The final cuts have been made to NFL teams rosters. This week, NFL teams trimmed their rosters to 53 players. By no means does it mean that NFL teams are done making moves before the season. Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has said he will always be looking to improve their roster. Still, the core of NFL rosters is pretty much set. For the Green Bay Packers 53 man roster, there were several surprise moves during the final cut down.
Breaking Down the Final Green Bay Packers 53 Man Roster
For NFL general managers, the final cutdowns are never an easy process. While the core of NFL rosters was pretty much set, there are still tough decisions to make on fringe players. Some of the fringe players could be contributors on offense or defense, but also could be core players on special teams.
Gutekunst and his staff faced some very difficult decisions for the Packers 53 man roster. The Packers had one of the deepest rosters in this year’s training camp. Because of that, some difficult decisions had to be made.
Several surprise additions and subtractions were made. Today, we take an in-depth look at the Packers 53 man roster heading into their week one match-up against the New Orleans Saints.
Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love
The Packers will be going into this season with two quarterbacks on their opening day roster. Star quarterback Aaron Rodgers and quarterback of the future Jordan Love will be the two quarterbacks. Going in with just two quarterbacks isn’t anything new for the Packers. They did that under former general manager Ted Thompson and former head coach Mike McCarthy several times.
While Kurt Benkert missed the cut, he was re-signed to the Packers practice squad. He will serve as an insurance policy if something were to happen to Rodgers or Love.
Surprise Cut: None.
Surprise Addition: None.
Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, and Kylin Hill
There weren’t any surprises when it came to the Packers top two running backs. Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon were cemented as the Packers top two ball carriers heading into training camp and that is still the case.
While the number one and two spots were set before camp, there was a battle for the number three spot. That spot came down to Dexter Williams, Patrick Taylor, and rookie Kylin Hill. Hill, the seventh-round draft pick from this year’s NFL draft, displayed enough to win the battle. In preseason action, Hill displayed skills as both a runner and pass-catcher to grab the attention of head coach Matt LaFleur. Along with serving as the Packers number three running back, he will be the Packers top kickoff returner.
Surprise Cut: None.
Surprise Addition: None.
Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Amari Rodgers, and Malik Taylor
Before the start of training camp, it appeared there would be possibly two spots at wide receiver open for the Packers 53 man roster. But that changed when the Packers made a training camp trade with the Houston Texans to bring back Randall Cobb. That move cut down the open spots from two to one.
Malik Taylor, Reggie Begelton, Juwann Winfree, and Equanimeous St. Brown faced off in a battle for the last spot. Winfree and St.Brown were quickly eliminated from the competition. Winfree looked like a dark horse to make the Packers 53 man roster heading into training camp. But an injury forced him to miss all of the Packers preseason games and was never allowed to showcase his abilities. St. Brown also missed preseason action due to an injury. St. Brown, a former draft pick of Gutekunst’s, has battled injuries throughout his Packer career.
The battle for the last spot came down to Taylor and Begelton. Begelton, a former star in the CFL, showed some glimpses. But Taylor’s ability to play on special teams, along with strong showings as a pass-catcher in preseason action, was enough to win him the last spot at wide receiver on the Packers 53 man roster.
Surprise Cut: Equanimeous St. Brown
Surprise Addition: Malik Taylor
Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara, Dominique Dafney
Tonyan and Lewis were set as the Packers top tight ends heading into training camp. Tonyan is the Packers top pass catcher while Lewis is the best blocking tight end of the group. Deguara, a former third-round pick in 2020, is coming off a season-ending injury in 2020. But all indications are that he is fully healthy and will be a part of the Packers offense as an h-back.
Dafney making the Packers 53 man roster was made easy with the two-game suspension of Jace Sternberger. However, an argument can be made that even if Sternberger was cleared to play in the first two games, Dafney might have beat him out. Sternberger, another former pick by Gutekunst, has been a massive disappointment. Dafney doesn’t have the same skills as Sternberger. But his ability to understand the offense, play multiple positions and contribute on special teams, helped him earn the last spot.
Surprise Cut: None.
Surprise Addition: None.
Billy Turner, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Royce Newman, Dennis Kelly, Lucas Patrick, Jon Runyan Jr., Yosh Nijman, and Jake Hanson
The biggest news coming from this group is the news regarding David Bakhtiari. Bakhtiari, the Packers starting left tackle, will start the season on the PUP list. That means he will miss the first six weeks of the 2021 season. It is a big blow for the Packers offensive line. When Bakhtiari plays, he makes the Packers offensive line one of the best in the NFL.
Rookie Royce Newman arguably had the best training camp out of the Packers offensive line. He played so well that he could replace Lucas Patrick as the Packers starting right guard. Because of that, Patrick could be flipped to the left side, starting next to Elgton Jenkins who is expected to be the Packers starting left tackle with Bakhtiari out.
Ben Braden was a favorite of offensive line coach Adam Stenavich in this year’s OTA’s. However, Braden struggled in training camp and in preseason action. That caused him to be on the outside looking in.
The head-scratcher out of this group is Jake Hanson. Not only can Jenkins and Patrick back up Josh Myers at center, but Hanson also struggled in training camp. It wouldn’t be surprising if Hanson’s draft status played a part in him making the roster.
Surprise Cut: Ben Braden
Surprise Addition: Jake Hanson
Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, TJ Slaton, Kingsley Keke, Tyler Lancaster, and Jack Heflin
The surprise addition out of this group has to be Jack Heflin. Heflin, an undrafted free agent, earned a spot on the Packers 53 man roster by hustling and displaying an all-out effort any time he was on the field. While he will play behind Clark, Lowry, Keke, and Slaton, he should see some time in the rotation. He might be the feel-good story of this season.
With Heflin making the team, it is curious why the Packers kept Lancaster. Lancaster battled an injury in camp and didn’t see much action. But let’s be honest, Packers fans know what he brings to the team and that isn’t much.
Surprise Cut: None
Surprise Addition: Jack Heflin
Krys Barnes, De’Vondre Campbell, Oren Burks, Ty Summers, and Isaiah McDuffie
The biggest cut from the Packers inside linebacker group came early in camp. That was the cut of second-year player and former fifth-round pick Kamal Martin. As we stated in an earlier article, Martin joins a long list of failed late picks by Gutekunst. To give up on a player one drafted just last year in the fifth round so early seems very odd.
Both Burks and Summers, who were expected to be playing for their jobs entering training camp, both made the roster. Burks had a strong camp and Summer is expected to be a big part of the Packers feeble special teams.
Speaking of special teams, McDuffie is expected to be another player who should be a big part of the Packers special teams unit. That projection is one of the major reasons he made the Packers 53 man roster.
Surprise Cut: Kamal Martin (cut early in training camp)
Surprise Addition: Isaiah McDuffie
Za’Darius Smith, Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, Jonathan Garvin, and Chauncey Rivers
In a mild surprise, the Packers are opening up the season with five outside linebackers on their opening day roster. A big reason for this is the back injury that Za’Darius Smith is currently dealing with. The injury is severe enough that it has been speculated that he might miss the opening game against the Saints.
Because of Smith’s injury, that opened up a spot for Rivers. Rivers was picked up at the start of training camp off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens. Along with Smith’s injury, Rivers had a strong camp as well.
Surprise Cut: None
Surprise Addition: Chauncey Rivers
Jaire Alexander, Kevin King, Eric Stokes, Shemar Jean-Charles, Chandon Sullivan, and Isaac Yiadom
Behind Alexander, there are a lot of questions facing the Packers cornerbacks. King once again dealt with an injury in training camp. Along with that, he is coming off a putrid 2020 season. Stokes, the Packers top pick from this year’s NFL draft, is still learning to play in the NFL, although he had a decent camp. Sullivan struggled in 2020 but should be the Packers starting slot cornerback.
Yiadom came over from the New York Giants in a trade for Josh Jackson. He struggled at times in preseason action, but he does have good size for a cornerback. He beat out Kabion Ento for the Packers last cornerback spot.
Surprise Cut: Kabion Ento
Surprise Addition: Isaac Yiadom
Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage Jr., Henry Black, and Vernon Scott
It is surprising that the Packers didn’t carry more safeties. After Amos and Savage Jr., the Packers starting two safeties, the depth is gas station toilet paper-thin. If either of them is lost due to injury, the back end of the Packers defense will be in big trouble.
With Will Redmond lost to an injury, it opened a spot for Henry Black. Black is entering his second season with the Packers and should be a big part of the special teams. Black beat out undrafted rookie Christian Uphoff who had a very solid preseason for the Packers.
Surprise Cut: Christian Uphoff
Surprise Addition: Henry Black
Mason Crosby, Corey Bojorquez, and Hunter Bradley
The JK Scott era is finally over, thank the Lord. Scott, a huge miss by Gutekunst who selected him in the fifth round, was cut after once again dealing with inconsistencies. The Packers made a trade with the Los Angeles Rams to get Bojorquez. Bojorquez punted for the Buffalo Bills before signing with the Rams, so he does bring with him NFL experience.
Many have questioned why long snapper Bradley wasn’t shown the door as well. Since being drafted in the seventh round by Gutekunst in 2018, Bradley has dealt with inconsistencies just like Scott did. In fact, reports out of training camp stated that Bradley was downright bad. Keeping Bradley makes you wonder how much the Packers care about special teams.
Surprise Cut: JK Scott
Surprise Addition: Hunter Bradley
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