers this season. Greene is expected to be a key contributor on special teams but also will replace the now-departed Josh Jones as the nickel linebacker.
Redmond, a former third-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers, had a strong camp and earned his way onto the Green Bay Packers 53 man roster.
Specialists: Hunter Bradley, JK Scott, Mason Crosby
All three of the Packers specialists return from last season. Bradley and Scott enter their second season. Both were selected in last year’s NFL draft. Scott had a very strong training camp after suffering a disappointing rookie season. The Packers are expecting Scott and Bradley to make the next progression this season.
Crosby beat out Sam Ficken to keep the starting kicking job this training camp. Crosby will need to improve from last season. He did a lot blaming on his snapper (Bradley) and holder (Scott) for his poor showing last season, but he will need to look in the mirror if he struggles again. The Packers can’t deal with another down season by Crosby.
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